One of the main concerns when transitioning to a vegan diet is how to get enough iron. (Right after the concern for protein of course, which I address here). Below are a list of some of the most iron packed foods you can consume on a vegan diet. Note that the serving size listed below is the same for every food, but realistic quantities vary depending on if you’re eating something larger like apricots versus something you use sparingly like sesame seeds. All of this information was collected on the USDA website, a handy tool for looking up the nutrition information on just about any food!
Please note the conversion below :
100grams = 3.5 oz OR 1/2 cup
Raw spinach contains 2.7 mg of iron per 100g. It’s important to note that cooked spinach contains over double of that: 6.4 mg per 100g. Use spinach as a salad base, in a stir fry, tofu scramble, rice dish, or in a sandwich or wrap!
2. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans contain 5.71 mg of iron per 100g. Similarly, red kidney beans contain 5.71mg per 100g. Kidney beans may sound unfamiliar, but chances are you’ve eaten them before in a chili, a curry or even a summer salad with cucumbers, corn & tomatoes. They’re also great in soups: minestrone, taco soup, or any sort of veggie medley.
3. Navy Beans
Navy beans contain 5.71mg of iron per 100g. Navy beans can be used for all of the above kidney bean recipe ideas: soups, chilis, summer salads and don’t forget baked beans & corn bread!
Lentils contain 5.62mg of iron per 100g. Lentils also have a wide variety of uses including many Indian dishes, soups, salads, chilis and as an element in nourish bowls!
5. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate contains 4.19 mg of iron per 100g. What a win! Look for dark chocolate that’s 70- 85% cocoa & enjoy whole, add to baking projects or melt for dipping fruit!
6. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain 8.93mg of iron per 100g. Roasted pumpkin seeds have 15mg of iron per 100g! Snack on some roasted seeds solo, seasoning to taste or add to a trail mix with dried fruits and nuts. Additionally, add some to hummus or peanut butter for an extra nutrient rich spread!
7. Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds contain 7.78 mg of iron per 100g. Sesame seeds are easy to throw on top of any asian cuisine, stir fry, or even salads. If you’re feeling fancy, make some sesame balls filled with red bean paste!
8. Dried apricot
Dried apricot contains 3.86 mg of iron per 100g. Fresh apricot has significantly less iron. Dried apricots are delicious on their own, but feel free to add them to a trail mix, baking projects like cookies or make some apricot jam!
Tofu contains 3.39mg of iron per 100g. Cooked tofu can boast higher amounts of iron. There’s a meat substitute recipe using tofu for just about every dish you could imagine! Simple uses include adding tofu to stir fries, rice bowls or making tofu scramble as a substitute for egg scramble.
10. White button mushrooms
White Button Mushrooms contain 2.7mg of iron per 100g. Important to note that iron content goes down significantly once cooked. To eat raw, throw some white button mushrooms in a salad, sandwich or wrap with an assortment of other veggies and sauces.
I hope this list serves as useful in guiding you towards a nutrient-rich vegan lifestyle and offers some recipe ideas to get you started! Stay tuned for more content on vegan lifestyle as well as mindful and holistic living.