Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Friday, April 15, 2011

An Easy Dinner with Iron in Mind

I am often on the hunt to find yummy dinner recipes that the whole family can enjoy, all the while trying to accomplish the task of getting some protein and iron into my 2 year old daughter's diet. With my nutrition back ground I'm not lacking the information on which foods are high in iron... I do struggle, however, with creativity in meal planning and not getting discouraged by my daughter's young pallet rejecting much of what I make! I grew up eating meatloaf, but for some reason had a stigma in my mind about it being "old school". As I sought out new recipes to try, I reached for a favorite cookbook, "Giada at Home" by Giada De Laurentiis. I tried Giada's Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and it was delicious! It was truly quick and easy to put together and made our meal feel a "step up" from other nights where I don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. I won't mislead you and tell you that my daughter ate an entire piece... but she did have a handful of bites and that's pretty good considering it was a new food.

Iron has many benefits to the health of our bodies, one of the most important being that it helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen. When we are really low in iron we are at risk for anemia, a condition in which there is a low level of red blood cells in the blood causing muscle fatigue and weakness. When we eat iron-rich foods, it's absorption into our bodies is helped by eating it with foods high in vitamin C. This being, I served the meatloaf with a dark, leafy-green salad (including spinach) mixed with chopped cucumber, red pepper, carrots and garbanzo beans - all vegetables high in vitamin C. The meal was healthful and enjoyable... just don't ask my 2 year old for her honest opinion!

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