High Iron Plant-Based foods: How to Help Your Vegan Clients
Many different factors go into your clients' decisions of what kind of diet to adopt. Each of your vegan clients is no different.
Some clients have to make choices about their food because of medical conditions (in which case you should refer them to a registered dietitian), others have allergies, others have different food preferences, and yet others make eating decisions based on principle. The latter is the case for most people who adopt a vegan diet. And whereas most vegan people are tired of hearing, "where do you get your protein?," getting iron may actually be a concern.
Most vegan people get enough protein in their diet without issue. Actually, most meat-eating Americans actually get more protein than they need. Vegans can and do get enough protein from several plant-based foods, plant-based protein powders, and more. However, getting enough iron may become a problem, especially for women of childbearing age. It doesn't have to be a problem, though.
Informing your clients about plant-based sources of iron and teaching clients how they can increase absorption will help them stay healthy while respecting their principles.
The amount of iron needed per day depends on a person's gender and age. According to the Dietitians of Canada, for men 19 and older as well as for women 51 and older, that amount is 8 mg per day. For women 19-50, it's 18 mg per day. For pregnant women, the daily recommended amount is 27 mg per day, and for breastfeeding women, it's 9. For all persons, it's recommended that the daily intake of iron does not exceed 45 mg.
The reason for such wildly varying recommendations has to do with menstruation and blood volume in pregnancy. As women lose a lot of blood when they are menstruating, their iron levels go down, so it's important for them to consume more iron than men. As for pregnant women, their blood volume nearly doubles during pregnancy, so they need a lot more iron than someone who is not expecting. Finally, breastfeeding women need a trace amount more than women who are not breastfeeding, so they can have enough iron for both themselves and baby.
Iron-deficiency anemia can become a concern for vegans, particularly for women of childbearing age. But with the right information and the right meal plan, vegans can be sure to get all the nutrients they require. Iron in paritcular is found in several plant foods. Here are some plant-based foods that are high in iron:
Legumes such as beans and lentils, soy foods such as tempeh and tofu, as well as raw edamame beans (soy beans). Most legumes have anywhere from 1 to 2 mg of iron per 1/2 cup serving.
Cooked oatmeal has even more iron than legumes: anywhere from 4.4 to 5.6 mg per 3/4 cup serving. Cream of wheat is also high in iron. Several vegetables also have iron, and several cereals are fortified with iron. For clients who use protein powder, several vegan options are available that are also high in iron.
Whereas vegans can certainly memorize the plant-based foods that are high in iron, this process can become tedious and time-consuming. That's where a high iron plant-based meal plan comes in.
Meal Garden's plant-based high iron meal plan is approved by a registered dietitian and ready to use. It's an excellent plan for your vegan clients. This plan shows not only recipes, but also the nutritional analysis for each one, and is easily adaptable for different size families and other factors.
Want to to start using this meal plan and several others for free? Click below for your free, no obligation trial.