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  • Writer's pictureLauren Scheff

Five Ways To Add Iron Into Your Diet That Aren't From Vegetables

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

Vegetarians and vegans: if you have ever asked Google, “How do I add iron into my diet without red meat?” and been answered with, “Spinach,” you deserve all of the desserts in the world. While vegetables are so important to include in our diet, sometimes we just don’t want to eat bowls of spinach. At least, I don’t. If your iron levels are low but you just can’t cram down one more spinach leaf, try these alternatives (and the recipe at the end of the article) to get a boost of iron and other important vitamins and minerals your body needs.


Did you know that nutrients in dried fruits are more concentrated? This means a cup of dried apricots will contain around 8 mg of iron, which is 42% of DV. They contain potassium, fiber, and antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, which helps with the absorption of iron in the body. It is a simple and easy snack for those with a sweet tooth like me.


One of my favorite memories from childhood is carving jack-o-lanterns and harvesting the seeds from the pumpkin guts to roast. But when eaten raw, these seeds contain around 2.7 mg of iron, which is about 23% of DV. They are high in fiber, zinc, antioxidants, and magnesium. They are also chocked full of many vitamins and minerals, just like how my Halloween bag was full of candy after trick or treating.


I remember the quinoa craze the plant-based community had ten years ago. And rightfully so, because this grain is packed with a high amount of protein. Even more impressive, though, is that quinoa contains around 3 mg of iron, which is about 16% of DV, making it higher in iron than a piece of beef. It also contains all nine amino acids usually found only in animal products. The plant-based community definitely struck gold with this one.


Speaking of gold, if only Willy Wonka included dark chocolate in his chocolate scheme, I may have been a contender. A small serving of dark chocolate contains around 3.4 mg of iron, which is about 19% of DV, but if you are like me and can’t stop yourself from eating a whole bar, you won’t fail getting above that amount. Beside being another food rich in antioxidants, it also contains prebiotic fiber to nourish the good bacteria in your gut. You have your factory to tend to, and Willy Wonka has his.


These little seeds have a big impact. They are high in protein, and contain all twenty-one known amino acids, including the nine we can not make on our own. A three-tablespoon serving contains around 2.8 mg of iron, which is about 14% of DV. You can sprinkle them on top of yogurt, mix them in with a chia seed pudding, blend into a smoothie, and include them in pretty much any meal you want.

Apricot Superfoods Chocolate Bark

How about blending all of these superfoods for an easy to make non-bake dessert? This chocolate bark is full of iron, antioxidants, protein, and many, many other important vitamins and minerals.


1 Cup Dry Quinoa

20 oz Dark Chocolate

1 Cup Dried Apricots

½ Cup Pumpkin Seeds

½ Cup Hemp Seeds


  1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil

  2. Toast the quinoa in a skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant and pop.

  3. Melt dark chocolate either on the stovetop or in a microwave. If you choose a microwave, make sure to use a microwave-safe bowl.

  4. Pour half of the melted dark chocolate on a prepared baking sheet and spread. Place the toasted quinoa atop and press into the chocolate using a spatula. Pour the rest of the melted dark chocolate on top of the layer of quinoa. Sprinkle hemp seeds, dried apricots (you may want to dice them into smaller pieces), and pumpkin seeds across the chocolate and quinoa.

  5. Set in the freezer for 10-20 minutes, or until firm. Break the pieces up and enjoy this healthy dessert and all of the iron you will be getting!


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