These iron rich meals are not only nutritious and gluten free, but also delicious! A nourishing meal plan with snacks and meals with at least 15% daily recommended intake of iron, plant based iron included. Plus, these iron rich recipes are also loaded with Vitamin C to help with iron absorption.
Hey friends! And welcome to our first Gluten Free Meal Plan on Cotter Crunch! These gluten free meal plan ideas will rotate depending on nutrients or dietary needs. For instance, this month we are focusing on IRON RICH meals in our gluten free meal plans. Breakfast, Snacks, Lunch, and Dinners! Next month could be dairy free focus or vegetarian focus! So stay tuned,
So let’s talk about why it’s so important to boost your Iron intake once you become gluten free.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficits found in patients with celiac disease and non celiac gluten sensitivity. – (source)
Chances are if you are just finding out that you are gluten sensitive or celiac, then you probably haven’t been absorbing much Iron. This is due to the damage/weakening of the villi in the small intestine which then causes nutrient malabsorption. Iron from food is mostly absorbed in the upper intestines (which can be damaged by gluten). Ugh, I know. Not so good, eh?
When this malabsorption happens, then there is more chance of an Iron deficiency anemia to occur.
Iron is a part of “hemoglobin,” a protein which carries oxygen in blood. It’s necessary to transport oxygen to cells, for energy metabolism, normal human growth, reproduction and immune system health. (source)
So to put it briefly, we need Iron for all kinds of cellular development and immune health! And for those are gluten sensitive/celiac, we need a little extra until you get your gut health back to 100%.
There are two forms of Iron in foods which I’ve briefly spoken about in the past. One is “heme” Iron which is mainly found in meat/animal sources, and the other Iron is “non-heme,” which is mainly found in plant based sources. Both sources are more easily absorbed when combined with foods high in Vitamin C (such as fruit, leafy greens, etc), although heme Iron has higher absorption with Vitamin C foods.
This week’s iron rich gluten free meal plan does just that! It combines gluten free Iron Rich foods with Vitamin C rich food sources. I’ll specify which meals are heme/non heme iron based below.
You ready to boost that Iron and feel good?! Let’s plan!
Gluten free iron rich mealS
Breakfast and Snacks and Desserts- Plant Based Iron SourceS
- These protein balls are made with plant based protein, dates, and nut butter. All great sources of plant based (non heme) iron.
- Plant based chia seed protein and peaches/ginger for Vitamin C. Add a touch of ginger for more anti-inflammatory properties.
Superfood Overnight Oatmeal
- Flaxseed, Chia seed, and gluten free oats are all great sources of plant based non heme iron. Mix in vitamin C rich berries to help boost the iron absorption, and taste obviously!
- Figs and dark chocolate are a great source of plant based iron, fiber, and antioxidants! A great iron rich snack or dessert bar.
- With these bars you’ll get a great source of plant based iron from the chickpeas and dried apricots. The vitamin C from the apricots help with iron absorption.
- Did you know that molasses is actually a great source of iron? Another reason why we love these cookies.
Lunch – Heme and NOn Heme Iron Sources
- This recipe is very customizable! Add meat and vitamin C produce you have yourself a nourishing iron rich meal. Bonus – Did you know chickpeas are also rich iron? Another reason we love socca, it’s made from chickpea flour!
- Spinach and strawberries are another great pair to boost iron absorption.
- Double whammy of iron! Quinoa is a good source of non heme iron (plant based) and turkey or beef is another great source of heme iron (animal based iron). These iron sources are paired with vitamin C rich veggies, like spinach and bell pepper, for maximum iron absorption.
Dinner – Heme and Non Heme Iron sources
- Quinoa is a great source of plant based iron and protein. Top that quinoa patty with juicy tomatoes and/or bell pepper to make one fully loaded plant based iron veggie burger!
- Brussels sprouts and mushroom are rich in vitamin C and D, which pairs well with the ham to increase iron absorption.
- Vitamin C rich Pineapple with Iron Rich Beef make for a great pair to aid iron absorption.
IRON Rich Food Sources
- Organic Red meat (Grass fed if possible)
- Organic Pork/ham
- Organic Poultry
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Dried fruit (cranberries, figs, raisins and apricots)
- Iron-fortified gluten free grains/breads
- Fortified Pea Protein/Rice Protein
VITAMIN C Rich Food Sources
- Brussels Sprouts
- Leafy greens
- Bell Peppers
- Certain Dried Fruit (like apricot/cranberries)
I hope this helps get you started making more iron rich meals! And please keep me posted on if you try any recipes or have questions/suggestions.