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Breakfast Foods that Are High in Iron

author image Erica Kannall
Erica Kannall is a registered dietitian and certified health/fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She has worked in clinical nutrition, community health, fitness, health coaching, counseling and food service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in clinical dietetics and nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.
Breakfast Foods that Are High in Iron
Fortified breakfast cereal can help boost your iron intake. Photo Credit: George Doyle/Valueline/Getty Images

Incorporating more iron into your daily diet can help prevent anemia and may improve your energy level. Your body needs iron to properly form red blood cells, transport oxygen to cells, and for the growth and development of new cells. Without enough iron in your body, you may feel weak, fatigued and cold and have depressed immune function or cognitive ability. Making sure you eat iron at breakfast can help you meet your daily need for the mineral.

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Breakfast Cereals

Oatmeal Photo Credit: Susan Schmitz/iStock/Getty Images

Some of the best sources of iron at breakfast time are fortified, ready-to-eat cereals and hot breakfast cereals, such as oatmeal and grits. Manufacturers add iron to cereals to replace what is lost through processing. However, no minimum fortification level requirement exists for foods. As a result, cereals may contain anywhere from 25 to 100 percent of the daily value for iron. Check the percent of daily value listed on the nutrition facts panel of the box to see how much iron is present in the cereal.


Eggs Photo Credit: Tharakorn/iStock/Getty Images

Eggs are another good source of iron at breakfast time. Eating two eggs provides you with 1.8 milligrams of iron, or 10 percent of the daily value. Consider scrambling the eggs or making an omelet using vegetables to boost your iron intake. Adding chopped spinach, kale or chard to your eggs increases the iron level in your breakfast. However, you'll want to vary your breakfast routine as eggs are high in cholesterol. Eating one egg per day, or 7 eggs per week, does not contribute to high cholesterol, according to Harvard School of Public Health.

Meat Products

Bacon Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

Breakfast meat products made from turkey, chicken, beef and pork are good sources of iron as well. Animal proteins contain a form of iron called heme iron which is easily absorbed by your body. Adding a piece of bacon or sausage to your morning meal helps boost your intake of heme iron. However, these foods are typically high in saturated fat and calories. Use them sparingly to prevent complications such as weight gain and elevated cholesterol. You can also look for lean or reduced fat versions of these breakfast foods and drain the oil while cooking to reduce fat and calorie intake.

Bread Products

Whole-grain Engligh muffin.
Whole-grain Engligh muffin. Photo Credit: Jill Battaglia/iStock/Getty Images

As with breakfast cereals, many commercially prepared bread products are fortified with iron. Adding a piece of toast to your omelet or scrambled egg breakfast helps you get more iron. Or toast a medium enriched bagel with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to get about 4 milligrams of iron, or 24 percent of the daily value. A whole-grain English muffin with an egg or light cream cheese is another way to get iron at breakfast time. Waffles and pancakes made from iron-fortified flour provide yet another way to boost your intake of the mineral.

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