10 Vegetarian Foods That Have More Iron Than Meat


While meat is often at the top of the list of recommended sources of iron, there are plenty of non-meat options that contain the same amount of iron, or more, than meat. So no need to give up on your vegetarian diet and reach for a burger (or a multivitamin)—these 14 foods will easily boost your iron intake.

1. Spinach

Dark leafy greens, particularly spinach has a high content of iron. 3 cups of spinach have 18mg of iron (this is more than an 8-ounce steak). One spinach salad can supply your body with the recommended daily amount of iron!


Not only is broccoli jam-packed with iron and other key nutrients like vitamin K and magnesium, it’s also high in vitamin C, which helps encourage iron absorption in the body. (And you may be surprised to learn that it’s quite good in smoothies.)

3. Lentils

1 cup of lentils can provide more iron than an 8-ounce steak! Lentils are also packed with protein, potassium, and dietary fiber. They can be added to salad or made into soup.

4. Kale

3 cups of kale have 3.6 mg of iron. Due to its high content of iron, kale can effectively fight anemia and fatigue. If you don’t prefer eating it raw, you can try sautéing, or add it on a burger, or in your soup.

5. Bok Choy

This delicious Chinese cabbage provides a healthy dose of vitamin A. One cup of Bok Choy contains 1.8 mg of iron. You can steam or sauté it. It is up to you!

6. Baked Potato

One large baked potato has 3 times more iron than a 3-ounce serving of chicken. It can be prepared into a delicious dinner. Just top it with Greek yogurt, steamed broccoli, and a little melted cheese.

7. Sesame Seeds

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds has 1.3 mg of iron. It can be easily incorporated in your diet. You can sprinkle sesame seeds over your salad or mix them into a sauce, salsa, or dressing.

8. Cashews

All types of nuts are rich in protein and are well-known food, recommended for vegetarians, but cashews have the added benefit of having a high content of iron. One ¼ cup of cashews contains 2 grams of iron.

9. Soybeans

Only one cup of cooked soybeans has 8-9 mg of iron. Soybeans are a great source of protein as well (they are on the list of 20 highest protein vegetarian foods). Make sure to buy organic soy products since the conventional ones are genetically modified.

10. Chickpeas

A single cup of chickpeas has 4.7 mg of iron. This is more than half of the daily RDA for an adult male.

Chickpeas can be mixed with tomatoes, feta and cucumber so you can make a savory side dish, or roasted in a bit of olive oil in order to prepare a crunchy snack.

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