Budget-Friendly Meal Plan for Iron Deficiency

Iron is one of the essential nutrients for proper blood circulation, growth, and development in the body. It helps in the generation of red blood cells that carry oxygen to various parts of the body and also make hormones.

It is important to take a sufficient amount of iron per day to prevent tiredness and dizziness. There are two food sources of iron, including the heme and non-heme. This is a healthy meal plan including the non-heme sources of plant-based foods such as dates, puffed rice, moong dal, banana flower, mint leaves, and chickpeas.

Benefits of Non-Heme Iron Sources

Dates: 100 grams of dates contain 4.79 mg of iron. You can consume date fruit in fresh and dried forms every day. Add them to trail mixes, smoothies as sweeteners, or consume as snacks.

Puffed Rice: 100 grams of puffed rice have 31.7 mg of iron. Great low-calorie snack or breakfast to add to your diet. Make delicious murmura, bhelpuri, or upma and enjoy the benefits.

Banana Flower: 100 grams of banana flowers has 5.4 mg of iron. This is one superfood that can boost iron levels in your body and compact anemia. You can make stir-fries and curries.

Chickpeas: 100 grams of chickpeas contain 6.2 mg of iron. This is one of the cheapest sources of iron that you can add to your regular diet. You can add chickpeas to rice, curries and bake them for snacks.

Yellow Moong Dal: 100 grams of yellow moong dal contains 1.95 mg of iron. You can make simple dal fry or add to your salads for a nutritious iron-rich meal.

Mint Leaves: 100 grams of mint leaves contain 5 mg of iron. This versatile hub is a great add-on to your salads, chutneys, and sauces.

Eating nutritious and non-heme food sources can increase the iron content in your body, making you feel energetic throughout the day. They are cheap, available, and nutritious. Here’s the shopping list with prices ($2) and overnight meal prep procedure to make these affordable meals.

Iron Rich Meal Plan Budget

The budget for this iron-rich meal plan is 150 rupees ($2) for a day. The prices can vary based on the families.

Breakfast: Puffed Rice Upma

Puffed Rice Upma

Iron-Rich breakfast

Ingredients

1 cup of washed puffed rice

1 onion and tomato sliced

2 green chilies chopped

1 inch ginger chopped

1 tsp mustard seeds and curry leaves

½ cup fried gram dal

4 dry chilies

1 tsp jeera

1 tsp oil

Recipe

Make fried gram dal, dry chili, and jeera into a powder.

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves, onions, green chilies, tomato and stir well. Add salt, turmeric powder, and mix puffed rice. Finally, add the powder and simmer for 2 minutes.

Lunch: Chickpea Pulao Banana Blossom Fritters Mint Chutney and Tomato Raita

Iron-Rich Lunch

Chickpea Pulao

Ingredients

1 cup soaked and boiled chickpeas

1 onion sliced

1 tomato sliced

1 cup basmati rice washed

1 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste

1 bay leaf, 2 cloves, a cinnamon stick, and cardamom

A handful of mint leaves

1 tsp turmeric

½ tsp chili powder

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tsp ghee

Recipe:

Heat ghee in a pressure cooker. Add the whole spices, ginger and garlic paste, mint leaves, onion, tomato, spice powders, salt and fry well for 5 minutes. Add the boiled chickpeas and washed rice, give it the stir. Pour one and a half cups of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.

Banana Blossom Fritters

Ingredients

1 cup cleaned banana flowers

Half cup gram flour

2 tbsp rice flour

1 tsp chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tsp cumin powder

Oil for deep frying

Recipe

Mix the banana flowers with flour and spices by gently sprinkling water. Make this into a thick mixture and deep fry the banana flowers until crisp.

Mint Chutney

Ingredients

1 cup mint leaves

1 cup curry leaves

5 dry red chilies

1 tbsp tamarind paste

4 garlic cloves

1 tsp jeera

1 tsp oil

Recipe

Heat oil in a pan. Add jeera, garlic cloves, red chili, mint leaves, curry leaves, tamarind paste, and let it simmer for 8 minutes. Cool this mixture and grind it into a thick paste.

Tomato Raita

Ingredients

1 cup yogurt

1 tomato chopped

A sprinkle of chili and cumin powder

¼ tsp salt

Recipe

Mix everything together and serve it with the pulao.

Dinner: Chapati with Dal Fry

Dal Fry

Iron-Rich Dinner

Ingredients

1 cup washed yellow moong dal

1 onion and tomato

2 green chilies slit

4 garlic cloves

1 tsp jeera

1 teaspoon salt and turmeric

2 tbsp ghee

Recipe

Heat ghee in a pressure cooker. Add jeera, garlic cloves, green chili, onion, tomato, and fry for 5 minutes. Add the washed yellow moong dal, 2 cups of water, and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Serve dal fry with hot chapati.

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