Iron is one of the most important nutrients your body needs on a daily basis. It's critical for keeping your energy up, making your skin glow, increasing your endurance during workouts, allowing your muscles to recover faster, and even boosting your immune system.
Unfortunately, almost nine percent of women suffer from iron deficiency. But if you need more of the nutrient, you don't always have to reach for the nearest steak or cheeseburger. There are a ton of iron-rich foods that can help you get enough of the good stuff (that's 18 mg/day).
Try this healthy, vegetarian-friendly recipe the next time you're looking for a delicious way to up your iron intake. It's filled with iron-packed ingredients like white rice, lentils, and spinach; we promise, your body won't miss the burger!
Lentil and Spinach Stew
Makes 2 Servings
1 tsp canola oil (you can also use grapeseed oil, or olive oil)
1 cup onion, chopped
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
16 oz package steamed beluga lentils
2 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup cooked white rice (use 1/4 cup per serving)
Optional: 0% Greek Yogurt (1 tbsp per serving) and chopped cilantro for garnish
1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil to pan, then add onion and sauté three minutes.
2. Add garlic and ginger, sauté one minute.
3. Add curry powder, cumin powder, and cayenne pepper. Cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
4. Add broth and lentils. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer five minutes.
5. Take an immersion blender and blend the lentil mixture. Add in spinach, salt, and pepper to the pot, stir until spinach wilts. (Note: You can also transfer the lentil mixture to a food processor or blender and blend the soup there. If you do this, just add the spinach, salt/pepper to the blender after the soup is pureed and mix it in before serving).
6. Stir in cooked white rice (prepare according to package instructions). Serve with Greek yogurt and cilantro (optional).
Per Serving: 450 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 60 g carbs, 800 mg sodium, 26.6 g protein, 22 g fiber, 12 mg iron
Anjali Shah is a food writer, board certified health coach, and owner of The Picky Eater, a healthy food and lifestyle blog. She grew up a "whole wheat" girl, but married a "white bread" kind of guy. Hoping to prove that nutritious food can actually be delicious, she taught herself how to cook and successfully transformed his eating habits from frozen pizzas to healthy, flavorful recipes. Through her blog, she shares her passion for tasty, healthy cooking with simple, wholesome ingredients. Follow her onFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+.