Non-meat iron sources can be hard to come by, but iron nutrition can easily be satisfied through the right non-meat foods, and even drinks. These drinks will make it easy to get your Recommended Daily Allowance of iron. Iron rich drinks come in two categories: fortified mixes and more common sources.
The mixes offer an iron clad serving of iron with each serving, and the calorie, fat and protein content to make them a small meal or healthy snack. All mix options also contain a high amount of vitamin C, which aids in absorption of this important mineral.
Carnation Instant Breakfast
Carnation mixes come in a few flavors, all of which pack 25% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for iron. This instant mix is also fortified with over 15 other vitamins. When you mix it with milk, it weighs in at about 200 calories-perfect for breakfast or a post workout snack.
Ovaltine is nearly as iron rich as Carnation, with about 40 fewer calories per serving. There are also a number of vitamins in Ovaltine to keep your other intake at healthy levels. With 20% of the RDA, Ovaltine is an excellent way to get your iron.
Slim Fast Optima Shakes
Slim Fast has quite a reputation for controlling hunger and promoting weight loss, but at 190 calories per serving and 15% of the RDA for iron, it is also a force to be reckoned with as a health food drink. High in protein, and containing a little fat, Slim Fast mixes (or pre-made shakes) are a great meal replacement option or substantial snack.
Ready to Drink Sources
These are great options to get a significant amount of iron, and are readily available at restaurants, friends' houses and as a drink to be shared with others in your household.
Not just for Grandpa and constipated toddlers, prune juice is a surprising choice for obtaining 17% of your RDA for iron. Prune juice contains about 75% of the RDA for Vitamin C, in a 185 calorie cup. Dilute the juice with water or a little apple juice if you're not a fan of the flavor.
This Bloody Mary staple is best known at the bar for breakfast-time spirits, but with 6% of the RDA for iron, it's a great family friendly choice as well. Vitamin C abounds in a low cal drink-there's only 41 calories per serving, so you aren't drinking your daily caloric intake as well.
V-8 Vegetable Juice
V-8 contains 4% of the RDA for iron and a few other vitamins and minerals in one serving. V-8 is not the most nutrient rich option, but with only 70 calories, it is a light option!
When making your drink choices, reach for one that satisfies some of your daily requirement for iron. Consider replacing a snack with one of the heavy hitters, and choose the other options if you are out. Just stay away from caffeine, red wine and grape juice. The polyphenols counteract the body's ability to absorb the very mineral that you are looking to replenish.