Get into iron-rich foods to boost your energy levels!

Feeling tired, sluggish or low on energy? You might be lacking in iron.

Iron is an essential nutrient crucial to good health. If you are deficient in iron, you may feel tired, get sick more easily, and find it harder to concentrate. That’s why it’s important to ensure you enjoy plenty of iron-rich foods

You may have already heard of haem iron and non-haem iron. Put simply, haem iron is found in animal foods such as meat and fish and is easily absorbed, while non-haem iron is found in plant foods such as spinach, lentils, beans and chickpeas, and is less easily absorbed.

Did you know, adding foods rich in Vitamin C (such as fruit and vegetables*) to your meal can help boost the absorption of iron from both the meat and the plant foods? Adding vegetables to any plate helps to make it a well-balanced meal.

Your iron rich meal equation:

Meat/seafood/chicken + iron-rich plant foods + Vitamin C rich fruit or vegetables = a great meal for well absorbed iron!

Fresh New Zealand pork provides a source of iron and typically the cuts of pork highest in iron are scotch fillet and fillet steak. These are versatile cuts and can be used in stir fries, on the barbecue, pan fried or roasted. To help inspire you to create iron rich recipes with New Zealand pork, here's some nutritious side dishes that will complement the pork on your fork perfectly!

Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale

  • Kale chips go well with a pork chop, as does wilted spinach or baby spinach in a salad.
  • Add Vitamin C rich vegetables such as broccoli or silver beet to your stir fry for added iron absorption.

Recipe ideas:

Hoisin Pork Yaki Udon

Sticky Honey Pork Steaks with Mashed Potato and Corn Salad

Legumes such as beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils

  • Add kidney, white or black beans in with your pork mince to make a yummy chilli.
  • Peas go great with a New Zealand pork roast.
  • Chickpeas and lentils can be added to bolster up a soup, stew or salad.

Recipe ideas:

Rich and Hearty Pork Stew

Pork and Super Grain Salad Bowl

Nuts  and seeds can add a little more iron as well as containing protein and other important nutrients to your meals (and delicious crunch)

  • Sprinkle pine nuts, toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds on the top of a dish to finish it off – especially yummy on a pasta.
  • Also great on top of a salad.

Recipe ideas:

Top tip to increase iron absorption - Enjoy your New Zealand pork with vegetables!

For more information on World Iron Awareness Week, including recipes please visit

*Vitamin C rich vegetable and fruit include: Capsicums, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, peas, oranges, strawberries and kiwifruit.