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Iron rich recipes

Why iron and haemoglobin are important

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service requires that your haemoglobin levels be within acceptable ranges before you can donate blood.

The Three Meal Daily Iron Guide

Take a look at the details below for ideas on how you can incorporate iron into your diet, including some delicious iron-rich recipes.

Breakfast

  • Choose breakfast cereals that contain added iron.
  • Add a glass of orange juice or vitamin C-rich fruit (such as strawberries, kiwi fruit or rockmelon) to increase absorption of the non-haem iron in cereals.
  • Drink tea and coffee between meals, not with meals.

Lunch

  • Add haem iron foods such as lean beef and lamb or canned fish to your sandwich or to your salad to boost your iron intake. Red meat is high in haem iron and also increases absorption of non-haem iron in the bread and vegetables by up to four times.
  • Add vitamin C-rich foods, such as capsicum, broccoli or citrus fruits, to vegetarian meals to increase absorption of non-haem iron.
  • Drink tea and coffee between meals, not with meals.

Dinner

  • Dietary guidelines recommend eating red meat 3 to 4 times a week because beef and lamb are good sources of haem iron. Studies show that women who regularly eat red meat are less likely to be low in iron.
  • For vegetarian meals, choose iron-rich foods such as legumes (try lentils, baked beans or 3-bean mix) and add vitamin C-rich vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower or capsicum to increase non-haem iron absorption.
  • Drink tea and coffee between meals, not with meals.

Hoisin lamb fillet with snake beans and chilli Hoisin Lamb

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 lamb fillets/tenderloins, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 bunch snake beans, cut into 3cm lengths, cooked
  • 100g roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves
  • rind and juice from a large lime
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Method

  1. Brush the lamb fillets with oil and hoisin sauce.
  2. Preheat the barbecue or pan before adding the steaks.
  3. Cook the fillets on one side until the first signs of moisture appear. Turn once only using tongs.
  4. Judge the meat’s readiness by touch. Rare feels soft; medium is springy; and well done is very firm. Rest the meat for a few minutes before serving.

Serving suggestion

To serve, slice the lamb diagonally and toss with the snake beans,peanuts, mint and coriander leaves, lime rind, juice and chilli.

San Choy BowSan Choy Bow

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 600g lean beef mince
  • 1 tsp oil (canola,olive or sunflower)
  • extra 1 tsp oil (canola, olive or sunflower)
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 4cm piece ginger, peeled, grated
  • 425g can baby corn,drained, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 150ml salt-reduced beef stock or water
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 150g bean sprouts, tails removed
  • a handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • chilled iceberg lettuce leaves to serve

Method

  1. Place the mince in a bowl and mix in the oil.
  2. To a hot wok, crumble in half of the mince. Stir-fry until the mince is well browned.
  3. Reheat the wok and add the extra oil. Add the carrot, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the corn and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Return the mince to the wok, toss for 1 minute. Push the mince mixture out to the side. Pour in the combined oyster sauce, stock and cornflour and stir as it comes to the boil. Then combine sauce with the mince mixture.

Serving suggestion

Add bean sprouts and coriander to the mixture and toss to combine. Spoon the mince into serving bowls and serve with chilled lettuce leaves.

Flathead Fillets with Roasted Baby Beetroots & WalnutsFlathead fillets

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches baby beetroots
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons horseradish cream or freshly grated horseradish
  • A squeeze lemon juice
  • 1 bunch watercress (or 100g rocket) washed and dried.
  • 125g shelled walnuts
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 x 180g Flathead, Hussar, Morwong, Tarwhine, or Whiting fillets, skin off, bones removed

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Remove and discard the stalks from the top of the beetroots, scrub them lightly with a brush under running water, to remove any grit. Brush with some of the olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking tray. Bake until a knife easily slides into them, about 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, peel and slice into halves or quarters.
  3. Combine horseradish cream, lemon juice and half the remaining olive oil in a large bowl. Add the watercress, walnuts, beetroots, salt and pepper and gently toss to combine. Divide the mixture between plates.
  4. Pat the fillets dry on some paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat, add remaining olive oil and fry fillets, in a single layer, turning once, until they are opaque and flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  6. Arrange the fillets on top of the salad and serve immediately.

Green Vegetable and Noodle Stir-FryHokkien stir-fry

Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Broccolini baby broccoli, cut into 4cm lengths
  • 150g baby Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 green capsicum, cut into short thin strips
  • 1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 celery sticks, diagonally sliced
  • 1 bunch Tuscan cabbage, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 400g hokkien noodles
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup unsalted roasted cashews, roughly chopped (optional)

Method

  1. Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Separate noodles with your fingers. Combine oyster sauce, soy sauce and honey in a small bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the Broccolini baby broccoli, baby Brussels sprouts, capsicum, onion and celery. Stir-fry for 4 minutes.
  4. Add the Tuscan cabbage and water to the wok. Toss. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, tossing once, until cabbage just wilts.
  5. Add noodles and combined sauces. Toss until well combined and heated through.
  6. Divide stir-fry among serving bowls. Top with cashews and serve.

These are guidelines only and are not intended as medical or nutritional advice. If you have specific health or dietary concerns discuss them with your doctor.