Healthy Eating in Schools guidance 2020: supplementary information and advice on energy and key nutrients

This is supplementary guidance to the guidance book on Healthy Eating in Schools focusing upon providing information about the energy and key nutrients which form the basis for provision of school food and drink.

Vitamin A

Why do we need it?

Vitamin A is a very important vitamin that has lots of important functions.

It has a vital role in growth and healthy vision.

It helps keep us healthy by fighting infections.


Vitamin A is found in both animal and plant foods.

The vitamin A found in animal sources is called retinol while the vitamin A found in plant sources is known as carotene.

Retinol is found in cheese, eggs, oily fish (such as mackerel), milk, fortified margarine and yoghurt.

Carotene is found in colourful fruit and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, melon and apricots (dried or fresh) tomatoes and red peppers, as well as green leafy vegetables e.g. spinach, watercress and broccoli.

Additional information

The vitamin A found in animal sources is more efficiently absorbed by the body than the form found in plant sources.

Many foods that contain vitamin A are also a source of many other valuable vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, iron and zinc.

For example peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and spinach are also sources of vitamin C.



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