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.


Why do we need it?

Iron is an essential mineral which has lots of functions some of which include:

  • transporting oxygen around our body.
  • helping our bodies to produce energy from the food we eat.
  • playing a role in our immune system.


The iron found in animal sources is called haem iron and is found in:

  • red meat
  • fish
  • poultry

The iron found in plant sources is called non-haem iron and is found in:

  • beans
  • nuts
  • dried fruit (e.g. dried apricots)
  • whole grains
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • soybean flour
  • most dark green leafy vegetables (such as watercress and curly kale).

Additional information

Iron found in animal sources can be absorbed by the body more easily than iron found in plant sources.

Vitamin C can help our bodies to absorb iron, especially the iron found in plant sources. For example, eating fruit with fortified breakfast cereal or eating vegetables with beans, nuts and rice can help our bodies absorb iron from these plant sources.

Some foods that contain iron are also good sources of vitamin C such as broccoli and spring greens.



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