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Departments of Nutrition and Dietetics and Norfolk and Norwich
University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Also for use by James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation
Trust and Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Iron Content of Foods (Children)
This dietary advice sheet gives some general information to help you make the recommended
changes to your child’s diet. If you need more detailed advice or if you are following a special diet that
makes it difficult to make these changes, please ask your doctor to refer your child to a dietitian
Iron is a mineral needed to make haemoglobin, the red pigment in blood which carries oxygen around
the body. Babies and children need to eat enough iron to grow properly. A lack of iron can cause
children to become pale, tired, lacking in energy and irritable. Please see below for foods that can
contribute to iron intake and the amount of iron that they contain.
Non-Animal Sources
Animal
Sources
Food
Liver (100g) fried
Mince beef (100g)
Pork sausages (2 medium)
Sardines (2 tinned)
Roast beef 1 slice (45g)
Salmon 50g (average tin = 200g)
Roast lamb 1 slice (30g)
Chicken 1 breast (100g)
1 Beefburger (100% beef)
Grilled Bacon 1 rasher (25g)
Tuna 50g (average tin = 185g)
Cod 100g (4oz)
2 Fish Fingers
Roast pork 1 slice (30g)
Quinoa (average portion ¼ cup dry = 42g)
Cornflakes 5 tablespoons (30g)
Rice Krispies 7-8 tablespoons (30g)
Wholemeal bread (2 medium slices)
Spinach 100g (4oz) (cooked)
Baked Beans 100g (1/4 large tin)
Lentils 1 tablespoon (40g)
Plain Chocolate 50g (average bar = 200g)
1 Egg
Peas (2 tablespoons)
White bread (2 medium slices)
2 Broccoli florets
Porridge (with 1/6 pint of milk/water)
Dried Fruit 1 heaped tablespoon (25g)
Iron content
10 - 15
2.7
1.5
1.5
1.4
0.8
0.5-0.8
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
3.9
2.3
2.3
1.9
1.6
1.4
1.4
1.2
1.0
1.0
1.0
0.9
0.7
0.5
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
Iron from animal foods is much better absorbed than iron from
non-animal sources. Non-animal foods do contain iron but
only 1 – 10% is absorbed by the body. If your child usually eats
little of the animal foods, you will need to encourage them to
eat plenty of the non-animal foods.
Review Date: November 2017
Page 1 of 2
Iron Content of Foods
Daily Requirements
The amount of iron you need varies at different stages of life.
Infants
Children
0-3 months
1.7 mg
4-6 months
4.3 mg
7-12 months
7.8 mg
1-3 years
6.9 mg
4-6 years
6.1 mg
7-10 years
8.7 mg
11-18 years male
11.2 mg
11-18 years female
14.5 mg
Ways to improve iron absorption from food:

Vitamin C helps iron to be absorbed from foods. A food or drink containing vitamin C can
improve the iron absorption from non-animal sources, if eaten at the same meal.

Foods rich in vitamin C are:
- fruit and fruit juice, particularly citrus fruits, kiwi and strawberries.
- vegetables (including frozen varieties), salad and potatoes.

Tea stops iron being taken into the body. This should be avoided at mealtimes and up to 1
hour after.

Unprocessed bran, high bran bread and bran rich cereals all contain substances that stop
iron being taken into the body. These should be avoided in babies and young children.
The best way to ensure there is enough iron in your child’s diet is for them to eat a healthy,
varied, balanced diet.
Review Date: November 2017
Page 2 of 2