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Kids with healthy diets absorb less lead. A healthy diet has lots of iron, vitamin C and calcium.


Foods high in iron include:

  • meats such as beef, lamb, pork and kangaroo
  • poultry such as chicken and turkey
  • fish such as sardines, salmon and tuna
  • wholegrain bread
  • iron rich breakfast cereals
  • baked beans, dried peas, beans, lentils
  • green leafy vegetables
  • dried fruit, eggs and peanut butter.

Vitamin C

  • Eating foods high in vitamin C at the same time as iron rich foods helps your body absorb more iron.
  • Foods high in vitamin C include:
  • citrus and tropical fruits
  • berries
  • vegetables.


Dairy foods are the best sources of calcium. Everyone needs two or three serves of dairy every day. Low fat dairy foods are best for anyone over the age of two.

One serve of calcium is:

  • a cup of milk or calcium enriched soy milk
  • a small tub of yoghurt
  • two slices of cheese.
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Other healthy eating tips

Wash hands before eating

Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to keep lead out of our bodies. Make sure kids always wash their hands before eating.

Drink plenty of tap water

Rainwater from water tanks looks and smells like clean water but can still contain lead. Avoid drinking it or using it to prepare or cook food.

Eating on the floor

It is best to sit kids at the table or put babies in a high chair. If kids do sit on the floor — or on the ground outside — put down a clean sheet, towel or blanket first, to keep lead dust or dirt out of the food and off their hands.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

A child who doesn’t eat breakfast can absorb up to seven times more lead than a child who does eat breakfast.

Regular, small healthy snacks

A tummy full of healthy food protects kids from lead harm.

Eat plenty of washed fruit and vegetables

Always wash fruit and vegetables before eating them — especially if grown at home.

Eating smart means eating less fat

High fat foods cause your body to absorb more lead. Try to eat less of things like butter, cream, takeaway food, cakes and chocolate.

Watch out for Pica

Pica is the habit of eating non-food items, such as soil and paint flakes. If your child shows signs of doing this, please contact Child and Family Health, Maari Ma or your doctor as soon as possible.


Start smart

Information for pregnant women and families


Eat smart

Reduce lead absorption through healthy eating


Clean smart

Hygiene and cleaning in and around the home


Live smart

Protecting your kids from lead in the backyard


Work smart

Protecting your family from workplace lead


Build smart

LeadSmart renovation and maintenance