Dietary Requirements

Venison – the healthy choice for the whole family

Farm-raised venison can form part of a healthy meal for New Zealand families, alongside plentiful amounts of vegetables and bread or cereals.

Infants and toddlers

Toddlers experience rapid growth, and their nutrient needs are high. Venison is a great food for children. Packed full of nutrients, it can provide quality protein for growth, along with B vitamins, iron and zinc. Ensuring adequate iron and zinc intakes is important in this age group to promote optimal development.

A toddler’s need for iron is relatively high, yet few iron-rich foods may be consumed13. Minced or finely chopped venison is an ideal food for young children, given its iron content.


Pregnant women

Iron requirements increase significantly during pregnancy, with the recommended daily intake rising to 27mg/day2. To ensure adequate iron intake during pregnancy, at least two servings a day of iron-containing foods should be consumed.

Venison, as one of the richest dietary sources of iron, can make a significant contribution to iron intakes among pregnant women.


Healthy adults

The New Zealand Ministry of Health’s Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Adults recommend maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods, and taking regular physical activity. Consumption of lean meat is recommended.


Older people

As people get older, nutrient dense foods become more important in the diet, particularly if there is a decline in appetite and as a result a reduction in the quantity of food consumed. Requirements for thiamin and vitamins B6 and B12 tend to be higher in older people15 and venison can make a useful contribution to intakes of these vitamins.


The Healthy Choice

Iron deficiency is prevalent in New Zealand among infants and young children, adolescent girls (especially Mâori, Pacific Islanders and Asians) and women of childbearing age. Deficiency of iron can lead to symptoms of fatigue, impaired immunity, delayed psychomotor development in infants and impaired cognitive function.

Venison is one of the best dietary sources of iron, with the iron present in the haem form, which is easily absorbed by the body. Also, the protein in the meat can enhance the absorption of non-haem iron, found in vegetables and cereals, if they are eaten at the same time.