(HealthCastle.com) Dietary fiber is part of all plant foods. Foods that provide dietary fiber can be found in three of the four food groups such as whole grain breakfast cereals, whole grain bread, fruit, vegetables, cooked beans, peas and lentils. Fiber has important health benefits for children:
promotes regularity and prevents constipation
helps reduce risk of cancer and heart disease later in life
Kids who eat a wide variety of fiber-rich foods will likely continue with this healthy habit later in life!
How much Fiber do Kids Need?
Consuming adequate amounts of fiber is important for your child's health. The recommended daily fiber intakes are:
Kids 1 to 3 years: 19 grams
Kids 4 to 8 years: 25 grams
Boys 9 to 13 years: 31 grams
Girls 9 to 13 years: 26 grams
Fiber intake should be increased gradually. This is important to minimize potential adverse side effects such as abdominal distress, bloating, flatulence, cramps and diarrhea. Remember to encourage kids to drink more fluids, especially water, as they eat more fiber.
Boost your kid's fiber intake by following these tips:
The skins of fruits are rich sources of fiber. Serve fruit such as apples and pears with the skins on. Cut these fruits up into easy-to-eat wedges. Serve your child nectar (which contains pulp) rather than fiberless plain juice. Better yet, serve the whole fruit rather than its juice.
A bowl full of high-fiber cereal is a great start to meeting your child's daily needs. Read food labels to find whole-grain breakfast cereals that provide 3 or more grams of fiber per serving . Also you may sprinkle wheat bran or oat bran, or toss in cut-up fruits such as berries and banana in your kid's favorite breakfast cereal.
Toss in extra vegetables in dishes you make. For instance, top a pizza or stuff a sandwich with extra vegetables, or toss in extra vegetables in home-made or canned soup.
Make a smoothie with fresh fruit and yogurt as quick breakfast or a snack.
Beans are loaded with fiber and protein. Drain and rinse canned beans that you can toss into soups, stews, salads, scrambled eggs and omelettes.
Popcorn, a type of whole grains, can be a healthy snack with little or no added salt and butter.
Substitute whole wheat or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin or other flour-based recipes.
Choose whole wheat pasta over white floured pasta; and choose brown rice or wild rice more often.
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or dietitian. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.