Fiber is an important nutrient that most children (and parents) are not getting enough of each day. As a mom, I know that we do our very best to feed our family nutritious foods, but sometimes we need help with choosing good sources of fiber.
Why is Fiber Important?
Fiber helps to keep things moving in the digestive tract and it helps to keep our tummies satisfied. A diet that includes good sources of fiber helps to prevent constipation, and the nutrients and vitamins in fiber may help reduce the risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and obesity.
How Much Fiber Do Our Kids Need?
There are different fiber recommendations for children based on energy needs, age, or weight, so the exact amount can vary, but here are a couple of guidelines.
- Eat 5. A simple way to make sure your children are getting enough fiber is by making healthful food choices. If your children are eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day along with other foods that are good sources of fiber, there is really no need to count fiber grams.
- Add 5. If you find it helpful to keep track of numbers, add 5 to your children’s age. For example, a 5-year-old would need about 10 grams of fiber each day. Note: The total daily recommended amount of up to 25 grams for adults can be used as a general guideline for children.
Here Are a Few Good Sources of Fiber
- whole-grain breads and cereals
- Vegetables, such as
- green peas
- legumes (dried beans, split peas, lentils, etc.)
A high-fiber food has 5 grams or more of fiber per serving; a good source of fiber is one that provides 2.5 to 4.9 grams per serving.
Here are a few ways to easily add fiber into your kid’s diet!
- Include veggies in meals.
- Choose fruit for snacks.
- Choose whole grains over refined grains.
- Add nuts and seeds to recipes.
- Bake with high-fiber flours.