Fiber is an important part of every diet and has many benefits for kids and adults of all ages. But how much fiber should your child be consuming daily, and what are the best dietary sources of fiber? Check out our quick guide below, covering everything you need to know about high-fiber foods for kids.
Importance of Fiber
Fiber is most well-known for helping keep things “regular” when it comes to bowel movements – a huge importance for babies, potty training toddlers, and kids of all ages! But fiber also helps keep kids full and satisfied and eliminates the need for constant snacking in between meals. Plus, adequate fiber intake also helps lower cholesterol, improve gut health, aid in weight control, and regulate blood sugar levels.
Best High-Fiber Foods for Kids
Luckily, you don’t need to get your kid to down a glass of prune juice to reap the benefits of high fiber. Fiber is found naturally in many foods, including fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Here are some of the best sources of dietary fiber that kids also love:
- Bananas – Bananas contain around 3 grams of fiber and make a great healthy snack for kids of all ages.
- Avocados – Consider making your child some avocado toast or even throwing a few avocado slices into a fruit smoothie.
- Apples – Kids love apples! One apple contains about 4 grams of fiber. Add some peanut butter for an extra dose of fiber, and leave the skin on if your kids can tolerate it.
- Beans or lentils – Beans are naturally high in fiber as well as many other nutrients. Luckily, many kids love recipes that include beans, such as tacos or chili.
- Peas – Peas are another parent favorite that is easy to sneak into your child’s diet through kid-approved dishes such as mac and cheese or hearty soups.
- High-fiber cereal – One easy way to get more fiber into your child’s diet without supplementation is through cereal.
- Raspberries – Most kids love berries. But did you know they are also naturally high in fiber? According to the USDA, one cup of raspberries contains an impressive 8 grams of fiber. Strawberries and blueberries are high in fiber as well.
Tips for Parents
As with any dietary change, parents can help set their child up for success by modeling a healthy attitude toward food and establishing their own healthy habits. In other words, if you expect your child to drink a fiber-rich fruit smoothie every morning or finish their plate of vegetables each night at dinner, you should too. In addition, check out the answers to these common questions below:
How much fiber does my child need a day?
As a rule of thumb, parents can take their child’s age and simply add 10. For example, an 11-year-old would need to consume around 21 grams of fiber each day.
Kids who are eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day should naturally hit these target goals without the need to track their fiber intake.
Does my child need a supplement?
In most cases, your child won’t need to take a fiber supplement. Most fiber needs can be met through diet. However, if your child is experiencing issues with having regular bowel movements or you know they are getting insufficient fiber intake through their diet, there are plenty of safe supplementation options available on the market for kids and teens.
What if my child consumes too much fiber?
On the other hand, too much fiber can cause uncomfortable side effects such as bloating and gas, so be sure to increase your child’s intake slowly. Ensuring that they are drinking plenty of water can help too.
If you have any questions about your child’s diet, give us a call today to discuss your concerns with one of our board-certified pediatricians in Arvada.