One of the key elements to making sure your child’s body is performing at its best is incorporating natural fiber into their diet.
Fiber plays a role in supporting a healthy digestive system, and getting the proper amount is believed to reduce the risk of digestive disorders, certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Foods with a high fiber content should contain at least five grams of fiber per serving according to the World Health Organization.
Here are some simple switches you can make to increase the fiber in your child’s diet :
Whole Grain or Whole Wheat Bread
If your kids prefer softer bread, try baking your own. To make sure it’s fiber-rich, use whole wheat flour and add ground flaxseed or chia seeds for an extra dose of fiber.
Whole Grain or Whole Wheat Noodles
Replace white noodles with whole grain or whole wheat noodles in your favorite recipes. If your kids prefer the taste of white noodles, add vegetables like peas or carrots to pasta for an extra fiber boost.
Look for words like bran, whole wheat or granola. Avoid white processed cereals, and add fruit for extra flavor and fiber.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Choose fresh instead of canned fruit, like watermelon, banana, pineapple and oranges. Peas, broccoli and potatoes (with the skin on) are some of the most fiber-rich vegetables.
Beans and Legumes
Use red and yellow beans as a protein-rich alternative to meat in your child’s favorite foods.
- Shetty, P., Nishidal, C., Uauy, R., & Kumanyika, S. (2004). The Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases: Process, Product and Policy Implications. Retrieved January 24, 2014. http://cdrwww.who.int/nutrition/publications/public_health_nut9.pdf
- American Dietetic Association. Nutrition Guidance for Healthy Children Aged 2 to 11 Years. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108:1038-1047.