If you offer a bran muffin or a cup of lentil soup to a kid, you’re likely to get groans and sneers. Today’s children simply do not consume enough fiber-rich foods. It’s just as important to your child’s health as it is to yours to get enough fiber.
Foods that are high in fiber are smart and caring choices for your kids because they’re filling and discourage overeating – and fiber itself has no calories. The rate of obesity in children living in the United States is glaring evidence that something must dramatically be altered in our approach to healthy eating.
Consider changes in meals and snacks that will add high fiber to the diet over a span of time. Offer a wide variety of high fiber food sources. If you change slowly to more high fiber fruits and veggies, your kids’ fiber adaptation will be so much smoother (so will their bowel movements). Make sure that you introduce fiber gradually to their daily diet with lots of drinking water to move things easily along.
Fiber helps delay the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, regulating blood sugar levels which help kids learn and behave better. It also reduces the risk for some cancers later in life.
An easy way to calculate how much fiber your kid should have every day is by adding 5 to their age. For example, if you have a 6-year-old, he or she should get about 11 grams of daily fiber. Adults and those older than 15 need 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.
Kids tend to be most receptive to the fiber found in fruits, vegetables and presweetened breakfast cereals. Apricots, figs and prunes make wonderful high fiber snacks. They love to crack open nuts like peanuts and pistachios. Choose pears, apples and berries; peas, nuts and beans; and cereals and pancakes made with whole grain.
If bread is brown in color, it doesn’t mean that it is whole grain. Check the ingredient list to see if it reads “whole grain” or “whole” as in whole wheat. Look for at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.
Get your kids to help make decisions about better eating, you might find their attitudes more open to a healthier diet plan.
Don’t just set the table at suppertime. Set a good example with a lifetime of healthful eating habits.
Stephanie Shank has studied good nutrition and healthy living since her days of mothering began 15 years agowhich prompted her commitment to a high fiber diet and development of her informative website High Fiber Health.