I’ve been talking with my wife about ways to get more fiber in our kids diet. I’ve written before about the importance of fiber when it comes to my choice of foods and weightloss, and we’ve tried to get more fiber to our children’s diet in a passive manner, but we know they aren’t getting enough. Top it off with some recent medical advice to my wife that she should increase the fiber in her diet, and its becoming apparent that we need to do more.
How To Get More Fiber
My Mom and I were talking about kids diets and fiber recently. She observed that kids today simply don’t eat well, and it isn’t that they don’t have good choices, but that they simply won’t eat healthier foods. When I was a kid, a staple of my diet was pinto beans, which are a great source of fiber. Not only do my kids dislike pinto beans, I don’t think they would eat them if they were the last food on earth. When you consider that every expert from the National Fiber Council to the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that children need more fiber in their diets, as parents its a subject we should be addressing.
How much fiber do kids need?
The American Heart Association suggests that both adults and children should consume 14-grams of fiber for every 1,000-calories consumed. This translates into the following recommendations:
- 1-3 yr olds: 19 grams
- 4-8 yr olds: 25 grams
- 9-13 yr olds
- Girls – 26 grams
- Boys –31 grams
- 14-18 yr olds
- Girls – 29 grams
- Boys – 38 grams
How to get more fiber in kids diet?
The classic recommendations for adding fiber to your diet apply to kids as well. Those are:
- fruits and vegetables
- cous cous
- humus (basically ground chick peas)
- whole grains
- oats and whole grain cereals
Unfortunately, my kids simply don’t like most of these foods. They’ll eat peeled apples, which are good, but the skin is where the fiber is located. Bananas, grapes, strawberries, and watermelon are all hits. They will also eat green beans, broccoli, and raw carrots with ranch dip. We’re still experimenting with the vegetable and dip route. Beyond that, they’re basically not interested. So, we’re trying to the “stealth fiber” route. Here are some of the things we’ve done to slip more fiber into their diets:
- Use oat flour in homemade pancakes and waffles
- Swap out whitewheat bread for white bread (up to 5-grams of fiber in 2 slices)
- Switch to multigrain frozen waffles (up to 3-grams of fiber in 2 waffles)
- If your kids like oatmeal, try steel cut oats
- Give them high fiber cereal bars as a snack (up to 9-grams of fiber per bar)
- Try high fiber supplements. Fiber Choice makes a tasty fruit flavored chewable tablet that our kids actually enjoy. You can check them out here: Fiber Choice Chewable Tablets.
- For a recipe idea, check out our high fiber, healthy alternative to cinnamon rolls
A piece of advice though. If your kids don’t get a lot of fiber now, be sure to increase their intake slowly. Otherwise they’ll most definitely end up with a tummy ache.