Kids need fiber. And unlike many health-savvy moms, they aren’t likely to lunch on lentil salad or choose Brussels sprouts instead of French fries. This is why most children aren’t getting enough of this essential nutrient. You may need to sneak fiber into your kids’ diets if you want them to meet their daily requirement (and help banish their tummy troubles). Here’s help:
How much fiber does your child need?
Children’s daily fiber requirement:
|1 to 3 years||19 grams|
|4 to 8 years||25 grams|
|9 to 13 years||26 to 31 grams|
|14 to 19 years||26 to 39 grams|
The average 6 to 11 year-old consumes just 11 grams of dietary fiber per day. That is just half the recommended daily amount.
How to sneak fiber into your kids’ diets
There are many great dietary sources of fiber: beans, whole grains, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables. But few of these are kids’ favorites. Here are some sneaky ways to boost your children’s fiber intake, while still serving them the foods they know and enjoy.
- Pile on the berries. Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are rich in fiber. Sprinkle berries on their yogurt, pudding or gelatin. Add berries to their favorite breakfast cereal to double or even triple its fiber content.
- Give them popcorn and nuts as snacks. Two cups of popcorn contain two grams of fiber, four times the amount of fiber in their favorite cheesy crackers. Add some nuts – almonds, pecans and walnuts are highest in fiber – to really rev up this snack’s fiber content.
- Add Sunfiber to their favorite recipes. Mix a scoop or two of this soluble fiber supplement into your pancake batter, cookie dough or pasta sauce. It won’t change the food’s color, odor, flavor or texture. This helps your little ones meet that fiber requirement without any fuss. And unlike some fiber supplements, there are no painful or embarrassing side effects with Sunfiber.
- Add pureed beans and lentils to soups and sauces. If your kids aren’t fans of these high-fiber foods, you can still incorporate them into your everyday meals. Just puree the cooked legumes with a small amount of chicken or vegetable stock before adding them to your chili or macaroni and cheese. But be careful: unlike Sunfiber, quickly boosting your fiber content this way may cause uncomfortable gas or bloating.