Few kids would say they crave a good fiber-rich meal. Although the thought of fiber might bring gags and groans from kids, many appetizing foods are actually great sources of fiber — from fruits to whole-grain cereals. And kids are probably eating them without even knowing it.
Not just for the senior-citizen crowd, foods with fiber are beneficial because they're filling and, therefore, discourage overeating — even though fiber itself adds no calories. Plus, when combined with adequate fluid intake, high-fiber fare helps move food through the digestive system and may protect against gut cancers and constipation. It may also lower LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) as well as help prevent diabetes and heart disease.
Listed on food labels under total carbohydrates, dietary fiber is found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains. Some of the best sources are:
A high-fiber food has 5 grams or more of fiber per serving and a good source of fiber is one that provides 2.5 to 4.9 grams per serving. Here's how some fiber-friendly foods stack up:
Toddlers age 1-3 years should get 19 grams of fiber each day and children 4-8 years should get 25 grams of fiber a day. Older boys age 9-13 years should get 31 grams and teen boys age 14-18 years should get 38 grams per day. Older girls and teens should get 26 grams of fiber a day.
Here are some creative, fun, and tasty ways to incorporate more fiber-rich foods into your family's diet:
Lunch and Dinner
Snacks and Treats
Make gradual changes that will add up to a diet that's higher in fiber over time. And keep offering a variety of foods that are good sources of fiber — fruits like pears and berries; vegetables like spinach and green peas; lentils and kidney, white, or black beans; and whole-grain breakfast cereals and breads. Kids will get the fiber they need, and you'll set the tone for a lifetime of healthy eating.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: February 2012
|National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics Offering nutrition information, resources, and access to registered dietitians.|
|ChooseMyPlate.gov ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information on how to follow the U.S. government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It includes resources and tools to help families lead healthier lives.|
|U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) The USDA works to enhance the quality of life for people by supporting the production of agriculture.|
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|Food Labels Look at any packaged food and you'll see the food label. This nutrition facts label gives the lowdown on everything from calories to cholesterol. Read more about food labels.|
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|Figuring Out Food Labels Find out how to make healthy food choices for your family by reading food labels.|
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