Care4Kids

Fiber

Nutrition experts and doctors agree that healthy eating affects the way your child looks, feels and performs, and more important, helps protect him against chronic disease. Pediatricians recommend that children over age 2 eat less fat and eat more foods rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber.

WHAT IS DIETARY FIBER?
Dietary fiber, often called roughage, is the part of plant foods that the body can’t digest. There are two types — soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water; insoluble fiber holds water in without being digested (e.g., wheat bran) and helps move waste through the intestine. Your body needs both types of fiber for good health. Foods rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, whole grain breads and  cereals. Food product labels will tell you how much fiber a serving of food contains. Dietary fiber is a measure of the total fiber content of the serving size listed. Food packages that claim a product is high in fiber must contain five or more grams of fiber per serving.

THE BENEFITS OF FIBER
Foods that are rich in fiber are usually low in fat and calories. Fiber benefits adults and children alike by:

It’s also important to increase your child’s fluid intake along with his fiber intake. Fiber absorbs water, which helps your child produce a soft stool that moves easily through the intestine. Fiber also adds bulk to your child’s stool, which helps it to move quickly. If you notice that your son’s stool is hard and dry, or if he’s gone more than three days without passing a stool, he may be constipated.  Offer him more fluid throughout the day. To ensure adequate fluid intake, most children should consume one to two quarts of fluid a day. Offer water between meals, when your child isn’t full. Fruit juice and milk are about 90 percent water. However, highly salted liquids like tomato juice or chicken broth are not good sources of water because they actually increase the body’s need for fluid.

ADDING FIBER TO YOUR CHILD’S DIET
When adding fiber to your child’s diet, start slowly and
gradually increase the amount. A good rule of thumb is that the less processed the food, the more fiber it contains. Choose products that contain whole grains rather than enriched or refined flours. Some good choices are whole grain breads and crackers; bran cereals; whole wheat pancakes, waffles and pasta; and brown rice. Add granola or wheat germ to yogurt. Add unprocessed bran to moist foods such as applesauce, biscuits, soups, stews, hot cereals, pancakes, waffles, muffins, ground meats and casseroles. Start with one to two teaspoons daily and slowly increase the amount to no more than two tablespoons per day. Remember to avoid nuts, seeds and raw vegetables in children under age 3, as these foods commonly cause choking.

Some ideas for incorporating fiber into your child’s diet include:

Cereals:  Look for cereals with one to two grams of fiber or more per serving. Raisin bran, granola, corn or bran flakes, oatmeal, whole grain cereals

Bread:  Look for breads with at least one gram of fiber per serving. Whole wheat bread, cracked wheat bread, wheat germ, whole wheat pancakes, whole grain bagels, mixed grain bread, bran muffins, high-fiber frozen waffles

Other Grains:  Brown rice, wild rice, whole grain crackers, whole wheat pasta, graham crackers, quinoa, barley

Fruits and Vegetables: Wash skins well. Apples, cherries, oranges, carrots, celery, prunes and other dried fruit, pears, raisins, tomatoes, yams, corn, peaches, berries, grapes, bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, cauliflower, potatoes, asparagus and artichokes

Dried Peas, Beans and Legumes: All dried peas, beans and legumes are high in fiber. Lentils, lima beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans

Unprocessed Bran: Add to moist foods or foods with different textures. Applesauce, cookie dough, biscuits, French toast, soups and stews, hot cereal, bread pudding, pancakes and waffles, muffins, noodle casseroles

RECIPE
By using a whole-wheat crust, part-skim cheese, turkey pepperoni, and mixed vegetables, this pizza offers kids more of the nutrients they need, with less fat and fewer calories.

Prep time:  25 minutes
Ingredients:
1 ready-to-bake whole-wheat pizza crust(10 inches in diameter)
1/2 c pizza sauce             
1 c shredded part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella cheese                              
1/2 c (17 slices) turkey pepperoni  
1 c sliced mushrooms     

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread pizza sauce on crust.
  3. Spread cheese on top of the sauce.
  4. Sprinkle sliced mushrooms and pepperoni on top of the
  5. Bake approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Cut into 6 wedges.

Serves:  3
Serving size:  2 slices
Nutritional analysis (per serving):
395 calories
22 g protein
11 g fat
3.6 g sat. fat
52 g carbohydrate
8 g fiber
24 mg cholesterol
980 mg sodium
160 mg calcium
1 mg iron
n/a mcg folic acid

Note: Nutritional analysis may vary depending on ingredient brands used.

FIBER IN FOODS

CEREAL

Fiber (g)

LEGUMES

Fiber(g)

Fiber One®, ½ cup

   14

Lentils, boiled, ½ cup

8

All-Bran® w/Extra Fiber, ½ cup

   13

Chickpeas, canned, ½ cup

5.3

All-Bran®, ½ cup

   9

Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup

7

Cheerios®, 1 cup

   3

Baked beans with franks, 1 cup

17.9

Oatmeal, 1 packet instant

   3

Refried beans, canned, ½ cup

6.1

Wheatena®, 1/3cup

   6

Peanut butter, 2 tbsp.

2

Oatmeal 1 cup

   4.2

Baked beans with pork, 1 cup

13

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran®, 1 cup

   6.5

Progresso Healthy Classics Lentil, 1 cup

 5

 

 

Beans, snap, green, frozen, cooked, ½ cup

4.1

 

 

Chili, 1 cup

9

 

 

Ham and Bean soup, 1 cup

11

 

 

 

 

VEGETABLES

Fiber (g)

Fruits

Fiber (g)

Brussels sprouts, 8

   5

Pear, 1 medium with skin

    5

Spinach, raw, 1 cup

   8

Apple, 1 medium with skin

    4

Potato, 1 large w/skin

   2

Prunes, 5 dried

    5

Peas, ½ cup

   4

Orange, 1 medium

    3

Carrot, ½ cup

   2

Banana, 1 medium

    3

Corn, ½ cup

   2

Kiwi, 1 medium

    3

Lettuce, 1 cup

   1

Raisins, seedless, ½ cup

    2

Mixed vegetables, frozen, 1 cup

   8

Raspberries, raw, 1 cup

    6

Broccoli, cooked, 1 stalk

   5

Blueberries, frozen, 1 cup

    4

Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin, 1

   3

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAINS

Fiber (g)

 

 

Bulgur, 1 cup

   8

 

 

Brown rice, 1 cup

   2

 

 

Triscuits, 6

   3

 

 

Branola bread, 1 slice

   3

 

 

Popcorn, 3 cups

   3

 

 

Whole wheat spaghetti, 1 cup

   3

 

 

White rice, 1 cup

   1

 

 


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