Dietary Fiber Recommendations for Children

Fiber for Children

 

Many children, since they don't eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and they have a relatively high fat diet, tend to have diets that are low in fiber.

This can lead to unhealthy diets and one of the more common and immediate consequences - constipation.

How much fiber do kids need in their diet?  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in their Guide to Your Child's Nutrition, "a person's daily intake of fiber should equal his or her age plus 5 grams (thus, for a 7-year-old, 7 + 5 = 12 grams a day) up to a maximum of 35 grams a day."

High Fiber Foods

In general, good sources of fiber include many fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans), breads, and cereals.  To find foods high in fiber for your family, it can help to read the nutrition label of foods to see how much fiber is in it.
 
In general, a food that is high in fiber would have at least 5g of fiber per serving or more. Those that are good sources of fiber have at least 2.5g of fiber per server.

You can also look for these high fiber foods (they have 5g of fiber or more per serving):

  • Barley
  • Navy Beans
  • Baked Beans                                                                                              
  • Split Peas
  • Lentils
  • Wheat Flour
  • Oat Bran
  • Dates
  • Refried Beans
  • Raspberries
  • Asian Pears
  • Green Peas
  • Kellogg's All-Bran Cereal
  • Couscous, dry
  • Prunes
  • Kellogg's Raisin Bran Cereal
  • Spinach
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Artichokes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Progresso Healthy Classics Lentil Soup
  • Shredded Wheat Cereal
  • Broccoli
  • Pears
  • Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereal
  • Raisins
  • General Mills Total Raisin Bran cereal

Other high fiber foods include other bran cereals, bran muffins, etc.

Foods that are still pretty good sources of fiber (about 2 to 4.9g of fiber per serving), at least as compared to other foods without fiber, but not as high as the high fiber foods listed above, include:
 
  • Mixed Vegetables
  • Strawberies
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes (with the skin on)
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Figs
  • General Mills Cheerios cereal
  • Apples (with the skin on)
  • Oranges
  • Air Popped Popcorn
  • Oatmeal
  • Applesauce
  • Tomato Soup
  • Fruit Cocktail
  • Graham Crackers
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios cereal
  • Pistachio Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Celery

Again, don't forget to check the nutrition label to find high fiber foods, avoid adding high fat toppings to your high fiber foods, and encourage your kids to eat their fruits, like apples, with the skin on.

Foods that have some fiber, but not as much as most parents think include grapes, melons, granola bars, non-bran cereals, oatmeal cookies, lettuce, and apples without the skin on them.

Sources:

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18. Fiber, Total Dietary (g) Content of Selected Foods per Common Measure, sorted by nutrient content.

 

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