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Parents > Growth & Development > Feeding & Eating > Fiber and Your Child
Fiber and Your Child

Lea este articulo en EspanolFew 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.

Figuring Out Fiber

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.

Adding Fiber to Your Family's Diet

Here are some creative, fun, and tasty ways to incorporate more fiber-rich foods into your family's diet:

Breakfast

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

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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