Dietary fiber is an important nutrient for the healthy functioning of your child’s body. Fiber rich foods have the power to prevent diarrhea, constipation, and a host of other short-term and long-term health complications. Children are always more attracted to unhealthy food options such as fast food and pre-packaged junk food. How can you slowly and gradually introduce fiber-rich foods into their regular diets? This article will give a few tips to do just that.
Keep in mind that children love food that looks colorful and fun. They also enjoy being involved in the process of food making. So with these two basic pieces of information, let’s explore some tips.
1. Making Your Own Healthy Breakfast
Most children enjoy having cereal for breakfast. Instead of topping it off with mounds of sugar, chocolate chips, or chocolate sauce, set out bowls of dried fruits, nuts and fresh fruits. Then encourage them to make their own cereal mix. Ensure that the cereal you buy contains at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving.
You can follow the same idea for a mid-day yoghurt snack. Healthy additions such as fresh fruit and dried fruit are an excellent accompaniment to yoghurt. They not only enhance the flavor of the snack, but also amplify the level of nutritional intake.
2. Making Food Fun
Whole fruits and vegetables can seem large, intimidating and boring for children. To make these natural foods more approachable, cut them up into smaller pieces. You can use different shape cutters to make eating vegetables and fruits even more fun. With circles, triangles, or even a smiley face made out of natural foods, you child will focus on the shapes and eat the healthy food with a smile.
Fruits and vegetables are a very significant and irreplaceable source of multiple nutrients. Ensuring that your child gets ample helpings of both is very important for his/her growth and development.
3. Making Healthy Dips
Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of dietary fiber. However, children often find the taste of fruits and vegetables too bland to enjoy. Your solution to this problem is simple: cut vegetables and fruits in long thin slices. Then set a delicious dip to go along with the healthy food. The dip could be anything that your child enjoys such as peanut butter, low-fat salad dressings, hummus, or yoghurt based dips. Just ensure that you use healthy ingredients when you are preparing the dip.
4. Making Whole Grain Snacks
Children love eating sandwiches and enjoy taking them to school for lunch. Make their day healthy by switching to whole grain bread instead of using white bread. White bread is heavily processed and deprived of all the nutrients that natural grains inherently contain. Buy whole grain bread that contains at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
How Much Dietary Fiber Do Children Need?
According to medical experts, children of different age brackets will require different proportions of dietary fiber.
Children from the ages of 1-3 years require 19 grams of dietary fiber per day, and children from the ages of 4-8 years require 25 grams of dietary fiber per day. Boys from the ages of 9-13 years require 31 grams of dietary fiber per day, and girls from the ages of 9-13 years require 26 grams of dietary fiber per day. Similarly, boys ranging from 14-18 years require 38 grams of dietary fiber per day, while girls within the same age bracket require 26 grams of dietary fiber per day.