How was your Labor Day? I was very happy to have the day off, but our weekend was a bit wet with Tropical Storm Lee. Thank God we didn’t have too much rain though, because we were able to work on our backyard and our patio! We also moved our herb garden into the ground (it was in a pot) and planted what we hope will help our backyard looking great!I hope everyone stayed safe!
For today’s blog post, I decided to tackle fiber. I find that a lot of parents forget about fiber when it comes to important nutrients for children. Instead, we talk more about fiber for adults.
Fiber is basically plant parts that our bodies can’t digest. You may also hear it referred to as roughage or bulk. There are two different types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and can be found in beans, fruits, and oat products. This type of fiber is very beneficial in a number of ways. First, it shortens the “transit time” through the digestive system. It also helps to decrease cholesterol levels in the blood. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grain products and in vegetables. Both types of fiber help with bowel movements and also delay the absorption of glucose.
Fiber may play a role in preventing obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. For one, it helps to fill us up. Giving your child a fiber rich snack will keep them fuller longer instead of grabbing for one “empty calorie” snack after another. This can quickly pack on the calories, contributing to weight gain and eventually even childhood obesity. Although not as hot of a topic as childhood obesity, constipation is also a common problem for children. One possible reason is the lack of fiber in the diet. Many processed snacks or drinks strip whole foods of their fiber content, such as juice (even if made with whole fruits).
So how much fiber does your child need? Any child older than 2 should get their age + 5 grams. For example if you have a 5 year old, he should be getting in about 10 grams of fiber. Adolescents and adults should aim for 25-35 grams (female) and 28-40 grams (male).
If you’d like to work on you or your child’s fiber intake, it’s important to start slowly. Too much fiber at one time may cause gas and bloating. It’s also important to increase water intake as well to help with bowel movements.
And lastly, beware of prepackaged, processed foods that are “High in Fiber!!” While the serving size noted may contain a good amount of fiber, the Dietary Guidelines actually note that it’s unknown whether this type of fiber is as beneficial as eating foods that naturally contain fiber.
Add these to your shopping list instead:
- Whole grains
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (And try to keep the skins intact!)
- Legumes such as navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, split peas, and lentils
I hope everyone has a great week!
What types of high fiber foods does your child enjoy?
Isaac loves apples with the skin, and he likes most beans. He also eats the whole grains that we buy-whole wheat bread and bread products, pasta, oatmeal, etc. We’re still working on the veggie intake