Colorful fiber-rich potatoes, beans, carrots and radishes in a market stall.

FIVE KID-FRIENDLY FIBER FIXES

One of the key elements to making sure your child’s body is performing at its best is incorporating natural fiber into their diet.

Fiber plays a role in supporting a healthy digestive system, and getting the proper amount is believed to reduce the risk of digestive disorders, certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. However, too much fiber may interfere with the absorption of some essential minerals, including iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium, so it’s important to follow the recommended daily fiber intake.1

How much fiber do children need?
Children older than two years of age should consume their age plus five grams of fiber per day to their age plus 10 grams of fiber per day. For example, a five-year-old child should consume between 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day.2 To help make sure your child is getting enough fiber each day, follow the simple tips below.

Whole-grain or Wholemeal Bread
Processing white bread removes the fiber and other nutrients of whole grains. To maximize your child’s fiber intake, replace white bread with whole-grain or wholemeal breads and biscuits that have the “Higher in Whole-Grains” Healthier Choice Symbol.3

Brown rice and whole-grain noodles
Replace white rice with brown rice, and white noodles with whole-grain noodles in your favorite recipes. If your kids prefer the taste of white rice and white noodles, add green peas, broccoli or beans for an extra fiber boost.

Cereal
Look for the “Higher in Whole-Grains” Healthier Choice Symbol for cereals with higher fiber content. Top your cereal with fruit like raspberries, strawberries or bananas to add extra flavor and fiber.3, 4

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits like durians, custard apple, soursop, guava and dragonfruit are good sources of fiber. For vegetables with an extra fiber boost, choose spinach, French beans, turnips, broccoli and peas.4, 5

Beans and Legumes
Use kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas as fiber- and protein-rich alternatives to meat in your child’s favorite foods.4, 5

1. National Institutes of Health. MedlinePlus. Fiber. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002470.htm. Accessed October 25, 2014.
2. Williams CL, Bollella M, Wynder EL. A new recommendation for dietary fiber in childhood. Pediatrics 1995;96:985–8.
3. Singapore Health Promotion Board. Know the Difference in Goodness. 
http://www.hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/health-article/7498. Accessed October 25, 2014.
4. Singapore Health Promotion Board. Energy and Nutrient Composition of Foods. http://www.hpb.gov.sg/hpb/ere/ere070101.asp. Accessed October 25, 2014.
5. Changi General Hospital. High Fibre Foods.http://www.cgh.com.sg/Health_Library/Health_Information/Pages/HealthLibraryDetails.aspx?DID=146. Accessed October 25, 2014.

Information provided is for general background purposes and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by a trained professional. You should always consult your physician about any healthcare questions you may have, especially before trying a new medication, diet, fitness program, or approach to healthcare issues.
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