The Institute of Medicine has recommended that fiber should be included in every person’s diet from age one. For children, letting them know that they should include more fiber in the food they are eating may make them balk and resist. However, without them knowing they are already getting small amounts of fiber from the food they currently eat. Therefore it is only a matter of proper meal preparation and management to include more fiber into their diet to make children eat healthier. Fiber is very essential in the removal of waste from the body. Foods rich in fiber will fill the child’s tummies faster, making them consume less calories while at the same time prevent them from getting frequently hungry. High fiber foods also regulate a child‘s bowel movements. To start off your child on a healthy diet, take a look at some tips on how to add fiber to your child’s diet.
- Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains are very high in fiber content. It is recommended that a person should consume about two to five cups of fruits and vegetables daily. Fruits and vegetables have varying amount of fiber content so it is best to check which ones contain more than the others. Check out which fruits and vegetables your child likes and make it a point to include those in your child’s daily meals. Alternate the servings so that the child will not get tired of eating the same things every day.
- Wash fruits and vegetables that can be eaten raw thoroughly to rid them of pesticide residue. If you can find and afford to buy organic produce, these are safer than the commercially-produced varieties. However, make sure that you wash all of them thoroughly before serving them. Make your child eat them without peeling them as most of the fibers are in the skin of most fruits and other vegetables.
- Do not overcook the vegetables as much as possible so as not to break down the fibers. Encourage your kids to eat crunchy vegetables that you have steamed or cooked in the microwave briefly. Serving them with some salad dressing or other dips will make them enjoy their vegetables better. Teach them how to enjoy a bowl of salad greens by asking them to help prepare the vegetables. Add some berries and nuts to make the salad more interesting and crunchy.
- Serve them whole grain oats or cereals for breakfast. You can alternate this with a serving of whole wheat bread, which contains more fiber and is healthier than white bread. Whole grains have more Vitamin B and E that are needed for growth and building immunity. Be sure to read the labels to ascertain that the cereals and bread you are buying are really made from whole wheat. Choose those with less sugar content also.
- Try to use whole grain pasta instead of the standard pastas that are sold in the supermarkets. Whole grain pasta has a more chewy texture and stronger taste than regular pasta. If the children refuse to eat these types of pasta, look for those are made with whole grain and refined grain or you can add more cheese, meat and vegetables in the sauce to drown the taste of the whole grain pasta. When your child insists on having the regular pasta, include peas, carrots, beans and zucchini together with the meat for a healthier pasta sauce.
Do not just confine the serving of fiber-rich foods during regular meals. You can also serve snacks rich in fiber. Dried fruits, popcorn, celery and carrot sticks are very good snack items that have more fiber content. Bake oatmeal and raisin cookies as alternatives to other tummy-filling snacks.