Boost Your Child’s Health with These 10 Fiber-Rich Foods: Plus Tips and Ideas to Get Your Children to Eat More Fiber

Last updated on April 11th, 2023 at 01:58 pm

Fiber is an essential nutrient for the growth and development of toddlers and children. It is found in many plant-based foods and has numerous benefits for their health. I’m going to share with you not only the benefits a fiber rich diet can have for children’s health but also ten fiber rich foods you can easily start incorporating in your family’s daily meals!

What Is Fiber?

Fiber is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in maintaining good health. There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, which helps to slow down digestion and regulate blood sugar levels.

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water and adds bulk to stool, which can help to prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements.

Both types of fiber are important for maintaining a healthy digestive system and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. However, most of us don’t get enough fiber in our diets, and this is especially true for toddlers and children.

Six benefits of fiber-rich foods for toddlers and children:

Promotes healthy digestion: Fiber plays a vital role in promoting healthy digestion. It adds bulk to stool and regulates bowel movements which prevents constipation. This, in turn, reduces the risk of gastrointestinal issues in children.

Regulates blood sugar levels: Fiber can help prevent spikes in bloodsugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This is especially important for children with diabetes or those at risk of developing it.

Promotes a healthy weight: Fiber-rich foods are filling and can help children feel full for longer periods. This can prevent overeating and promote a healthy weight, which is essential for their overall health and wellbeing.

Boosts heart health: High fiber intake has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease in both children and adults. It can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and regulate blood pressure, all of which contribute to a healthy heart.

Improves brain function: Fiber is essential for brain health and can help improve cognitive function in children. It has been shown to enhance memory and concentration, which can help them perform better in school and other activities.

Supports a healthy immune system: Fiber-rich foods contain prebiotics, which are essential for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. This, in turn, helps support a strong immune system, reducing the risk of infections and illnesses.

Fiber-rich foods offer numerous benefits for the health and wellbeing of toddlers and children. By incorporating these foods into their diet, you can help support your child’s digestive health, regulate their blood sugar levels, promote a healthy weight, boost their heart health and brain function, and support their immune system.

Ten Fiber-Rich Foods

I know it’s not always easy to get toddlers and children to eat a wide variety of food options though! So here are ten fiber rich foods children will love and some easy ways to get your kiddos to eat them.

Sweet potatoes – Roast or mash them as a side dish, or bake them into muffins or pancakes. Any version of a sweet potato is a favorite in our house!

Oatmeal – Serve as a warm breakfast cereal with fruit and nuts, or use in homemade granola bars. Oats are a go-to breakfast staple for us.

Berries – Serve fresh mixed in full fat yogurt or cottage cheese or frozen blended into smoothies.

Whole grain bread – Use for sandwiches or toast, or make into French toast. Make sure to read the label though and opt for whole grain over whole wheat so you’re getting the full benefits!

Broccoli – Steam or roast and serve as a side dish, or add to soups or casseroles. Keep some frozen bags for when you’re in a pinch!

Lentils & Beans – Cook and add to soups, stews, or salads, or make into veggie burgers or lentil sloppy joes.

Roasted Chickpeas – Serve roasted chickpeas as a snack or use them as a crunchy topping for salads, soups, or grain bowls

Avocado – Mash and use as a spread on sandwiches or toast, or add to smoothies or dips.

Chia seeds – Mix into yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies, or use in homemade energy bars or pudding.

Edamame – Serve as a snack or side dish, or add to salads or stir-fries.

When introducing these foods to toddlers and children, do it gradually and in small amounts alongside some of their favorites. Don’t be discouraged if your little one doesn’t try the food the first few times. Just keep offering and don’t make it a big deal, they’ll try it eventually.

Offer a variety of foods at each meal, and encourage children to try new foods by making them fun and exciting but without hyper focusing on how much or how little they’re eating. Don’t put your little one in the spot light while they’re eating. So how can you make trying these new fiber-rich foods exciting? Cut fruits and vegetables into fun shapes or make a colorful salad. You can also sneak fiber-rich foods into meals by adding them to recipes such as muffins, pancakes, or smoothies. With some creativity and experimentation, you can help your child enjoy a healthy and fiber-rich diet.

While these high-fiber foods are generally healthy and nutritious for toddlers and children, it’s important to keep in mind that not all of them may be age-appropriate or safe for young children. For example, some toddlers may have difficulty chewing or swallowing certain foods, such as roasted chickpeas and blueberries, which can pose a choking hazard. It’s important to always supervise young children while they are eating, and to cut or cook foods into small, manageable pieces. Additionally, if your child has any food allergies or sensitivities, be sure to consult with their pediatrician before introducing new foods into their diet. With some caution and common sense, you can help your child enjoy a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber-rich foods.

Sources:

  1. Anderson, J. W., Baird, P., Davis, R. H., Jr, Ferreri, S., Knudtson, M., Koraym, A., Waters, V., & Williams, C. L. (2009). Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition reviews, 67(4), 188–205. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x
  2. Buttriss, J. L., & Stokes, C. S. (2008). Dietary Fibre and Health: An overview. Nutrition Bulletin, 33(3), 186–200. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2008.00705.x
  3. Khan, N. A., Raine, L. B., Drollette, E. S., Scudder, M. R., Kramer, A. F., & Hillman, C. H. (2015). Dietary fiber is positively associated with cognitive control among prepubertal children. The Journal of nutrition, 145(1), 143–149. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.114.198457
  4. Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients, 5(4), 1417-1435. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5041417
  5. Taylor, R. W., McAuley, K. A., Barbezat, W., Strong, A., Williams, S. M., & Mann, J. I. (2007). Apple Project: 2-y findings of a community-based obesity prevention program in Primary School–Age Children. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86(3), 735–742. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/86.3.735
  6. Whole grains, refined grains, and dietary fiber. www.heart.org. (2023, April 6). Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/whole-grains-refined-grains-and-dietary-fiber

Order supplements through my Fullscript store.

Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.

Disclosure: If you make a purchase through one of my links, I may earn an affiliate commission. It’s at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting this blog.

Welcome! It is so great to have you here. As a Certified Health Coach and Nutrition Consultant, my mission is to support you in achieving a healthy pregnancy. Whether you are ready to prepare your body for pregnancy, aiming for a smooth and healthy nine months, or seeking support in your postpartum recovery. I also help parents and their young children embrace nutritious eating and a healthy lifestyle. I provide practical advice and support to help you meet your goals: from getting your body ready for pregnancy, to enjoying a healthy pregnancy journey, and nurturing your children’s well-being. As a mom myself, I’ve gone through it and I understand your aspirations and the hurdles you might face. Let’s partner together to create a healthy journey into parenthood.