Weave Fiber into Kids' Diets
Are your kids getting enough fiber? Most American children don’t. Here’s what you can do about it in your own family.
Fiber helps move waste more efficiently through kids' digestive systems, easing or preventing constipation. It also offers many long-term benefits and may decrease risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
How much fiber does your child need?
The total number of fiber grams your child should consume each day varies by the amount of calories he or she should consume. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 14 grams of dietary fiber for children 1 to 3 years old. A child age 4 to 8 years requires between 17 and 20 grams of fiber a day. The recommended fiber intake for a girl teen 14 to18 years old would be 25 grams; a boy teen 14 to 18 needs about 31 grams of fiber a day. A child’s recommended calorie intake varies based on age, gender, and level of physical activity.
Your child doesn't need a lot more fiber to make a difference. In fact, it's better not to add a lot of high-fiber foods at once. Too much can cause bloating and gas. And as you add fiber, make sure your children drink plenty of water.