It’s never too early to get your kids to eat more fiber. In fact, incorporating tasty, fiber-rich foods into their diet early in their development will provide them with good eating habits that will last a lifetime. Dietitians and nutritionist recommend an average of 30 grams of fiber a day for optimum benefit, so here are some easy ideas that are as close as your kitchen pantry.
Cereal ” Not all cereal is created equal, so look for products that contain “bran”or “whole wheat”in the ingredients. The cereal you select should have at least five grams of fiber and less than 10 grams of sugar. Check the natural or organic section of the grocery store for cereals that fit into this category, or buy your products at stores such as Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, which have large selections of high fiber, low sugar cereals. Serve with fruit to sneak in even more taste and fiber benefit.
Bread ” Choose whole wheat or whole grain bread, tortillas or pitas that have at least four or five grams of fiber per serving. There are so many healthy choices available now, so there’s no reason to put your kids’ peanut butter sandwiches on plain white bread anymore.
Pasta ” Whole wheat pasta has come a long way in taste and texture, and many of the products have up to five grams of fiber per serving. If your kids balk at the taste, then introduce the whole wheat product gradually, by mixing it half and half with regular refined pasta. Gradually adjust the proportions until you’re serving 100 percent whole wheat product.
Beans and Legumes ” These nutritional powerhouses can pack up to six or seven grams of fiber into one serving. Use beans and legumes liberally in soups, stews, tacos and in making dips and spreads. Let the kids help by allowing them to mix in chopped tomatoes, cucumbers or shredded cheese.
Fruits and Vegetables ” at least five half-cup servings a day are recommended. Because kids don’t usually like the skins of fruit (where most of the fiber and nutrients reside), try slicing apples, pears and other fruit very thinly, so the skin isn’t so obvious, and load up on fiber-rich berries, plums, grapes and nectarines.
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