Fiber Up!

High fiber diets

Most children today are not getting enough fiber in their diets. High fiber diets may reduce the risk of certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease and digestive disorders. In addition, fiber helps regulate the bowels and can help lower cholesterol. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are all good fiber sources. High fiber diets tend to be lower in fat and have also been found to curb overeating.

To calculate your child’s fiber needs:

add your child’s age + 5 = fiber requirement

(e.g. for an 8-year-old, daily fiber intake should be 8 + 5 = 13 grams of fiber a day).

Adults and teens should consume at least 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day.

Here are some tips for finding higher fiber foods:

  • In breads and cereals, look for whole grain and whole wheat listed as the first ingredient.
  • Find cereals with whole grains and at least 4-5 grams of fiber per serving. Some brands include: Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, Wheaties, Toasty-O’s, Grape Nuts, Raisin Bran, wheatena, oatmeal and oat bran. Mix healthier cereals with your child’s less healthy cereals to get some benefits of added fiber.
  • Eat brown rice instead of white.
  • Find whole wheat pasta, amaranth pasta or quinoa pasta (the last two are available at health food stores).
  • Add fiber to meals by adding kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans. Add them to salads; soups; main dishes like burritos or tacos or chili; mash and mix in with meatloaf and burgers.
  • Add wheat bran or Fiproflax (available at most health food stores) to casseroles, meat loaf, baked goods, pancakes, and cereal.
  • Add All-Bran cereal to muffin recipes.
  • Drink plenty of fluids when you are eating fiber. This will help offset the gas, cramping and bloating that may occur.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables with the peels on have more fiber than cooked or canned.
  • Dried fruits are good fiber sources, especially figs, apricots and dates.
  • Discover other whole grains and find ways to cook them. Whole grains are getting easier to find these days. Look for them at your health foods stores. May stores have bins of raw grains where you can buy a small quantity. Some grains to try: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, kamut, millet, oats and quinoa.
High fiber diets
Food SourceServing SizeGrams of Dietary Fiber
Peas1/2 cup9
Beans, baked1/2 cup7
Chili with beans1 cup7
Almonds2 oz.7
Broccoli, cooked3/4 cup7
Peanuts, dry roast2 oz.7
Peanut butter2 TBS2
Whole wheat bread2 slices4
Corn1/2 cup3
Popcorn, popped2 cups2
Potato, baked, no skin1 medium2
Carrot, raw1 medium3
Strawberries1/2 cup2
Pear1 medium4
Banana1 large3
Blueberries1/2 cup1.5
Apple1 medium3
Apricots5 dried halves1.5
Kiwi1 large3
Applesauce1/2 cup1