Is Fiber Good For Children

Did you know that one in three children in the country is overweight? The tendency to become obese leads to multitude problems when these children grow up. The number of overweight children has increased three times since 1970!  


When children say, “I am hungry!” between meal times, what do you give them? This is the best time to feed them fiber. Feeding them appetizing fiber rich foods is an excellent way of maintaining their weight and keeping them healthy. 


You can give them a fruit of their choice or whole grain cereal. The word “fiber” may seem uninteresting and unappetizing; but the nutrient can be served to kids in a delicious manner. It is very good for children, provides a wide range of health benefits, without adding too many calories to their diet. 


What is Fiber?


Fiber is a unique type of complex carbohydrate that goes through the digestive system almost without changing its form or breaking up into its nutrient parts. Soluble fiber (example - fruits, vegetables, barley and so on) is soluble in water and helps in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. Insoluble fiber (example – wheat bran and certain vegetables) that comes from cell wall of plants is insoluble in water and works as a laxative. Most fiber rich foods have both types of fiber in them.


The Food and Drug Administration advises that fiber rich foods should contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. 


Why Fiber is Good for Children


1. After eating fiber, children feel “full”; intermittent hunger is appeased because of the bulky nature of fiber foods


2. The extra chewing that is always there with fiber rich food also makes children feel full


3. Fiber is very low on calories and this helps prevent obesity in children


4. Fiber decreases the speed of absorption of sugar and other nutrients. This prevents sporadic and sudden increase of blood sugar


How to Interpret Fiber Content Labels on Food Products


When you read “More or added fiber” it means that the particular food item has 2.5 grams more of fiber than a traditional food item. When the label says the food is a “high Fiber” product, it means that it contains five or more grams per serving. When the label reads “Good source” it means that it contains about 2.5 to 5 grams of fiber per serving.


Serving a Fiber Rich Diet for Children


1. Add real fruits and low fat milk to cereals, making them the top favorite meal of the day


2. Persuade children to eat 2-3 fruits a day rather than reaching out for that fruit drink


3. Prepare vegetable sandwiches using tomatoes and sprouts


4. Prepare pasta using onions, peppers, and mushrooms



5. Give them wholegrain crackers with cheese toppings rather than cookies


6. Prepare soups regularly with vegetables like peas, carrots and capsicums


7. Add fiber supplements to meals prepared at home, to make them truly healthy


8. Place a bowl of colorful mixed vegetables, creatively sliced, on the table for healthy “snacking”

The American heart Association advises children to eat their age + 5 grams of fiber per day. A 3-year child would need 3+5 = 8 grams of fiber per day. 
Blurb: Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that hardly changes its composition in the digestive system. Including fiber in the daily diet provides a lot of health benefits for children. One in three children in the US is in danger of becoming obese. Fiber is an excellent way to appease hunger without adding on the calories.

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