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14 High Fibre Foods for Kids and How to Make Them Appealing!
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How to get kids to eat more fibre rich foods

fibre-rich snack ideas for kids

One of my earliest memories related to fibre is eating prunes. My parents would have packages of them in the fridge, and to me, they were this delightfully chewy, cold and sweet snack I could go grab all by myself. Little did I know that I would soon be faced with the hard truth that this tasty dried fruit could cause a ton of stomach pain if I ate too many. Needless to say, my “prune era” ended there, and I was never interested in eating them after that experience. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned that my parents were using prunes as a tool to up my fibre intake because I wasn’t the most adventurous of eaters. 

So what’s all the hype about fibre? And does it help with anything else besides digestion?  Read on to learn more about types of fibre, ways to make it tasty for your kids, and all the benefits of including more high-fibre foods into your routine. 

What is Fibre?

Dietary fibre is the part of plant foods that doesn’t get fully digested or absorbed. There are two types of fibre, Soluble and Insoluble 

Soluble fibre: Dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance. This can help with lowering cholesterol, managing blood sugar, and bulking up stools (helpful for those with digestive concerns such as IBS).  

Food sources include avocado, figs, apples, sweet potato, oranges, beans, chickpeas, tofu and ground psyllium husks. 

Insoluble fibre: Does not dissolve in water, helps promote regularity, and can help to lower the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.  

Food sources include vegetables, fruit, nuts, and whole grain foods including whole grain cereals and breads. 

Benefits of Fibre: 

Digestion

Most of the time my clients relate fibre with digestion, which is certainly one of the benefits of having a regular intake of fibre-rich foods. As mentioned above, having a variety of food sources of fibre can help promote regular bowel movements, help to form solid stools and reduce gas and bloating.  

Heart Health

A regular intake of fibre can support lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. For more info see here: Why is Fibre Good for Your Heart  

Managing blood sugar

Including fibre-rich foods with meals and snacks can help to leave you feeling fueled for longer, as they don’t cause a spike in blood glucose levels as quickly as other more refined carbohydrates would. They can also give you the feeling of fullness for longer as well. 

Increasing beneficial gut bacteria

The bacteria in our guts feed off of fibre-rich foods, therefore the more fibre we eat, the more we offer to the bacteria to flourish. Having a robust colony can help support digestion, immunity, mood and more! 

How much fibre should we aim for? 

Depending on age and gender, our daily suggested intakes differ. When reading the nutrition label on foods, anything with 6 grams of fibre per serving is considered a “very good source” of fibre.   

The following chart may be helpful to determine how much you wish to aim for: 

Age group  Recommended amount per day 
Children 1-3 years old  19 grams 
Children 4-8 years old  25 grams 
Boys 9-13 years old  31 grams 
Boys 14-18 years old  38 grams 
Girls 9-13 years old  26 grams 
Girls 14-18 years old  26 grams 
Men 19-50 years old  38 grams 
Men 51 and over  30 grams 
Women 19-50 years old  25 grams 
Women 51 and over  21 grams 
Pregnant women  28 grams 
Breastfeeding women  29 grams 

Source: Unlock Food 

That sounds great, but how do I get my kids to eat more fibre?

The first tip I suggest to parents is to start with those foods your children love. If they’re into crunchy stuff, perhaps make them a picky plate of fibre-rich crackers, popcorn, nuts, seeds, and/or veggies.  If they have a sweet tooth, you could try prunes (!), making a fruit parfait with hemp heart “sprinkles”.  For those kiddos that eat all things beige- you could switch up their white pasta for a white variety with added fibre, leave the skin on the potatoes, or add psyllium to yogurt.   

 

Here are more ideas of high fibre foods for kids and how to make it enticing to them:

Fibre-Rich Foods for Kids

Whole grain flours: From bread and buns to wraps, pitas, and pasta, there are a ton of whole grain options to choose from. To ensure you’re buying a true whole grain product, look for the words “whole grain (oat, wheat, buckwheat etc..) flour” as the first ingredient on the ingredient list.  If your child does not want to try anything whole grain, you can also find white varieties that add fibre such as inulin or oat hull fibre to the product. When baking at home, try replacing half of the flour with whole grain flour, or select recipes that only use whole grain flour. 

Try this tasty whole-wheat banana muffin recipe.

High fibre cereal: Start with your child’s favourite kind, and mix in others such as spoon-sized Shredded Wheat, Kashi cereal, Bran Buds, or Corn Bran Squares. 

Pears: Add them to fruit salad, drizzle with honey and cinnamon, or bake into a crisp. 

Avocado: If your child isn’t into guacamole or avocado toast, try chocolate avocado pudding.

Oats:  Try oatmeal (sweet or savoury), overnight oats, or use them in baking such as these nutrient-packed cookies!

Crackers: Check the ingredients list for whole grains, and the nutrition facts panel for fibre. Kid-friendly options include Mary’s Organic Crackers, Triscuits, blue corn tortilla chips with flax seeds, and Finn Crisp Snacks. Top crackers with cheese, nut butter or tasty dips to increase their enjoyment. 

Roasted soybeans: These can usually be found in the bulk food aisle or near the nuts and seeds. Eat on their own, or add to snack plates or trail mixes. 

Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas: If your family doesn’t eat these regularly, you may wish to start by adding beans and lentils to ground meat dishes such as spaghetti or tacos. Here is more info and ideas on these legumes. You can also puree them into soups, roast them for a crunchy snack, or bake them into brownies.

Edamame: Some kids may love biting these out of the pod, and others may like them added to pasta salad or pureed into a dip. Here’s an edamame guacamole recipe.

Peas: Great in soups, stews, pasta salad and casseroles. 

Potato with skin: Wedges, potato salad, baked potatoes, smashed or mashed potatoes… the options are endless! Sweet potatoes are also delicious with the skin left on. 

Berries: Mix into cereal, add to pancakes and muffin recipes, or dunk into yogurt. 

Nuts and Seeds: If your child doesn’t enjoy them on their own, try mixing them into baked goods, trail mix or energy balls.

Chia seeds: Sprinkle on top of salads, cereal, yogurt or pasta or make chia pudding.

So there you have it! Hopefully, the above ideas provided you with some fibre-rich meal and snack options for your kids to try. And if you’re feeling stuck and looking for more support on family feeding and meal planning, our team of Registered Dietitians is here to help. 

Looking for more nutrition support to ensure you and your kiddos are getting the right nutrients for growth and nourishment?

Since 2000, our team has supported individuals and families with nutrition education and practical meal-planning ideas. We can work with you to simplify an eating plan that helps you take charge of your and your family’s eating and feel your best.

As university-trained Registered Dietitians in Calgary and virtually online, you can count on us for credible advice and practical meal planning so you don’t have to stress about food anymore.

Learn more about nutrition counselling or simply contact us below to let us know what you’re struggling with and how we can help:

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