Filling your child's breakfast with fiber will keep them fuller longer. Plus, fiber can aid digestion; just remember that fiber needs fluid to do its work in the digestive system. According to the KidsHealth website, fiber might protect your child from constipation, and reduce the risk of your child developing diabetes and heart disease.
How Much Fiber
A food that has 2 1/2 to 4.9 grams of fiber is considered a "good" fiber source and food with more than 5 grams of fiber would be a "high-fiber" food, according to KidsHealth. The amount of fiber needed in your child's diet varies by age and sex. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends toddlers have 19 grams a day, while your 4- to 8-year-old needs 25 grams. Older boys need a bit more fiber each day than older girls. Your 9- to 13-year-old boy needs 31 grams a day and 38 grams a day from age 13 until adulthood, while girls need 26 grams of fiber each day.
Fiber in a Bowl
Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber. Look for whole grain cereal that is also low in sugar. If your children are not crazy about bran flakes in their bowl in the morning, try mixing a high-fiber cereal with their favorite or add in high-fiber fruits such as bananas and berries. Oatmeal is a whole grain that is a good source of fiber that can be found in kid-friendly flavors and in mom-friendly quick-serve versions. You can supplement the fiber in a bowl of oatmeal by adding dried or fresh fruit, applesauce, and unsalted chopped nuts. If your child loves yogurt, try a fiber-rich parfait. Layer yogurt with granola with your child's favorite yogurt and berries.
Fiber on a Fork
Waffles and pancakes are a favorite breakfast food for many children. It is easy to add fiber by using whole wheat flour when making the waffles or pancakes. Adding berries, apples, bananas or nuts inside or on top of them can add fiber and taste that children will love. Potatoes are a good fiber source and can be added to a healthful breakfast with eggs, including vegetable scrambles and omelets. They can be served as pancakes with applesauce, hash or hashbrowns.
Fiber in your Hand
You have many ways to put fiber in your child's hand. You can make high-fiber muffins that include bran, wheat germ, flaxseed, berries, bananas, apples or a mix of two or more high-fiber ingredients. Also, choosing whole wheat bagels and toast is a way to add extra fiber to your child's breakfast. Make wraps or burritos with whole wheat shells that are filled with scrambled eggs, vegetables, cheese, meats and potatoes. These can be made to order to match your child's favorite foods and sneak in some extra fiber. Breakfast bars are a grab-and-go breakfast food. Made with roasted seeds, nuts, oats and dried fruits, these are a fiber gold mine and can also be made to include your child's favorite flavors. Granola bars and cereal bars can also be a good high-fiber food, but when buying bars, keep track of the fiber, sugar and sodium content. Go with high-fiber, low-sugar and low-sodium bars.
Fiber in a Glass
Smoothies are a delicious way to increase the amount of fiber in your child's breakfast. Made to order and with the strong, sweet flavor of fruit, easy to camouflage some grains and less child-friendly sources of fiber. Orange juice, berries, bananas are all high-fiber ingredients that go well in a smoothie. Remember that although apples, oranges and berries are all good high-fiber foods, the fiber is in the fruit. So giving your child fruit juice for breakfast might increase the fiber level slightly, but nothing is better than eating the fruit fresh. Several fiber-enriched juices are on the market, but read the labels. Choose a juice high in fiber and low in sugar, then pair it with another high-fiber meal choice.
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