How much fiber do kids need?
There are no dietary recommendations for fiber intake for infants 0-12 months of age. From 1 year onwards the recommended fiber intake for children is 14 grams per 1000 calories.
What is then the calorie need for different ages? This is very individual, and calorie need should be counted based on weight, height and activity level. Use this calculator to estimate your childs calorie need. Average calorie needs are:
- 12 m-24 m 800-1000
- 2-3 years 1000-1400
- 4-8 years 1200-1800
- 9-13 years 1400-2400
- 14-18 years 1800-3200
For example, a 1-year-old toddler is on average 9 kg(20lb) and 74 cm(29"), her calorie requirement is around 700-800 calories, and fiber need is around 10 grams a day. For small children, it is good to give a variety of whole foods, and you don´t need to worry so much about fiber.
Example 2: 2 year old, 12 kg(26lb), 85cm(34") needs around 1000 calories per day and 14 grams of fiber.
Example 3: 4 year old, 15 kg(34lb), 100cm, (39,5"). Calorie need for an active child is 1500 cal. Recommended fiber intake 21 grams.
Example 4: 10-year-old active boy. 32 kg(70,5lb), 140cm(56") has a calorie need of 2150. Recommended fiber intake 31 grams.
Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, calories needed pdf, Average height to weight chart.
High fiber food list for kids
|Oatmeal ⅓ cup (30 g) dry weight||3,2|
|½ cup (80g) cooked wholegrain pasta||1,4|
|½ cup normal cooked pasta||1|
|½ cup long-grain cooked rice||0,5|
|½ cup cooked whole-wheat noodles||2|
|Whole-grain rye bread, 1 slice||2,8|
|Whole grain toast, 1 slice||2,1|
|Raspberries 100 g||3,7|
|1 medium cooked peeled potato||0,6|
|¼ sweet potato, 150g||4,5|
|1 medium carrot||1,7|
|½ bell pepper||1,6|
|⅓ cup cooked red lentils||1,2|
|¼ cup hummus||2,1|
|1 tablespoon almonds, 10 g||1,2|
|1 tablespoon pecan nuts, 10g||1|
More tips on foods: Read the post about; What foods are highest in fiber.
Sample day menus to get 14 grams of fiber
Here are some ideas on how your kid can eat 14 grams of fiber a day, just from breakfast, lunch, and 1 snack.
- Breakfast: ⅓ cup oatmeal with 2 tablespoon apple puree.
- Lunch: Wholegrain pasta ½ cup cooked with sauce, small portions of tomato and bell pepper, 2 tablespoon peas.
- Snack: 1 medium pear
- Breakfast: Cheerios, 30g. 1 small apple
- Lunch: 100g cooked quinoa with condiments, 1 small carrot, 70g cooked broccoli
- Snack: 30 g almonds, 3 dried prunes
- Breakfast: 2 banana oatmeal pancakes, 50 g raspberries
- Lunch: Spinach soup, 1 whole grain bread slice with ¼ avocado
- Snack: 1 orange
How to increase your child's overall fiber intake?
- Serve more fruits and vegetables. 2-3 cups of vegetables would be good to get into the diet every day!
- Prepare vegetables the way your child likes them. Some are sensitive to mushy things; others love it and don't like the crunch. There are many ways to prepare vegetables, experiment with each what is best.
- Make smoothies; a great way to sneak veggies, fruit, and berries into kids' diet. Make the smoothie sweet with banana, pears, apples, or dates.
- Add chia seeds and flax seeds. These provide fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and magnesium. ½ tablespoon flax seeds give 800 mg of omega-3 fatty acid, ALA. Children need 100-250mg a day, depending on age.
- Choose whole grains. Whole grains have much more fiber than regular options. But not only that, whole grains are richer in vitamins and minerals also.
- Serve beans. Beans might be the thing most don't like, but there are several ways to prepare them. You can also add beans to foods as pureed; for example, they add a creamy texture in puree soups. Hummus can be a nice dip. Falafel is also made from beans. Roasted beans can be a nice crunchy snack.
- Make high-fiber snacks. Many fruits are high fiber-like pear and orange. You can also make different granola and snack ars from oats, nuts, and dates. "Candy" balls from dates and cocoa that are rolled in some colorful sprinkle.
Why fiber is important?
Fiber has many health benefits. Here are some:
- Helps maintain a healthy weight.
- Lowers cholesterol, even kids can start to have lesions in veins if they eat unhealthy
- Protects against type 2 diabetes
- Protects against certain cancers
- Relieves constipation
- Helps with diarrhea, choose the right type
It is important to drink enough fluids when eating much fiber. Often rich fiber foods, like fruits and vegetables, already have fluid in them. If taking any fiber supplement, drinking plenty of water is important. Otherwise your child can get constipated or get other tummy problems.
High fiber recipes your kids will love
Below I tried to find nutritious and healthy recipes for kids. According to dietary guidelines for Americans, children should eat at the age:
- 12-24 months: around 1000 calories. 1 cup vegetables a day, 1 cup fruits, 3 ounces grains, 2 cups dairy or plant milk, 2 ounces of protein food, and 13 grams of fats. Sodium should be limited to 1200 mg: no added sugars.
- 2-3 years: Average 1200 calories. 1,5 cups vegetables, 1 cup fruits, 4 ounces grains, 2,5 cups milk or plant milk, 3 ounces protein food, 17 grams fat.
- 4-5 years: average 1400 calories, 1,5 cups vegetables, 1,5 cups fruits, 5 ounces grains, 2,5 cups milk, 4 ounces protein, 17 grams fat.
- 6-8 years: average 1600 calories. 2 cups vegetables, 1,5 cups fruits, 5 ounces grains, 2,5 cups milk, 5 ounces protein, 22 grams fat.
- 9-13 years average 1800 calories. 2,5 cups vegetables, 1,5 cups fruits, 6 ounces grains, 3 cups milk, 5 ounces protein, 24 grams fat.
- 14-18 years average 2000 calories. 2,5 cups vegetables, 2 cups fruits, 6 ounces grains, 3 cups milk, 5,5 ounces protein, 27 grams fat.
Children should eat unprocessed foods with low sodium content and no added sugars. Refined starches are best to be avoided. Saturated fat and transfats should be avoided. Fish and seafood should be given to small children maximum of 2 ounces a week because of methylmercury.
Sources: Dietary guidelines, Advice about eating fish. Dietary recommendations of fat.
High fiber breakfast
- Energy bites
- Carrot oat bars
- Carrot sticks
- Dried fruit especially plums and figs
- Air-popped popcorn
- Fruit salad
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Smoothie, mix in some chia seeds.
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