Fiber does more than promote healthy digestion! Learn how much fiber kids need, the surprising ways it benefits kids’ bodies, and which foods we reach for when we want to add more fiber to their diets.
OK, truth. Fiber may not be the most scintillating part of a well-balanced diet.
In a world of rainbow-colored antioxidants and rare superfoods, fiber can feel a little… beige and boring. It’s the stuff of supplement commercials aimed at your grandma, and cereals that taste like cardboard.
In the back of your mind, you know that fiber matters. But it just doesn’t seem like Priority #1 when you’re deciding what to feed your kids. And that’s OK.
The good news is, a well-balanced diet naturally contains fiber in the amounts that help our kids’ bodies feel and function at their best.
The even BETTER news is, you can boost your kids’ fiber intake easily with a few choice kid-friendly whole foods that are ultra-high in fiber, and yummy to eat.
Read on to learn how much fiber your kids need each day, what fiber actually does for them, and which 5 foods are our five fiber faves for kids.
How Much Fiber Do My Kids Need Each Day?
Here’s a handy way to count how many grams of fiber you should aim to serve your kids each day. Start with their age in years, then add five.
That means the average five-year-old should get 10 grams of fiber. The average six-year-old should get 11 grams. The average eight-year-old should have 13 grams. And so on. Makes sense?
By the time your kids are grown, they’ll need the same amount of daily fiber that you do: 20-30 grams.
Why Fiber for Kids Matters
- Fiber can improve digestion. If your kids struggle with constipation, turn to high-fiber foods (along with plenty of fluids) to speed up bowel transit.
- Fiber is a “prebiotic.” That means it actually provides food to the microbes living in the gut. Eating a fiber-rich diet keeps helpful gut bacteria thriving.
- Fiber helps kids feel satisfied between meals. Fiber is filling, so kids can comfortably wait until the next meal to eat again. They’ll also gain practice recognizing feelings of hunger and satiety.
- Fiber balances blood sugar. Slower digestion after a fiber-rich meal means dramatic blood sugar spikes and crashes tend to even out.
- Fiber can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Particularly colon and rectal cancers.
- A high-fiber diet can increase lifespan. This study found that foods rich in fiber, like whole grains, can add years to your life. Wow!
5 Sources of Fiber for Kids
- Avocados. With 11-14 grams of fiber, a single avocado would meet most kids’ fiber requirements for an entire day! These versatile fruits can jazz up sandwiches, dips, and salads.
Baked Avocado Fries
Fresh Homemade Guacamole
- Whole Wheat. The time is right to make the switch to whole grain breads, pasta, cereal, and baking flour. Whole grain bread typically contains 2-3 grams of fiber per slice, so one sandwich alone can satisfy half or more of your child’s fiber needs.
Whole Wheat Recipes:
Sweet Spinach Muffins
Whole Wheat Turkey Chili Mac and Cheese
- Beans. Legumes like black beans, lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans are a powerhouse of good nutrition. Just one half cup of cooked beans contains 10 grams of fiber! Beans are also budget-friendly, good for the planet, and rich in plant proteins.
DIY Refried Beans
Red Beans and Rice Wrap
- Berries. They’re so juicy and sweet, you may not think of berries as a fiber-rich food. But a cup of raspberries contains a whopping 8 grams of fiber. When fresh berries aren’t in season, frozen berries pack in just as much fiber… add them straight to smoothies and oatmeal.
Lemon Raspberry Chia Pudding
Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
- Sweet Potatoes. Kid-friendly sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber. Depending on the size of a sweet potato, it can contain between 3-7 grams of fiber. Leave the skin on to get the most!
Sweet Potato Recipes:
Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topper
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
Don’t Stop There
Our list is just a starting point! There are lots of other fiber-rich foods out there, and nothing stopping you from trying them all!
Fruits, veggies, whole grains, and nuts all contain fiber in varying amounts. Which ones do your kids like to eat?