My daughter has had digestive issues since she started eating solid food as a baby. She is now 8 years old and we finally have found a doctor who is going to help us get it rectified. Obviously part of the process includes making sure she is getting adequate fiber in her diet.
So, being that I am a huge tracker of all things that I consume, this began a new challenge for me. I needed to find fiber rich foods that the whole family will eat and especially my daughter, who needs to consume 25 grams of fiber a day. I thought to myself, this is going to be a challenge.
Surprisingly enough, it didn’t turn out to be all that difficult. I did some research and found some great alternatives for snacks and meals that the whole family could benefit from. After all, who doesn’t need more fiber in their diet? Granted, there is A LOT of food out there completely lacking in fiber. I decided I would compare labels and try to find the foods with the most fiber in it. This took a whole lot longer in the grocery store than I would have liked, however I did learn quite a bit in this process so I would like to share my findings.
Fruits. Apparently a cup of raspberries has 8g of fiber in it. I never knew that prior to this research. Raspberries are easy enough for a child to eat and you can always throw them in something else (like yogurt or oatmeal). Also, pears, apples, and bananas each have 4-5 grams of fiber in them (keep the skin on the apples and pears though). These fruits all seemed to be good choices for my household. Nothing too unappealing here.
Oatmeal Both of my kids actually don’t mind eating flavored oatmeal although I know they would rather eat regular cold breakfast cereal. I know that some kids (and adults) probably don’t like oatmeal. If you add some fun mixtures like berries, bananas, or raisins, maybe they would be more likely to give it a try. This is a great source of fiber especially if you are adding fibrous foods to it. Needless to say, this was an easy sell for my household.
Bran cereal I decided to go with Raisin Bran. Every member of my household will eat it and they don’t really look at it like it is a “health food”. It is high in fiber although I know it isn’t as fun as Fruity Pebbles. There are also plenty of other cereals with good fiber content however I just picked what I figured would get eaten in my household.
Whole grains Everything seems to be available in whole grain these days so this wasn’t too difficult. When checking the bread labels, I noticed that regular white bread had less than a gram of fiber versus whole grain which had a few grams per slice. They make soft varieties and my kids don’t seem to be really picky about the kind of bread their sandwiches are made on. Same with whole grain pasta. My kids have no idea their pasta dinners are now being made with whole grain spaghetti.
Rice My kids both hate rice for reasons I cannot figure out. However just for giggles I checked the white rice and the brown to see if there was a fiber difference. Turns out the brown rice actually has about 4g per serving and white rice has 0g. I like to add rice to my meals at times and I really don’t have a preference as to which rice I eat so from now on I will choose brown for the extra fiber.
Dried fruit Raisins are popular with kids and are an excellent source of fiber. I also found dried prunes which my daughter did eat although she was making terrible faces while chewing it. I’m not sure she really enjoyed it. I tried one and I thought it tasted like the inside of a fig newton. Not particularly delicious, but not bad. I also found that Craisins (dried cranberries) have a decent amount of fiber in them. I plan to put these on my daughters oatmeal or in her yogurt for added fiber.
Popcorn My daughter is obsessed with popcorn so this one was perfect. There is about 4 grams in each serving . You need to pick the air popped variety and something not doused in butter and salt for it to be healthy, though. She isn’t very picky about the taste of popcorn because she loves it so much so I usually pick the healthiest kind I can find on the shelf.
Activia yogurt This has about 3g in a small cup. Yogurt has probiotics in it too so its super good for gut health. I never have a hard time getting anyone in the house to eat yogurt, it tends to be a crowd pleaser. So this one was easy.
Veggies My family are all pretty good vegetable eaters. Sweet potatoes are loaded in fiber which was surprising to me, I didn’t know that. If I doctor them up with brown sugar I can usually get my kids to eat them. Broccoli, green beans, and asparagus are all good fiber choices and my family already eats them on a regular basis so I didn’t have to change much in this category.
Beans My kids like baked beans but other than that the only time I can really get them to eat beans are in chili. They are super high in fiber though so if in any way you can fit these in to you or your families’ diet, it is a good choice.
Fiber one bars (or other fiber bars) These pack about 5 grams of fiber in them which isn’t bad for a snacking option. I stick a fiber one brownie in my daughter’s lunch pail so she feels like she is getting a treat. I wouldn’t depend solely on these because it is much better to eat whole foods whenever possible, especially to teach kids the habit too.
Benefiber Her doctor recommended this to add to any food or drink my daughter drinks as an additive for fiber. Some kids are so finicky with their food choices this could be necessary. I use it here and there, but I am really trying to have her eat as much fiber as possible.
I think in the near future I will try baking my own fiber muffins and see how they turn out. If I find a recipe that the family really likes I will be sure to share it! If you know of any fibrous foods that didn’t make my list please let me know! I am always open to trying new foods for the household.