You know the drill on fiber benefits for adults: regularity, eliminating toxins, blood sugar control, keeping you full and keeping hunger at bay and lowering cholesterol naturally. But what about children? The benefits are the same, yet have you ever tried to convince your kid to eat prunes or lima beans?
Our children should be eating 25 grams of fiber a day (and that's on the low side). Right now, however, the average child in the U.S. is getting a mere 5 - 14 grams! That's simply not enough to ensure that things are moving in the right direction, so to speak.
It's time to get sneaky (while appearing innocent), and find creative ways to get at least 5 grams of fiber into each food serving for your children per day. Celebrity nutritionist, fitness expert and mom JJ Virgin has sly ideas that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy:
- Shred carrots and zucchini into pasta sauce, muffins and cookies.
- Mix your child's favorite cereal with a fiber-rich one or sprinkle it with a tablespoon of bran, and top it with apples, berries and almonds.
- Add unflavored fiber powder to sauces
- Serve snacks like celery sticks or apples topped with nut butter, whole wheat crackers with cheese, or yogurt sprinkled with whole grain cereal, berries, and almonds.
- Add bran to meatloaf or burgers. (Not too much bran, or the food will taste like sawdust and your family might catch on!)
- Bake cookies or muffins mixing ½ whole-wheat and ½ white flour, and add bran, raisins, berries, or chopped apples to the mix.
- Create mini pizzas by topping whole wheat English muffins with pizza sauce, cheese, mushrooms and strips of grilled chicken.
- Add lentils or whole grain barley to soups.
- Top organic hot dogs with sauerkraut and serve them on whole wheat hot dog buns.
Be sure to check the nutrition label for fiber amounts, and encourage your kids to eat their fruits, like apples, with the skin on. And start SLOW and increase total grams of fiber over time so that their little bodies have time to adjust!