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Fiber for kids: High fiber recipes for kids

By Christina Sharkey, clinical dietitian at CHOC

Adequate and proper nutrition is important for a child’s normal growth and development and since January is National Fiber Focus month, this is a great time to make sure that you and your family are getting enough fiber in your diet. Fiber is a beneficial part of our diet because it helps keep us full longer, control blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol and promotes regular bowel movements.

Incorporating fiber in your child’s diet: How much fiber does your child need?

Here’s how much fiber your children should be eating every day:

AgeMaleFemale
1-3 years14 grams14 grams
4-8 years19.6 grams16.8 grams
9-13 years25.2 grams22.4 grams
14-18 years30.8 grams25.2 grams

Source: The Institute of Medicine, based on 14gm/1000 calories/day (for age)

High-fiber foods for kids

As a parent, you may be concerned that your child isn’t getting enough fiber. Offering foods that are naturally high in fiber makes it easy to reach the recommended intakes.

Foods that are naturally high in fiber include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • legumes

High-fiber snacks for kids

Some examples of snacks and other foods that are high in fiber include:

Grains

FoodServingAmount of fiber
Cooked oatmeal1 cup4 grams
Cooked brown rice1 cup3 grams, vs. just 0.7 grams in white rice
Cooked whole wheat pasta1 cup5.5 grams, vs. just 2.5 grams in regular pasta
Air popped popcorn3 cups3.5 grams

Legumes and Nuts

FoodServingAmount of fiber
Cooked kidney beans, lentils or black beans½ cup6.5-7.5 grams
Cooked edamame½ cup4 grams
Almonds1 ounce3 grams

Vegetables

FoodServingAmount of fiber
Cooked broccoli1 cup4 grams
Avocado½ of a piece5 grams
Raw jicama½ cup3 grams

Fruit

FoodServingAmount of fiber
Raw raspberries or blackberries½ cup4 grams
Raw pear1 piece5.5 grams
Raw orange1 piece3.7 grams
Raw banana1 piece3.3 grams
Raw medium apple1 piece4.8 grams

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

How to increase fiber in your child’s diet

If you’re looking for more ways to increase the amount of fiber in your child’s diet, here are some tips:

  • Leave the skins on fruits and vegetables.
  • Use whole wheat flour in place of white flour.
  • Replace white bread and cereals with whole grain options. Look for whole wheat, rye, oats or bran on the ingredient list.
  • Add fruit to whole grain cold or hot cereals.
  • Add fruit, nuts or whole grain granola to yogurt.
  • Add vegetables to scrambled eggs, omelets or pasta.
  • Aim to offer whole grains that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Foods that are labeled as a “good source of fiber” have at least 2.5 grams of fiber per serving. If you’re not sure how to read nutrition labels in the products you buy, check out this guide.
  • Choose whole fruit instead of juice.
  • Include fruit and vegetables with every meal. Aim for 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Put veggies, like lettuce, tomato or avocado, on sandwiches.
  • Add beans to soups and salads.
  • Add bran to baked goods.
  • Offer air-popped popcorn, whole-grain crackers, fruit, or vegetables as healthy snack options.

High-fiber recipes for kids

Besides just adding fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks, consider trying these fun high-fiber snacks and recipe ideas. Many of these can be made in advance for busy days.

Chia Pudding

Yield: 4 servings

Fiber: 6 grams/serving

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of vanilla-flavored unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup of plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus optional 4 teaspoons for serving
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Chia seeds
  • 1-pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, gently whist the almond milk, yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt until just blended. Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes. Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, in a medium bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 4 teaspoons of maple syrup. Mix in the almonds.
  3. Spoon the pudding into four bowls or glasses; mound the berry mixture on top and serve.

Recipe via Food Network

Blueberry Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal

This baked oatmeal recipe includes lots of fiber and can be made in advance for busy mornings!

Yield: 1 pan (6 servings)

Fiber: 6 grams/serving

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 medium apple, grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk of your choice (I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, divided. If using frozen berries thaw them slightly.
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces for topping, optional
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes for topping, optional
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8×8 – inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, coconut, apple, carrot, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the milk, maple syrup, egg and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Arrange 1/2 cup of the blueberries along the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the oat mixture over the top of the blueberries evenly. Pour the milk mixture over the top of the oat mixture as evenly as possible. Tap the baking dish on the counter a couple of times to evenly distribute.
  5. Top the oatmeal with the pecans, remaining blueberries and coconut flakes.
  6. Bake 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Flavor the Moments

Roasted Chickpeas

If you are looking for something crunchy, a great high fiber snack is roasted chickpeas. Adding different flavorings can add some variety, and this is a great way to replace chips.

Yield: 6 servings

Fiber: 6.5 grams/serving

Ingredients:
Chickpeas:
  • Three 15-ounce cans of chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use avocado oil)
Taco Seasoning:
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated onion
  • Kosher salt
Vinegar-Lime Seasoning:
  • 2 teaspoons distilled vinegar
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Kosher salt
Onion-Garlic Seasoning:
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • Kosher salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Put a few layers of paper towels on your work surface. Strain and rinse the chickpeas in a strainer, then shake off as much water as possible. Transfer them to the layer of paper towels, top with more paper towels and pat them gently and roll them around a bit to dry. Discard any papery skins that have peeled off or are about to peel off. Slide the chickpeas onto a large, rimmed baking sheet and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Roast the chickpeas, stirring them occasionally to keep them from burning in spots, until a little shriveled and crispy, about 45 minutes. Start checking them at around 35 minutes to make sure they are not burning.
  4. Meanwhile, make the seasoning mixes. For the Taco Seasoning: Mix the chili powder, coriander, cumin, granulated garlic and onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
  5. For the Vinegar-Lime Seasoning: Mix the vinegar, lime zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
  6. For the Onion-Garlic Seasoning: Mix the granulated garlic and onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
  7. When the chickpeas are done, divide them evenly among three medium bowls. Toss each batch with 1 tablespoon of the oil, then toss 1 batch with each of the seasoning mixes.
  8. Return the chickpeas to the baking sheet, keeping each batch separate. Roast them for three minutes, just to cook the seasonings slightly. Let cool completely on the pan on a rack, about 30 minutes, then transfer to airtight containers. The chickpeas will keep for one day and will soften slightly as they sit.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network

Hearty Navy Bean Soup with Ham

This homemade soup recipe, from my own grandmother, has a hearty amount of fiber. Pairing this with warm whole-wheat bread and roasted carrots is perfect.

Yields: 6 Servings

Fiber: 8 grams/serving

Ingredients:
  • ½ pound navy beans, washed well
  • Ham bone and any small bits of leftover ham
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped and sautéed in 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup shredded raw russet potatoes
  • ¾ cup chopped celery and ¼ cup chopped celery leaves
  • About 2 teaspoons of salt, depending on amount of ham used
  • ¼ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • ½ cup drained tomatoes (fresh or canned) cut into medium size pieces
  • ½ cup fresh green onion tops

*Note: the tomatoes and scallions may be omitted, but they help add some color and vegetables to the soup!

Directions:
  1. Soak the navy beans with 6 cups of warm water. Let stand overnight.
  2. The next day, pour beans and water in which they were soaked into a large pot. Add more water if needed to cover the ham bone.
  3. Combine all ingredients except for tomatoes and green onion tops.
  4. Cook soup in a covered pot over low heat for about 1.5-2 hours or until the beans are very soft.
  5. If using a ham bone, pull out bone and allow to cool briefly before removing any remaining ham bits and cutting into bite size pieces. Add the ham back to the soup and discard the bone.
  6. During last 10 minutes of cooking, add tomatoes and green onions and cook slowly uncovered.
  7. When done, taste, and season further if necessary.
  8. If soup appears thick, add a little water or stock of your choice. If soup appears thin, cook uncovered for a few minutes.

Recipe courtesy of CHOC dietitian Christina Sharkey’s grandmother

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Try a twist on tacos by swapping your typical meat for a plant-based protein that is high in fiber.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Fiber: 7-10 grams/serving

Ingredients:
Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
  • 1-2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (~2 cups cubed)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
Beans:
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1 15-ounce can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Apple cider vinegar or water, as needed
Serve with:
  • 10-12 tortillas
  • ½ cup tomatillo salsa verde
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese (can substitute with parmesan or feta cheese)
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, salt, cumin and chili powder. Spread on a baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, then use a spatula to flip the potatoes over. Roast for another 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes and have puffed up and have crisp, roasted edges.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Fold in the beans and cook. Stir occasionally until the beans are soft and seasoned, about 10-15 minutes. If beans seem dry or bottom of pan starts to sizzle, add a splash of apple cider vinegar or water as needed. Taste and season as needed.
  4. Warm the tortillas.
  5. Serve the tacos. Layer the tacos with sweet potatoes and black beans. Serve with avocado slices, minced cilantro and cheese.

Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes

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