With school back in session, it’s important to make sure that you and your children are getting enough fiber. September is also family meals month, so this is the perfect time to focus on adding more fiber to family mealtimes.
The Dietary Reference Intakes recommend that adult males consume at least 38 grams of fiber and adult women should consume at least 25 grams of fiber each day. The recommendations for children range anywhere from 19 grams to 31 grams based on life stage and gender. However, most adults and children do not consume the daily recommended amount of fiber. In fact, only 5 percent of Americans meet the recommendations with the average American only consuming about 17 grams of fiber a day. Consuming an adequate amount of fiber in your diet can help improve digestion, lower cholesterol, reduce constipation and keep you satisfied between meals. This is especially important for children as they grow and develop into young adults. Enough fiber in your child’s diet can help reduce constipation and keep them from getting too hungry in between meals. Throughout childhood and young adulthood, children begin to eat more meals and snacks away from home, which is why it’s important to make sure you’re focusing on offering nutritious foods at home.
Here are some helpful tips for adding more fiber to family mealtimes & snacks:
Plan a better breakfast with overnight oats.
We all know that mornings can be a hectic time to enjoy a family breakfast, which is why it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Overnight oats with cinnamon and apples are full of fiber and perfect for fall. One cup of oatmeal provides 4 grams of fiber and will keep your kids full and focused all day long.
Pull out the slow cooker.
Warm up with slow cooker chili this fall. Bean-based chili is loaded with fiber and only requires a few simple steps to make. One cup of red kidney beans provides 16.4 grams of fiber and are a good source of protein. Children can also be included in preparation by opening cans or washing beans.
Experiment with legumes & whole grain tortillas.
Lentils are legumes that can be served in a variety of different ways. Try serving lentils with quesadillas or tacos with whole grain tortillas. Lentils are loaded with fiber and protein which make them super satisfying. There are 7.8 grams of fiber in one-half cup of lentils. Depending on the size of the tortilla, the amount of fiber can range anywhere from 2-4 grams per serving. Leftover quesadillas can also make a great after school snack.
Stir things up with stir fry.
Stir fry vegetables served with brown rice is a delicious way to sneak more fiber in your diet. Broccoli, carrots, snow peas, bell peppers, and cabbage are great to use in stir fry because they’re affordable and contain a lot of fiber per serving. In fact, 1 cup of broccoli contains almost 3 grams of fiber. Using brown rice instead of white rice can also increase your fiber content. 1 cup of brown rice contains about 3.5 grams of fiber per serving.
Spread peanut butter on whole grain crackers.
If your child tolerates peanuts, peanut butter with whole grain crackers is a great snack. A serving of peanut butter contains almost 2 grams of fiber and a serving of whole grain crackers contain 2-3 grams of fiber per serving depending on the brand.
Amber Pankonin MS, RD, CSP, LMNT is a registered dietitian and licensed medical nutrition therapist based in Lincoln, NE, and a paid contributor to the Calorie Control Council. She works as a nutrition communications consultant, freelance writer, food photographer, and adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Amber shares her love for food and nutrition at Stirlist.com, an award-winning website, focusing on healthy, easy recipes for the busy cook. Amber serves on several boards including the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group, and also co-founded a group to motivate female entrepreneurs in her town. You can follow her on Twitter @RDamber, Instagram, Pinterest, or connect with her on Facebook.