Fiber Foods for Toddlers
Every toddler needs fiber as part of a well-balanced diet. Encouraging healthy eating at an early age will benefit your child for a lifetime. Lack of fiber in your toddler’s diet can lead to digestive problems and constipation. As your child gets older, the lasting benefits of proper fiber intake are a reduced risk of heart disease and lower blood cholesterol.
According to the United States Dietary Reference Intakes, a child between the ages of 1 and 3 should consume at least 19 g of fiber per day.
Add fruit to your child’s diet. One medium pear provides 5 g of fiber. A cup of blueberries or strawberries each contain 3 g of fiber.The same amount is provided by a medium apple, orange or banana. To make these fruits more fun for your toddler, dip them into a fiber-fortified yogurt. Make a fruit smoothie by blending a few of these fruits with fiber-fortified yogurt, milk and ice. For a healthy snack, offer your child a handful of raisins. One-fourth a cup of raisins contains 1.5 g of fiber.
Switch out regular pasta with whole-wheat spaghetti. One cup of whole-wheat spaghetti contains 6.3 g of fiber. Offer your toddler whole-wheat breads instead of white bread. A whole-wheat bagel provides 6 g of fiber, while a slice of whole-wheat bread contains 1.9 g. Make breakfast more fun by topping a whole-wheat bagel with a colorful flavored cream-cheese. For lunch, use cookie cutters to cut a whole-wheat sandwich into fun shapes that your toddler will enjoy.
Cheerios, a toddler favorite, contains 1.8 g of fiber in every ounce. Serve this fiber-packed cereal for breakfast, or have it on hand for an easy, healthy snack. Start your child’s day with a fiber-filled oatmeal breakfast. One cup contains 4 g. Since many children are put off by the texture of oatmeal, entice your toddler by adding fun toppings. Try raisins, fresh fruit or fruit preserves, maple syrup, peanut butter, brown sugar or even chocolate chips.
Many vegetables are high in fiber. One cup of peas provides 8.8 g of fiber, while a cup of corn contains about half that amount. One medium carrot provides 2 g of fiber. Vegetables are generally the hardest sell with toddlers, so be creative in the way you present these foods to your child. Puree veggies into soups, add chopped veggies to cheesy pastas or allow your child to dip vegetables into salad dressing or another fun dip.