Does your child suffer from constipation? It’s a common condition in kids leading to pain, discomfort and frustration. Kids are considered constipated when they have fewer than three bowel movements per week, have a hard time having a bowel movement, or when their poop is hard and dry. I read an interesting article on the John’s Hopkins Children’s Center site about signs that constipation in kids may be getting worse due perhaps from lack of physical activity, inadequate water intake and fiber-poor diets.
What’s a parent to do?
If constipation is in issue in your household, take stock of your child’s diet. Is it filled with refined breads, bagels, and pasta and low in fiber-filled fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans? If so, then check out my tips for adding 5 extra grams of fiber to your family’s diet each day.
That little boost may be all you need (plus more fluids and exercise, of course) to bring regularity and comfort to everyone’s tummies.
Fiber Facts: How much do you need?
Fiber is a critical component of a healthy diet. Consuming the recommended 25 to 38 grams each day is good for digestion, lowers blood cholesterol, keeps blood sugar in check, and plays a role in maintaining a healthy body weight. Despite all the benefits, over 90 percent of adults and kids fall short on fiber, some consuming less than half the suggested amount. Take one step closer to filling in your family’s fiber gap with these 5 surprisingly easy ways for eating 5 extra grams a day.
Incorporating just 1/3 cup of black beans (or any bean variety for that matter!) into your meals and snacks brings you 5 grams closer to meeting your daily fiber goals. Toss beans into your family’s favorite soup, use as a filling in a Tex-Mex omelet, layer into a burrito, add to a salad, or use as a pizza topper. Heck, you can even add mashed beans to brownies.
Try my recipe for Last-Minute Black Bean Soup.
Crunchy, versatile, and delicious, almonds are a fiber-lover’s dream with 5 grams of fiber in just a third of a cup. Nibble on almonds as a snack, layer into a breakfast parfait with Greek yogurt, fresh berries, and whole grain cereal, stir into a pasta or quinoa salad, or use as an ingredient in trail mix.
Try my recipe for Quinoa with Almonds & Apricots.
This bright green cruciferous vegetable is a popular with families, and even picky eaters seem to love it. One cup is all it takes to get those 5 extra grams of fiber. Steam broccoli florets and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, toss into stir fries, add to casseroles, serve raw florets with a yogurt-based dip, or cook and puree into a cream of broccoli soup.
Try my recipe for Creamy Broccoli Soup Makeover.
One small pear has an impressive 5 grams of fiber. (For comparison sake, 1 large apple also has 5 grams.) Naturally sweet and juicy, nibble on a pear at snack time, add to a fruit smoothie or homemade applesauce, use in a healthy dessert crisp, or dice into a fresh fruit salad.
Try my recipe for Apple Pear Sauce.
Did you know that avocados are technically a fruit and that they’re rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and fiber? Eating half a medium-size avocado brings 5 grams of fiber to the table along with a luscious flavor and texture that’s hard to resist. Mash avocados for guacamole, slice and add to omelets, wraps, or a sandwich, blend into a green smoothie, or use as a topping for a chef salad.