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HEALTHY EATING

Fiber Happy

"Learn the benefits of fiber for your kids"
By: Rowena Lyn P. Alabado, MD, NDFiber Happy

Today’s children are growing heavier at an alarming rate. It is common knowledge that children just don’t eat enough fiber. According to an article written by Leah Perrier, RD, the recommended daily fiber intake should be:

● Kids 1 to 3 years: 19 grams

● Kids 4 to 8 years: 25 grams

● Boys 9 to 13 years: 31 grams

● Girls 9 to 13 years: 26 grams

Fiber is very important for kids, especially in preventing constipation and in promoting regularity.

One should keep in mind, though, that fiber intake should be increased gradually to minimize possible adverse side effects such as abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, cramps, and diarrhea. Encouraging kids to drink more fluids, especially water, as they eat more fiber will help avoid these potential side effects. Drinking lots of fluids (eight glasses or more, preferably water) while eating high fiber foods moves the food smoothly through the digestive system and helps rid the body of toxins quickly.

Fiber also postpones the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. It helps control blood sugar levels, which makes people feel full longer. It also reduces the risk for some cancers later in life.

If you decide to add more fiber into your kid’s diet, it is highly recommended that you do it gradually. Meal changes that add high fiber to the diet should be done over a span of time. Offer a wide variety of high fiber foods. Help your kid choose and prepare the food that will give him more fiber. Let your kids help in decisions about better eating. If you change slowly to high fiber fruits and veggies, your kids’ adjustment will be smooth and happy.­

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