Fiber for a Healthy Family

 

What are the benefits of a diet high in fiber? 

  •  improves digestive health
  •  lowers risk of colon cancer
  •  lowers risk of constipation, diverticulitis and hemorrhoids
  •  lowers blood cholesterol levels
  •  improves blood sugar levels
  •  supports weight management
  •  lowers risk of cardiovascular disease

How much dietary fiber do I need? 

  • Adult Women need at least 26 grams of dietary fiber each day
  • Adult Men should aim for 38 grams
  • For Children ages 1-3, the target is 19 grams per day
  • For children ages 4-8, the target is 25 grams per day
  • For children 8-13, girls should aim for 26 and boys should aim for 31.
  • Teens age 14-18 have the same targets as adults (26 & 38 grams respectively)

Pregnant women should eat 26-30 grams of fiber daily from food sources. This will help to prevent excess weight gain during pregnancy and help prevent constipation, which half of pregnant women suffer from. (Drinking plenty of water–around 80-96 ounces of caffeine-free, unsweetened fluids each day–and following physical activity recommendations, go hand in hand with fiber intake to prevent constipation.)

For children suffering from constipation, prevention should include 1) adequate dietary fiber (see above), adequate fluid intake (see below) and adequate physical activity (minimum of 60 minutes per day of moving play, sports, dance, walks, outdoor activity, etc).

Fluid Recommendations for kids:

For Children ages 1-3, the target is around 34 ounces of fluid daily. 

Kids age 4-8 need a minimum of 40 ounces of water per day.

Older kids should aim for a minimum of 64 ounces of water. 

How can I find out how much fiber is in my favorite foods? 

Use a calorie counting website, like http://www.calorieking.com/foods/.

Which foods are high in fiber? 

Dried Beans & Peas (“Legumes”)

Vegetables

Whole Fruit

Whole Grains

Nuts & Seeds

Eating 5-9 servings of vegetables and whole fruit and 1-2 servings of legumes daily, and selecting whole grains instead of refined grains will go a long way to meeting your dietary fiber needs. Make small changes and work up to the recommended fiber intake over time. You can do it!

Lindsay Pasdera, MS RDN

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