Whether or not your child suffers from bowel irregularities, she will benefit from a high-fiber diet. Children shouldeat five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, not only to get filling food with low calories, but also to gain the digestive benefits of fiber, which minimizes risks of constipation and even of some cancers. Choose foods that provide 2.5 to 4.9 grams of fiber per serving.
While not a snack food per se, water is one of the best ways to regulate your child’s bowels. Encourage your child to drink water along with a high-fiber snack to establish a healthy habit. Fruit juices are fine as an occasional treat, but they contain too many calories for regular consumption. To make drinking water more fun, use a variety of cool sports bottles or glasses with pictures of superheroes. Add fun, spiraling straws and ice cubes in fun shapes or with plastic bugs frozen into them.
Serve fruit kabobs by having your child help cut bite size pieces of fruit and thread them onto wooden skewers. Apples, bananas, berries, pears, prunes, raisins and oranges all have good amounts of fiber. Keep the skins on to boost the fiber content even more.
All vegetables are high in fiber. Jean Warren, author of “Super Snacks,” recommends carrots, cucumbers or zucchini sliced into rounds and spread with peanut butter or hummus. Children, like adults, love dips/ Take advantage of this by serving broccoli, carrot sticks or zucchini spears with a low-fat ranch dressing. In the summer, serve a fresh ear of corn-on-the-cob cooked for a minute in the microwave.
Use whole grain English muffins, waffles or pancakes that can be frozen and then quickly toasted. Top them with a thin layer of peanut butter or jam. Or bake a batch of oatmeal chews with rolled oats, bran cereal, raisins, applesauce, canola oil, sliced bananas, salt and cinnamon. Let the mixture sit for five minutes, press into a greased sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees until set, Warren recommends.
Other good snacks high in fiber include almonds, low-fat pumpkin bread or muffins and popcorn--for children over 4 years old. Or use a fiber list such as the one provided by Continuum Health Partners and find ways to add fiber here and there to snacks. For example, add toasted coconut to fruit, add roasted chickpeas to granola or simply give your son a small bowl of Raisin Bran cereal.
- Linus Pauling Insitute: Fiber
- "Super Snacks"; Jean Warren; 1982
- Continuum Health Partners: Bowel Function and Dietary Fiber