What does picky eating and constipation have to do with one another? Fiber! If you’re the parent of a picky eater, you’ve likely noticed (at one point or another) that they’ve been a little backed up. It’s possible that their digestive issues are due to a lack of fiber consumption (which is a nutrient known for promoting proper digestion and regular bowel movements). While this post is certainly not meant to diagnose or treat any individual medical condition, it serves as a reminder of just how important fiber is in your kiddos diet, and how you can increase their intake of it!
1. Leave the skin on their fruits and veggies. Although high in fiber in general, eating the skin of apples, pears, peaches, plums, and potatoes, significantly increases it’s fiber content! Of course, not all produce skin should be eaten (i.e. banana peels, watermelon rinds, etc.). Don’t be surprised when your little one is skeptical of eating the skin if they’re not used to it. There’s no need to put pressure on them, though. Studies have shown that continued exposure to unfamiliar foods leads to eventual acceptance of said foods. Start with baby steps. Slice up their fruit like you normally would, but leave the skin on just one or two pieces at first. Over time, gradually increase the number of slices with skin on them.
2. Use whole grain bread. If your kids like sandwiches, then this one is easy. Simply replacing white bread with whole grain or whole wheat bread more than doubles it’s fiber content (not to mention, it’s much higher in vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium, too!). While there’s a remarkable nutritional impact on this simple swap, your kids will likely not notice much of a difference taste-wise.
3. Snack on nuts (unless allergic) and popcorn. Sneaking in fiber between meals can really add up. Do this by encouraging fiber-rich snacks, like nuts and popcorn. 1 ounce of almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds provides 3 grams of fiber, while 3 cups of air-popped popcorn contains nearly 4 grams of fiber! These two foods paired together make a snack that’s rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Not to mention, it’s a delicious combo!
4. Eat more beans and legumes. Include these in soups, chilis, taco bowls, and salads. These kid-created recipes are a great place to start: Two Beans & Rice , Chickpea Avocado Salad , Black Bean Salsa , and Veggie & Bean Chili.
5. Integrate oats. In place of sugar-filled cereals, try serving up some oatmeal instead! You can make it taste just as great (if not better) as your little one’s favorite cereal. Stir in some honey, peanut butter, berries, and bananas to sweeten it up the natural way. With a fiber rich breakfast like this, they’ll be full for hours!
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