How much fiber do toddlers need? Find out in this week’s “Ask Amanda,” column. Ask Amanda is our weekly virtual Q and A forum brought to you by Feed to Succeed’s expert Northshore dietitian Amanda Gordon.
Q: Hi Amanda, I am worried that my 18-month-old is not getting enough fiber. At what age do I need to worry about how much fiber he gets? How do I find out how much he needs?
A: This is a great question. Yes, toddlers do need fiber. And, it’s easy to get duped when reading food labels at the grocery store. Fiber is an important part of a toddler diet because it helps move foods through the digestive tract, helps prevent constipation and it also helps kids feel full. Generally, toddlers (between 1-3 years old) need about 14 grams of fiber per day, based on the US Dietary Guidelines. Snack time is often a good time to get high fiber foods in kids. Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of fiber for toddlers and make great snacks. Beans, oatmeal and brown rice are also good sources of fiber and easy to incorporate into a toddler diet.
Bread, cereals and other grain products are also good sources of fiber, but it is easy to get confused in the grocery aisle. Not all foods labeled “multigrain” or “made with whole grains” are high in fiber, and these labels can be very misleading. Grains can vary widely in their fiber content. As a general rule of thumb, when looking for bread products, take a look at the ingredient list and make sure that whole wheat flour is the first ingredient.