Fiber Recommendations for Children
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet, and most experts recommend that both children and adults eat a high fiber diet. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in their Guide to Your Child’s Nutrition, “people who eat a lot of fiber are less likely to…have heart disease, or develop problems affecting the bowel, including constipation and cancer.”
Eating foods high in fiber is especially important to prevent and treat constipation in your children.
How much fiber do kids need? The usual recommendation is that the amount of fiber that a child needs to eat each day should be equal to their age in years plus 5. So a 5-year-old needs 10g of fiber each day and a 12-year-old needs about 17g. Many nutrition experts think that isn’t enough fiber, though.
The latest recommendations are that kids should eat about 14g of fiber for every 1,000 calories they consume.1 But because calorie counting is not recommended for kids (or adults)—and most people are not tallying fiber intake throughout the day—there are practical ways to ensure your kids meeting daily fiber needs.
So obviously older kids who eat more calories should also get more fiber in their diet.1 Some general fiber recommendations for children include that:
- 1 to 3-year-olds should get about 19g of fiber each day
- 4 to 8-year-olds should get about 25g of fiber each day
- 9- to 13-year-old girls should get about 26g of fiber each day
- 9- to 13-year-old boys should get about 31g of fiber each day
- 14- to 18-year-old girls should get about 26g of fiber each day
- 14- to 18-year-old boys should get about 38g of fiber each day1
How much fiber do your kids get in their diet each day?
Foods High in Fiber
In general, good sources of fiber include many fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans), and whole-grain breads and cereals. If you aim to include at least one fiber-rich food at each meal and snack, your child should meet their fiber requirements each day.
To find foods high in fiber for your family, read the nutrition label of foods to see how much fiber is in it. Keep in mind that things like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains may not be labeled. Aim for foods that naturally contain a boost of fiber like broccoli, whole wheat pasta, and oat brain rather than foods that have isolated fibers added.
For example, a whole grain cereal provides a good does of fiber naturally from whole grains. In general, a food that is high in fiber would have at least 5g of fiber per serving or more. Those that are good sources of fiber have at least 2.5g of fiber per serving.
|High Fiber Food Choices|
|Food||Fiber (in grams)|
|1/2 cup cooked beans or lentils||6-9 grams|
|1 cup raspberries or blackberries||8 grams|
|1 cup blueberries||4 grams|
|1/2 banana||1.5 grams|
|1/2 pear||3 grams|
|1/2 orange or apple||2 grams|
|1 ounce raisins||1 gram|
|1/2 cup cooked whole grains||2-4 grams|
|1/2 cup cooked wholegrain pasta||3 grams|
|1 slice wholegrain bread||2-5 grams|
|3/4 cup whole grain cereal||5-6 grams|
|1/2 cup cooked peas||7 grams|
|1 medium carrot||1.5 grams|
|1/2 avocado||7 grams|
|1/2 ounce nuts/seeds||1-2 grams|
|1/2 cup cooked broccoli||2.5 grams|
|1/2 medium baked potato (sweet or russet)||2 grams|
Another good rule of thumb is that foods high in fat are usually low in fiber. While a low fiber diet might help kids with excessive bloating, gas, and diarrhea, it not something that most experts recommend for kids. Talk to your pediatrician to make sure your kids are getting enough fiber in their diet.
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