Let’s Talk About Fiber With Rachel Rothman, MS, RD, CLEC
By Rachel Rothman, MS, RD, CLEC
Owner of Nutrition in Bloom
Rachel Rothman is a pediatric dietitian and feeding expert. With a background in food science and nutrition education, she has combined her love of food with a passion for helping others.
Rachel has helped thousands of families create happier stress-free meals, and specializes in working with children with feeding difficulties and disorders, by using evidence-based approaches to help children develop healthy and positive relationships with food – that last a Lifetime. You can find out more about Rachel at her website, on Instagram or Facebook.
** This blog post is not a substitute for advice from your pediatrician or other medical expert. **
Our bodies need many different nutrients to help it run properly. Some of these larger nutrients include fat, protein and carbohydrates. Our bodies also need nutrients in smaller amounts, fiber is one of those nutrients.
What is fiber?
Fiber is an important nutrient that our body needs to keep things moving. It is a type of carbohydrate, but one that the body can’t digest.
Most types of carbohydrates are broken down in the body, into simple sugar molecules, but fiber does not get broken down. It travels through the body intact.
Different types of fiber
There are two different types of fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber, and the body needs both to function properly, as both have different benefits to our health.
Soluble fiber absorbs water and creates a gel-like solution. It assists with our bowels by making stools easier to pass.
Insoluble fiber does not absorb water like soluble fiber. It adds bulk to stools and pulls water into the colon.
Why does the body need fiber?
I like to think about fiber as the last runner in a relay race. It’s absolutely needed to succeed, but sometimes not front and center.
Fiber helps to regulate the body’s sugar. It also helps with gut motility, which is the movement of food through the body, and constipation prevention (which can be key with kids when they are experiencing constipation).
How much fiber does the body need?
The recommendation for fiber is 25-35 grams per day, for both adults and kids. This can be a difficult recommendation to meet. In fact, most kids and adults aren’t meeting this level of intake.
Foods with fiber
Luckily, fiber is found in many different foods.
Foods that contain soluble fiber include:
- Grains like oats and barley
- Vegetables (like broccoli, sweet potatoes and avocados)
- Legumes like beans and lentils
- Seeds like chia and flax
Foods that contain insoluble fiber:
- Grains like whole wheat flour and what bran
- Nuts such as peanuts or cashews
- Vegetables like cauliflower and green beans
- Legumes like beans
How do we meet our fiber needs?
Meeting fiber neds can be difficult, but there are many ways to add fiber into your or your little one’s diet while keeping things fun, tasty and kid friendly.
Here are my favorite ways to add fiber:
I love an easy-bake muffin. They are quick to prepare, clean up and easy to store (try freezing a leftover batch and pulling out a muffin when you need one). My favorites are: Spinach and Banana Blender Muffins and Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins. Both contain fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
My kids and I love a quick smoothie in the morning. Download my Smoothie Guide, which contains lots of ideas to make a delicious smoothie. Add in some flax powder or chia seed for a fiber boost!
3. Vitaminis Gut Health Shot
These delicious shots contain 5 grams of fiber per bottle. They taste great, kids love them and are easy on the go.
There you have it! Let’s give 3 cheers for fiber!