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How Much Fiber Does My Child Need?

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By: Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD

Recommended intake

Average dietary fiber intake among children is much lower than the recommendations noted below. For children ages 3 to 5 years of age, the average fiber intake is about 11 grams per day. For children 6 to 11 years the average fiber intake is about 13 grams per day. That is 50% less than what they need! Kids do not get the needed amounts of fruit, vegetables and whole grains, which leads to poor fiber intake.

So how do you know how much fiber your child needs? It depends on their age. Typically, for children under 2 years, there is no recommendation for total fiber. Just make sure to provide a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains as you introduce solid foods.

The Daily Reference Intakes (RDI) provides the following recommendations:

  • Children 1-3 years: 19 grams of fiber per day
  • Children 4-8 years: 25 grams of fiber per day
  • Boys 9-13 years: 31 grams of fiber per day
  • Girls 9-13 years: 26 grams of fiber per day
  • Boys 14-19: 38 grams of fiber per day
  • Girls 14-19: 26 grams of fiber per day

Once adolescents reach twenty years of age, the recommendation is 25-35 grams per day (or about 10-13 grams per 1000 calories) as for all adults.

To give you an idea of how much fiber is in food, take a look at the following list:

  • 1/2 cup of beans or legumes = 6 grams of fiber
  • 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables = 2 – 4 grams of fiber
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fruit or 1 small piece of fruit = 3 grams of fiber
  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread = 2 – 4 grams of fiber, compare labels and choose bread with higher fiber
  • 1 slice of white bread = 0.5-1 gram of fiber
  • 1/2 cup of whole grain cereal = 5 grams of fiber
  • 1/2 cup whole grain pasta = 2 – 4 grams of fiber
  • 1/2 cup of cooked white rice or regular pasta = less than 1 gram of fiber
  • 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice = 2 grams of fiber
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries = 7 grams of fiber

And finally, make sure to introduce fiber slowly and drink plenty of water to prevent any undesirable side effects. Your child’s body will get used to the extra fiber over time.

Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD is a Registered Dietitian in St. George, Utah. She is a private nutrition consultant and oversees the education curriculum and diet plans at Fitness Ridge Resort and Spa.


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