Preschool Nutrition

Nutrition in a baby’s early life is so important, so we’ve provided a chart of some foods and even behaviours that can be extremely beneficial to your baby and their development.

High fibre food

Foods that are high in fibre are very good as a part of a well-balanced diet. High-fibre foods help food move through the digestive system and may protect against gut cancers and constipation in later years. It may also lower LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and help prevent diabetes and heart disease. Foods with fibre are also beneficial because they are filling, with the fibre itself adding no calories. This discourages overeating and can help prevent obesity. There are many tasty foods that are great sources of fibre, including fruit, nuts and whole-grain cereals, so your child can enjoy meals and snacks that are both appetizing and healthy as a part of their diet.

How much fibre should my child eat?

Once over 2 years of age, you can calculate how much fibre your growing child needs to eat each day by adding 5 to the child’s age, so at 4 years of age, your child should be eating 9 grams of fibre each day. After the age of 15, teenagers and adult women should eat about 20-25 grams of fibre per day and adult men 30-38 grams of fibre a day.

Sources of fibre

Dietary fibre is found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables and grains It is listed on food labels under ‘total carbohydrates’ Examples of good sources of dietary fibre are:

  • whole-grain breads and cereals
  • berries
  • bananas
  • prunes
  • green peas
  • legumes
  • almonds

 

A good source of fibre is one that provides 2.5 to 4.9 grams per serving. A high-fibre food is one that contains 5 grams or more. Below is a comparison of different food stuffs and their fibre content:

  • 100g almonds 17.4 grams of fibre
  • 100 g sun-dried tomatoes 12.3 grams of fibre
  • ½ cup (120ml) of cooked navy beans: 9.5 grams of fibre
  • ½ cup (120ml of cooked lima beans: 6.5 grams of fibre
  • ½ cup (120ml of cooked green peas: 4.5 grams of fibre
  • 1 whole-wheat muffin 4.5 grams of fibre
  • ½ cup (120ml) of raw raspberries 4 grams of fibre
  • 1 medium baked potato with skin 4 grams of fibre)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml of oat bran cereal 3.6 grams of fibre
  • 1 medium raw apple with skin 3.3 grams of fibre
  • ½ cup (118 milliliters) of raisins 3 grams of fibre
  • ¼ cup (60ml of baked beans 3 grams of fibre
  • 1 medium orange 3 grams of fibre
  • 1 medium banana 3 grams of fibre

 

Adding fibre to your family’s diet

Why not be creative when adding fibre to your family’s diet? Here are some fun and tasty meal-time ideas to inspire you to incorporate more fibre-rich foods into your family’s diet:

Breakfast

  • Unsweetened cereals are high in fibers and are the perfect start to the day, as the energy it gives from its carbohydrates is slowly released. Add some raspberries or sliced fruit on top to boost its fibre content even further
  • Choose breakfast cereals that have a bran content of at least 3g per 100g
  • If your child has a favourite breakfast cereal that doesn’t contain much fibre, mix in a fibre-rich one or add a spoonful of raisons.
  • Make pancakes with whole-grain pancake mix and top with raisins or berries
  • Serve whole-grain muffins and waffles instead of ones made with processed flour

Lunch and Dinner

  • If you are making sandwiches or rolls, make them fibre-rich by using whole-grain breads (rye, oat, or wheat) instead of white and fill with peanut butter and banana slices.
  • Serve wild or brown rice with meals instead of white rice.
  • Add beans (kidney, black, navy) to mashed potato for flavour and fibre
  • Add lentils or barley to soup and stews.
  • Leave the skin on potatoes when cooking them – this will also boost your vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium levels as well as add fibre.
  • Serve burgers and beef hot dogs in whole-wheat bread rolls.
  • Add chick peas and beans (kidney, black, navy, or pinto) to salads.
  • Add whole-grain cereal, berries or almonds as a topping for ice cream or yogurt
  • Pack crunchy carrot batons into school lunches.