Adding Fiber into Your Pre Teens Diet

We know that fiber is important and essential in the diet. But what is it? Where do we get it? Why is it important for our bodies and our children? 

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate, although the body cannot digest it. Instead of being broken down into sugars like other carbohydrates, fiber passes through the body undigested. So why do we need it when our body can’t use it for energy?

Fiber is essential for healthy digestion - when we eat foods that contain fiber, they usually contain other carbohydrates that will be digested into sugars. The fiber helps absorb those sugars slower, which in turn keeps blood sugar levels steady - avoiding extreme spikes or drops. If blood sugar levels are not maintained, you can feel hungry soon after eating. 

Aside from blood sugar control, fiber also is essential for intestinal health, acting like a broom for our intestines cleaning up bacteria and build-up. 

How Much Fiber Does My Child Need?

According to the Institute of Medicine - below is the breakdown for how much fiber your child needs based on age and gender: 


Daily Recommended Intake of Fiber (grams/day)
















Types of Fiber and Their Sources


There are two types of fiber, which are both beneficial and essential to our health: 

Soluble Fiber:

Soluble fiber means the fiber can dissolve in water. This is the type of fiber that helps maintain glucose levels, as well as help lower blood cholesterol. Sources of soluble fiber include: 

  • Oatmeal, nuts, beans, fruits such as raspberries, blueberries, apples, peas, bananas. 


Insoluble Fiber:

Insoluble fiber does not digest in water - it can help foods move regularly through the digestive system, preventing constipation. Sources of insoluble fiber include: 

  • Wheat and whole wheat bread, carrots, potatoes, legumes, and cucumbers. 

Adding Fiber to Your Pre-Teens Diet


Luckily, fiber content is required to be included on all food labels in the United States, so it is easier now to track the fiber amount in food. 

Here are some tips and foods to look out for while incorporating fiber into your family’s diet: 


  • Fruits and Vegetables: All fruits and vegetables include fiber. Great sources include berries, broccoli, leafy greens, apples, dried fruits, and avocados. It is important to note that fruit juices and vegetable juices are stripped of fiber - so swap out a glass of orange juice with an orange!
  • Whole Grain Breads and Rice: Swap out white bread for whole grain and white rice for brown. White bread and white rice are stripped of the nutrients that give grain its fiber. Look for whole-grain bread options with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. 
  • Cereals: Cereals are a great way to add fiber at the start of the day. However, the quality of the cereal makes all the difference! Look for cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. These cereals usually contain whole grains, oats, bran, or dried fruit.