Fiber is an important nutrient that keeps our digestive system running smoothly. Here are the top healthy High Fiber Foods for Babies and Toddlers.
As parents, we try our best to plan our kids meals so they get all the nutrients they need. We focus a lot on protein, iron, calcium and healthy fats. However, one thing that often gets missed out is this – fiber. Experts across the board say that for all a healthy digestive system, you need three things – fiber, fluids and fitness. Remove any one of this and you’re in for some trouble – especially in the bathroom!
What is Fiber?
Fiber is the undigestible part of the plant-based food we eat, like fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.
- Soluble Fiber can dissolve in water. It slows down digestion, making us feel fuller for longer. Soluble fiber is found in oats, barley, fruits and legumes like beans or peas.
- Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk to stool and pushes it through the digestive system, easing elimination from the body. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran and grains.
Both kinds of fiber are important for a healthy digestive system. Along with the right amount of water, it ensures easy and regular movements, while also promoting better absorption of nutrients.
Every person needs 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories they consume in a day. For babies, this translates to about 55 to 110 grams of soft cooked high fiber vegetables a day. For older children, this can be broken down as:
- Toddlers (1-3 years old) – 19 grams of fiber a day
- Young Children (4-8 years old) – 25 grams of fiber a day
- Older girls and teens (9-18 years old) – 26 grams of fiber a day
- Older boys (9-13 years old) – 31 grams of fiber a day
- Teen boys (14-18 years old) – 38 grams of fiber a day
If this is hard to remember, a rule of thumb is to add 10 to the child’s age (for children 5 and above). For example a 9 year old would need 19 grams of fiber a day. Ensuring 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day also helps.
Health Benefits of High Fiber Foods:
- Keeps the digestive system working properly
- Prevents and treats constipation
- Is filling and doesn’t make the child hungry soon
- Prevents overeating and obesity
- Prevents diabetes
- Lowers bad cholesterol
- Prevents heart disease
- Lowers the risk of cancer
- Ensures absorption of nutrients
Besides these benefits, eating high fiber foods also prevents nutritional deficiencies, since most fiber-rich foods are rich in minerals vitamins and antioxidants. On the other hand, not having enough fiber can lead to several problems:
- Firm, hard and dry stools
- Infrequent bowel movements
- Crying when trying to pass stools
- Unwillingness to go to the toilet
- Hard and swollen abdomen
- Abdominal pain
- Low appetite
- Bleeding while pass
In severe cases, this can cause stool retention and impaction with stool leakage.
These problems can be fixed with a diet rich in high fiber foods, sufficient water intake and physical activity. A food is considered a high fiber food if it has at least 3-5 grams per serving. It can be heard to go around calculating the individual fiber content of each food, so we’ve rounded up the top high fiber foods you can feed your baby or toddler.
30 High Fiber Foods for Babies and Toddlers
Oatmeal is one of the easiest ways to increase the fiber in your little one’s diet. Even babies over 6 months can have oatmeal, and it with 4 grams of fiber in a cup of cooked oatmeal, it’s an excellent choice for school going kids too! Go for organic oatmeal to get added health benefits. Try these recipes with oats for your baby:
For older kids, try these:
You can find many more healthy recipes in our list of oats recipes for babies and toddlers.
2. Whole Grain Cereal
Baby cereal is a big part of a baby’s diet for the first year, so make sure you choose a cereal that’s high in fiber. Brown rice cereal, barley cereal or oats cereal are all good options. You can also try these recipes:
You can also make many other dishes with baby cereal, for both babies and older kids.
Apples are what most Moms opt for as the first fruit to feed their babies. They’re naturally sweet, easy to digest and have 3.6 grams of fiber in a small apple. With loads of benefits, apples are an excellent choice, especially when fed with the peel on for older kids. For babies, you can try these recipes:
Older kids will enjoy these:
You can also check out our list of healthy apple recipes for babies under one.
Just like apples, pears are sweet juicy and rich in fiber. A medium pair provides 5.5 grams of fiber, provided it has its skin on. Pears are also easy to feed babies and are easy to digest. You can try these pear recipes for your baby:
Bananas – the most preferred way of sweetening baby food without sugar! A medium banana packs 3.1 grams of fiber, making it one of the easiest ways of increasing your child’s fiber intake. From babies to teens, a banana is the ideal travel snack too. Try out these banana recipes for your baby:
For older kids, you can try these:
This creamy delicious fruit finds place in many recipes ranging from sweet to savory. It’s touted as a health food the world over and with good reason – half a cup of avocado has 5 full grams of fiber. Besides, they’re also rich in heart healthy fats. The creaminess of the fruit makes avocado ideal for babies, especially in recipes like avocado puree.
Mango, the king of fruits, is one of those things that kids readily eat, thanks to its juiciness and sweetness. But mango isn’t all about the taste, it’s got loads of fiber too, at nearly 3 grams a cup. While babies can munch on mango slices as finger food, you can also try these recipes:
Old kids will enjoy mango in these recipes:
For more recipe ideas, check out our list of healthy mango recipes for babies and kids.
The spiky tropical fruit can be fed to babies too! On their own pineapple slices make great teething rings, especially when they’re frozen. What’s more, a cup of pineapple chunks have 2.3 grams of fiber. Besides raw pineapple, you can also try these for your baby:
Older kids will enjoy an upside down pineapple cake as a healthy afternoon snack!
Prunes are the number one natural remedy for constipation, and it’s understandable – with 3 grams of fiber in just quarter of a cup, this is a fiber super food! Even little babies can have prunes, both as prevention and treatment for constipation.
10. Nuts Powder
All kinds of nuts are rich sources of fiber and loads of other nutrients including healthy fats. However, nuts can prove to be a choking hazard for babies and young kids, so nuts powder is the best option. You can try either of these:
This powder can be mixed into any recipe – it’ll only taste more delicious!
Carrots are the apples of vegetables; they’re most babies’ first veggie! Not surprising, since carrots are rich in Vitamins A and C, and also have 2.9 grams of fiber in every half cup. Carrot sticks can also be steamed and offered as finger foods. Babies will love these carrot recipes:
Older children will enjoy these carrot recipes:
Beetroots are something many children will eat if presented well, since the color itself is so attractive. Not only that, beets are packed with iron, potassium and manganese, as well as a royal 3.8 g in a cup. Try out these beetroot recipes for babies:
- Carrot Beetroot Soup
- Beetroot Chickpea Puree
- Beetroot Pearl Millet Porridge
- Beetroot Potato Pure
- Beetroot Halwa
For older kids, you can try these beetroot recipes:
13. Sweet potatoes
Potatoes may be popular, but many of us don’t realize that sweet potatoes are just as good, maybe even better! Along with Vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes provide us with 3.8 grams of fiber per medium sweet potato. The simplest way to feed this to babies is with a sweet potato puree. Older kids will enjoy these recipes:
14. Green Peas
Green peas are one of the most versatile vegetables available – you can easily add them to stews, soups, purees and much more! Green peas are a great source of protein, and half a cup of cooked green peas provides 4.4 grams of fiber. Babies can have peas in these recipes:
Older kids can enjoy green peas as part of these recipes:
Green beans are easily available, packed with nutrients and also a huge amount of fiber. Half a cup of beans contains a whopping 6-9 grams of fiber, making this a must have in your child’s diet. Babies will enjoy green beans in these recipes:
16. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are always included as part of a healthy diet, and we know that they contain loads of vitamins and iron. But did you know that greens like spinach and turnip greens also contain lots of fiber? One cup of cooked spinach contains 4.3 grams of fiber, while a cup of cooked turnip greens contains a good 5 grams! You can give your baby spinach with these recipes:
Older kids will love seeing the beautiful green color in these recipes:
Don’t forget to check out our list of healthy spinach recipes for babies and kids.
Broccoli isn’t something most kids eat readily, but there are ways to get kids to like broccoli. And it’s worth the effort too, considering one cup of cooked broccoli contains 5.1 grams of fiber. Broccoli can be given to babies but may cause excess gas, so introduce slowly and in small quantities, with these recipes:
Older kids can try a broccoli mushroom soup. You can also check out our list on healthy broccoli recipes for babies and kids.
Yogurt isn’t exactly a high fiber food, but it deserves a place in this list because it contains probiotics and is crucial for a healthy gut and healthy digestion overall. Try these yogurt recipes for babies:
- Homemade Curd
- Homemade Strawberry Yogurt
- Homemade Mango Yogurt
- Coriander Curd Khichdi
- Turmeric Buttermilk
There are many ways to include yogurt in older kids’ food, like these recipes:
- Chocolate Yogurt Parfait
- Frozen Yogurt Bark
- Yogurt Fruit Parfait
- Curd Fritters
- Tricolor Fruit Parfait
Flax seeds are available in most supermarkets these days and are incredibly versatile since they can be added to anything. What’s more, a tablespoon of flax seeds contains 3 grams of fiber. For little ones, you can grind flax seed at home and sprinkle over their cooked food or into batter or dough before cooking. You can also add it to smoothies and soups.
Our grandmothers probably knew a thing or two about fiber, which is probably why millet featured so much among our traditional dishes! A 100 gram serving of millet contains a big 9 grams of fiber! And since millet can be given to babies, there are many recipes you can try:
Older kids will love these recipes made with millet:
- Millet Kheer
- Multi Millet Paneer Paratha
- Barnyard Millet Vegetable Salad
- Millet Sathumaavu Laddu
- Pearl Millet and Green Gram Pesarattu
- Whole Grain Multi Millet Pancakes
Berries are pretty, and that may be one reason kids love them! But berries are also high in fiber, with raspberries topping the list at 4 grams in every half cup. Blueberries have 1.8 grams per half cup and strawberries have 1.5 grams fiber for half a cup. Babies will love a strawberry banana puree, while kids will love these recipes:
You can also check out our list of healthy strawberry recipes for babies and kids.
(The foods in the list below are suitable for Children over One Year)
22. Whole-grain Bread
White bread is made with grain that has the bran removed, which means no fiber. However, whole grain bread includes the bran and has about 2 grams of fiber a slice. So a sandwich with two slices gives you 4 grams! Here are a few recipes to try with whole grain bread:
- Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
- Hung Curd Sandwich
- Tricolor Sandwich
- Crispy Coconut Chutney Sandwich
- Paneer Sandwich
- Tricolor Bread Sushi Rolls
- Easy Bread Rolls
- Banana Coconut French Toast
23. Whole-grain Pasta
Just like whole grain bread, now whole wheat pasta is also becoming increasingly available. Half a cup of cooked whole wheat pasta has 2 grams of fiber and what’s more, it is more filling than regular pasta. Combine with other high fiber veggies and you have a meal! Check out these pasta recipes for kids:
Besides pasta, you can also check out our range of 100% natural noodles made of whole grains and millet.
24. Brown Rice
White rice has the outer covering removed, which is why it is not as filling as brown rice. A cup of brown rice has a decent 3.5 grams of fiber, and goes great with all other ingredients from vegetables to chicken! Check out these brown rice recipes for kids:
- Okra Rice
- Paneer Vegetable Fried Rice
- Coriander Vegetable Rice
- Bell Pepper Fried Rice
- Vegetable and Soya Chunks Rice
- Brown Rice Flakes Kheer
- Brown Rice Poha
- Brown Rice Cutlets
- Coconut Rice
Barley has got to be the Superman of high fiber foods. With an incredible 32 grams of fiber in a cup of hulled barley, it’ll easily help taking care of your fiber needs for the day! Barley can be used in many ways, as you’ll find in our list of barley recipes for babies and kids.
26. Whole Grain Cereal
Cereal is one of the easiest things to feed kids for breakfast. After all, the only thing you need to do is serve with some milk! However, store bought cereals are notorious for being high in sugar and low on fiber. You can easily fix this with homemade cereal, which has about 9 grams of fiber in a ½ cup serving. Here are some options to try:
27. Dried Beans
Dried beans tackle two common nutritional deficiencies in Indian kids – protein and fiber. Legumes like rajma and chana have 12-16 grams of fiber per serving, and they’re incredibly filling too! Here are some recipes you can try out with dried beans:
- Rajma Dosa
- Sprouted Moth Beans Frankie
- Rajma Veggie Quesadillas
- Rajma Sandwich
- Healthy Kidney Bean Soup
- Kid-friendly Chicken Chilli
- Chickpea Veggie Pancakes
- Roasted Chickpeas
Remember, sprouting dried beans multiplies their benefits manifold, by making their nutrients more bio-available.
28. Pomegranate seeds
Pomegranate seeds look like little jewels, and they certainly are, in terms of nutrition! These little red seeds have 3 grams of fiber in just half a cup and kids love them because of that burst of sweetness they have. Babies can try a pomegranate juice, while kids can enjoy these recipes:
- Eggless Apple Cake with Pomegranate
- Sugar Free Fruit Custard
- Sathumaavu Dahi Papdi Chaat
- Maize Flakes with Milk and Honey
- Homemade Constipation Juice
Corn is a popular dish with kids, probably because it is often associated with vacations and trips outside. It is one of those indulgences that are actually healthy! Half a cup of cooked corn has 1.8 grams of fiber. Here are some simple recipes to try with corn:
- Sweet Corn Fritters
- Baby Corn Fritters
- Sweet Corn Vegetable Soup
- Sweet Corn Fried Rice
- Sweet Corn Salad
- Cheese Corn Balls
30. Nuts and Seeds
Almost all nuts and seeds are packed with fiber, and that’s great because you can switch things up with a different variety. Almonds have the most fiber, with over 3 grams in a single serving while peanuts have over 2 grams. If your child has nut allergies, you can try pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead. Check out these recipes with nuts you can try:
- Dates and Nuts Cooker Cake
- Homemade Peanut Butter
- Mixed Nuts and Poha Laddu
- Pistachio and Raisin Coconut Cookies
- Homemade Almond Milk
- Almond Shortbread Cookies
- Dates Almond Milkshake
- No Bake Brownies with Dry Fruit
- No Cook Dry Fruit Modak
- Dry Fruit Jaggery Energy Bars
- Dry Fruit Balls
Here are some recipes with seeds:
Tips for feeding Kids High Fiber Foods:
- Switch your regular grain with whole grain, like replacing maida with atta, or white rice with brown rice
- Make sure there is a fruit and vegetable at every meal
- Opt for whole fruits instead of fruit juice
- Add dry fruits powder or nuts powder to cooked dishes or into batter, dough or smoothies
- Add fruit, nuts and seeds to yogurt, cereal or oatmeal
- Add vegetables like lettuce to sandwiches
- Ensure kids drink enough water along with high fiber foods
Add high fiber foods to the child’s diet gradually, increasing the quantity slowly. When introducing a new food for babies, always follow the 3-day rule. Too much fiber can cause bloating or gas as well as abdominal pain. When buying a food that claims to be high fiber, read the label carefully. Fiber is listed under ‘Total Carbohydrates’ as ‘Dietary Fiber’. A truly high fiber food should have at least 3 grams fiber per serving.
Please remember that the WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and there is no need of added fiber before that. If baby seems constipated during this time, it may help for the mother to eat some high fiber foods like prunes.