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Let’s face it: Eating well-rounded meals is tough enough; trying to make sure your little picky eater is doing the same is even harder. We’d all love to live on a steady diet of mac and cheese and chicken nuggets, but—at the risk of being TMI here—you then deal with the whole issue of your kid not being, uh, regular. Thankfully, there are plenty of high-fiber foods for kids that will keep their digestive systems running smoothly. It’s all a matter of knowing how much fiber to aim for—and have an arsenal of snacks at the ready to serve your kiddos throughout the day.

How much fiber do kids need?

While a quick internet search will give you varying results for dietary intake, the government’s updated 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans offers some solid recommendations.

If your child is...

  • 12 to 23 months*: Aim for 19 grams of fiber per day
  • 2 to 3 years old: 14 grams/day (for every 1,000 calories consumed)
  • 4 to 8 years old: 17 grams/day for every 1,200 calories consumed for girls; 20 grams/day for every 1,400 calories consumed for boys
  • 9 to 13 years old: 22 grams/day for every 1,600 calories consumed for girls; 25 grams/day for every 1,800 calories consumed for boys
  • 14 to 18 years old: 25 grams/day for every 1,800 calories consumed for girls, 31 grams/day for every 2,200 calories consumed for boys

*Babies who are 1 year to 23 months old, though, do not have a set calorie goal but are recommended to consume 19 grams of fiber daily for adequate nutrition.

RELATED: 27 Toddler Dinner Ideas That Will Break You Out of Your Same-Old, Same-Old Rut

Why is fiber important in children’s diets?

According to Pediatric Dietitian Leah Hackney, fiber is important in children’s diets for numerous reasons that we alluded to above, including helping regulate bowel movements, aiding in digestion and combating constipation.

Fiber can actually be helpful for potty training toddlers as well as help picky eaters become more adventurous, since constipation can be an underlying cause of their disinterest in trying new foods, Hackney says. Chronic constipation can lead to many more serious issues, so exercise, plenty of water and of course, high-fiber foods, can help prevent this from affecting your child’s overall health.

The Best High-Fiber Foods for Kids

Here are Hackney’s recommendations for high-fiber foods kids will actually look forward to eating (promise!).

Fruits

Unlike vegetables, fruits are a delicious food children often love. Like many veggies, though, most fruits are an excellent source of fiber. Leah recommends mixing the following fruits into your little ones’ meals.

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1. Strawberries

½ cup has about 1 gram of fiber

2. Raspberries

½ cup has about 4 grams of fiber

3. Blackberries

½ cup has about 4 grams of fiber

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4. Oranges

½ cup raw has about 1.5 grams of fiber

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5. Dates

¼ cup has about 3 grams of fiber

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6. Apples

½ cup sliced raw has about 1.5 grams of fiber

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7. Pears

1 medium pear has about 5.5 grams of fiber

Should straight fruit be getting boring, consider adding the berries to yogurt or even dipping the apples in almond butter or peanut butter—added fiber for the win!

Oats and Cereals

High-fiber cereals and oats are delicious swaps for some of your tots’ favorite breakfast foods.

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8. Kashi Cereal

½ cup has about 3-4 grams of fiber

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9. Oatmeal

½ cup has about 4 grams of fiber

Combining their fruits with oats and cereals is another easy way to switch up the high-fiber foods so they don’t get old. Plus, seeing familiar fruits is a great practice to get even your pickiest eaters to try new foods—like oatmeal.

Dips

For parents looking for a nutritious option to add fiber to their children’s snacks, chickpeas will do just that. And there’s no easier way than introducing them in dip form.

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10. Hummus

2 tablespoons has about 2 grams of fiber

Seeds

Sure, seeds may not necessarily be the first thing you think of when considering foods kids will actually like, but lucky for moms and dads around the world, many can be hidden in snacks your munchkins already eat on a daily basis.

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11. Chia seeds

1 ½ tablespoons has about 4-5 grams of fiber

Chia seeds, specifically, are an excellent source of fiber and can be added into yogurts, smoothies, puddings, or other kid-friendly foods. Hackney recommends telling your little ones that those tiny crunchy specs are “sprinkles” if they ask.

RELATED: 5 Ways You Might Be Accidentally Encouraging a Picky Eater

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