Fiber: An Important Part of Your Teen's Diet.
Many teens do not consume adequate amounts of fibre in their daily diets. In order to meet their needs, it is critical that teens consume a variety of plant-based foods in their diet each day. These include:
- Whole grains,
- and vegetables
These foods can be easily incorporated into daily meals and snacks.
Why is Fibre important in the diet?
Fibre is an essential nutrient that promotes bowel function and intestinal health. Females ages 9 to 18 years need 26 grams of fibre per day. Males ages 9 to 13 years need 31 grams per day and males ages 14 to 18 years need 38 grams per day.
Since teenagers tend to consume large amounts of fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages, they often to do not get adequate amounts of fibre in their diets and need to be encouraged to consumes high fibre foods.
Whole grains, such as pasta, bread, cous cous, quinoa, barley, are excellent sources of fibre. Whole grains are foods that have been minimally processed, meaning that they still contain the bran, germ and endosperm of the grain. The bran is where most of the fibre is found, thus making whole grains very high in fibre. Foods made with whole wheat, oats, and rye are excellent sources of whole grain, and for those with gluten sensitivity, corn, quinoa and brown rice are excellent sources of whole grain.
Eating fruit is a delicious easy way for teenagers to consume adequate fibre in their daily diets. A typical serving of fresh fruit contains approximately 1 to 8 grams of fibre and includes antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Fruit can be consumed as fresh fruit, canned fruit (always read the label to ensure the sugar content) or dried fruit. It is important to be aware that fruit juice does not have as much fibre and more sugar than the entire piece of fruit because much of the skin and pulp is removed.
Vegetables are another excellent source of fibre for teenagers. Raw and steamed vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, green peas and artichokes contain between 2 and 10 grams of fibre per serving. In addition, legumes are also high in fibre. Legumes include black beans, kidney beans and non-fat refried beans. Beans have an enormous amount of fibre in one cup -- between 10 to 16 grams.
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