Fibre is one of those ‘good for you’ nutrients as it is important for keeping the digestive system healthy. Not only does fibre regulate bowel movements, it also feeds your good gut bacteria and maintains gut health. A healthy colony of good gut bacteria supports the immune system.
Getting fibre into your kids may not necessarily be as hard and as mind boggling as you think. Some of the best and most delicious foods are packed with fibre!
Here are my top five tips for making sure your children’s diets have enough fibre.
Tip 1: Keep the skin on
Most of the fibre in our fruits and veggies are found in the skin. In order to increase fibre intake, leave the skin on! Wash a carrot and cucumber really well, slice into fingers and place in a container small enough to fit into a lunch box. Kids love to dip. You can therefore team the veggies up with dipping humus or mashed avocado.
Tip 2: Zebra sandwich
The more fun, exciting and interesting food looks, the more kids want to eat it! Wholemeal bread is packed with fibre. Try making a zebra sandwich out of 2 different types and colours of wholemeal bread. One could be plain wholemeal, the other wholemeal bread could be packed with seeds. Place one type on top of the other and cut into soldiers. Turn every second one over and pack into a lunchbox container to make a zebra pattern.
Tip 3: Bake, bake, bake
Bake healthy cookies or muffins and use wholemeal flour or oat flour instead of plain white flour. For a gluten free option, try rice flour. To increase the fibre content even more, add sultanas, bananas or chopped apple (with the skin on) to the mix.
Tip 4: Sweet and delicious
Date balls are jam packed with fibre, they are sweet (just how kids like them) and filled with other vital nutrients. To make date balls, blend pitted dates in a food processor until soft. Mould a bit at a time into mouthful-sized balls and roll in desiccated coconut until completely covered. Great in any lunch box!
Tip 5: Homemade granola bars
Granola bars are exceptionally high in fibre as they contain nuts, seeds, dried fruits and oats. This combination makes them a deliciously covert lunch box fibre addition. Granola bars can be bought in the store with the added sugars, preservatives and sometimes flavouring. A better and just as easy option is to make them at home.
Here is a very basic granola bar recipe to which you can add seeds and dried fruits of your choice, or any other tasty bits you may take a fancy to. If there are no allergies, you can add nuts. However for school lunch boxes, omit the nuts and increase the seeds a little.
Basic homemade granola bar recipe
You will need:
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup honey
2/3 cup maple syrup (preferably organic)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup diced dried fruit
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup chopped seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds
If you are not using nuts, double the amount of seeds.
Mix all ingredients and press into a rectangular shaped tin. Bake at 160 degrees C for 20 – 25 minutes or until the edges have browned.
When they are ready take them out of the oven and once completely cooled, cut into strips and store in airtight containers.