So I went back and forth with the title… should I use the word “poop” or maybe say “stay regular”? I decided to stick with “poop” because it is what it is, and as parents, let’s be honest; we use that word more than we ever thought we would prior to having kids. I wrote an article a while back about how poop was stressing me out. My twins were two and were constantly struggling with constipation and not wanting to poop on the toilet. I’d like to say we’ve figured everything out since then, but it is still something we have to work on daily with them.
We have learned to talk with them a lot about pooping and how our bodies need to do it to feel better. We talk with them about foods that will help them poop and try to make sure they get these foods on a regular basis. There is the obvious, Miralax and prune juice (which my girls do get occasionally) but I wanted to make sure they were getting enough fiber in their diets through the food they ate. Fiber, both soluble and insoluble are very important in our digestive systems for different reasons. We need both. Soluble fiber helps slow digestion and it lowers cholesterol and blood glucose. Insoluble fiber helps to make waste heavier and softer. Fiber also helps us to feel full. Now, I’m definitely not a nutritionist or claim to know everything, but I’ve done my fair share of reading and I wanted to share eight foods that are on the top of the list when it comes to fiber and how I incorporate them into my girls’ diets.
- Lentils & Beans – My girls are not huge fans of beans or lentils, but will eat this soup. We also do beans when we eat chili or have Mexican food.
- Chia seeds – One of our MMB writers, Becca, wrote a great article about the benefits of chia seeds and how she incorporates them into her diet. Check it out here. Chia seeds are PACKED with fiber and good omega-3s. My girls love to sprinkle them into their yogurt, or put them on a peanut or almond butter/ banana / jelly sandwich. Trader Joes even makes a peanut butter that has flax and chia seeds already mixed in. We also throw them into our smoothies. You should be able to pick them up at any grocery store, but I usually get mine from Trader Joes.
- Veggies – Everyone knows that vegetables are healthy, but I wanted to let you know which ones are the highest in fiber. I found that peas, broccoli and cauliflower have the highest amounts of fiber. We serve a vegetable with or as a part of our meal every night. Something I’ve found that has helped my girls get interested in eating vegetables is to spice it up a little. They love broccoli if I sprinkle a little shredded cheese over it. Try adding butter or seasoning, experiment!
- Avocados – I was surprised to see avocados on the list. I knew they were a great source of good fat, which is really good for brain health, but I didn’t realize they were also high in fiber. I love avocados and we eat them a lot of different ways in our house. I put them on salads, in sandwiches, on tacos, and if given the opportunity, I would eat homemade guacamole for every meal if I could. We even put them in smoothies! Next time you make a smoothie, throw half an avocado in. I promise, you won’t be able to taste it. It makes your smoothie creamier.
- Berries – Raspberries and blackberries have the highest fiber content. Often times, for dessert, I will throw some berries and part of a banana into a bowl, and put some whipped topping (be careful which kind you buy) on the top. My girls eat them up like candy!
- Leafy greens – Greens like romaine and kale are high in fiber. My girls don’t love salads. They always ask for their salad without lettuce, ha! So we’ve been doing more lettuce wraps and they love them. We do sandwich lettuce wraps, taco lettuce wraps, and we’ve even put their hotdogs in lettuce wraps. You can also throw a handful or kale or spinach in your smoothies! Just imagine a smoothie full of coconut milk, berries, a banana, chia seeds, avocado and a leafy green. That nearly covers all of my suggestions!
- Nuts – Almonds and pecans are the best. I found this nut bar recipe that my girls just love! It’s jam packed with ingredients that are high in fiber, and contains NO artificial sweeteners or processed sugar. Other ingredients include dates (which you can freeze) and coconut. My girls also eat these for dessert or a snack. They are full of fiber and protein!
- Other tips – This last category is going to be a mixture of ideas that include other options besides food. Prune and pear juice have helped my girls a lot, but because of the sugar content, we also try to keep them drinking as much water as possible. We try to limit the milk (dairy) and keep them drinking water. Keep your kids active. Activity helps their digestive tract and so many other things!
I know this is a big issue for so many parents and it can cause a lot of stress. I hope some of these suggestions will help you! I’d love to know if I’ve missed anything that has really worked for you. Please share in the comments below!