Increasing Fiber and Water

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A.H. Balcom, MD
C.T. Durkee, MD
H.O. Mesrobian, MD
Increasing Fiber and Water
For any consistent bowel program to work (surgical or non-surgical) increasing fiber and water in your diet is essential!

Constipation
Constipation can occur for many reasons. Most often it is due to a lack of fiber and water in your diet.



Constipating Foods
If your child suffers from chronic constipation, you may want to limit some of these foods:

  • Whole and 2% Milk
  • Cookies, Cake, White Bread
  • Sugar-coated Cereals
  • Unripe bananas, applesauce
  • Chocolate, Chocolate Candy
  • Deep Fried Food

Water
Adequate fluid intake is needed to soften stool and allow easy passage. It is very important to encourage enough fluid and fiber in your child's diet. It is very important to drink adequate fluid to prevent constipation. You can help your child drink enough fluid each day by knowing his or her needs.

Weight____________________Fluid/day_____
10 lbs_____________________16 oz. _(2 cups)___
20 lbs_____________________30 oz. _(3.75 cups)_
30 lbs_____________________40 oz. _(5 cups)___
40 lbs_____________________48 oz. _(6 cups)___
50 lbs_____________________52 oz. _(6.5 cups)__
60 lbs_____________________55 oz. _(7 cups)___
80 lbs_____________________61 oz. _(7.5 cups)__
100 lbs____________________67 oz. _(8.25 cups)_
120 lbs____________________73 oz. _(9 cups)___
140 lbs____________________79 oz. _(10 cups)__
150 lbs____________________82 oz. _(10.25 cups)

Fiber
Fiber comes from plant foods and cannot be digested by humans. Therefore, it passes through the digestive tract mostly intact and promotes regular bowel movements.

The general "rule of thumb" to estimate how much fiber your child needs in one day is:

  • Child's Age + 5 = Grams of fiber needed daily

  • Adults need 25 - 35 Grams of fiber daily.
Caution: When increasing the fiber in your child's diet, only increase by a few grams each day. Waiting a few days can help your child get use to the fiber and then continue increasing. Increasing fiber too quickly can cause diarrhea.

High Fiber Foods
  1. Fruit Juice - Some fruit juices have a laxative effect from the type of sugar they contain. Offering these types of juices often can be very helpful in speeding stool passage. It can also make them softer.
    • Prune Juice
    • Pear Nectar
    • Cherry Juice
    • Apple Juice
    • White Grape Juice
  2. Cereal - Recommended Servings: 1 or more each day.
    • 1-2 grams/serving
      • Shredded Wheat (1 Biscuit)
      • Crispy Wheats N Raisins (1 cup)
      • Grape Nuts (1/4 cup)
    • 3-4 grams/serving
      • Wheat Chex (2/3 cup)
      • Nutri Grain (2/3 cup)
      • Total (1 cup)
      • Wheaties (1 cup)
      • Frosted Mini-Wheats (1/2 cup)
      • Oatmeal (cooked)( 2/3 cup)
    • 5-6 grams/serving
      • Bran Flakes (3/4 cup)
      • Corn Bran (2/3 cup)
      • Raisin Bran (3/4 cup)
      • Raisin Nut Bran (1 cup)
      • Bran Chex (2/3 cup)
      • Kellogg's Squares (raisin, strawberry, blueberry, apple) (3/4 cup)
      • Bran Chex (2/3 cup)
    • >7 grams/serving
      • Bran Buds (1/3 cup)
      • All Bran (1/3 cup)
      • Fiber One (1/3 cup)
  3. Vegetables - Recommended Servings: 3 or more each day. Raw vegetables are best. You may need to grate, grind, or chop as choking is a concern for children.
    • 1-2 grams/serving
      • Greens (cooked)(Collard, turnip, mustard) (1/2 cup)
      • Broccoli (1/2 cup)
      • Cauliflower (1/2 cup)
      • Spinach (1/2 cup, cooked) (1 cup, raw)
      • Tomato (1 medium)
      • Cabbage (cooked) (1/2 cup)
      • Carrots (raw) (1/2 cup)
      • Corn (1/2 cup)
      • Beets (1/2 cup)
      • Squash (1/2 cup)
      • Green Beans (1/2 cup)
    • 3-4 grams/serving
      • Sweet Potato (1 medium)
      • Potato with skin (1 medium)
      • Green Peas (1/2 cup)
      • Brussel Sprouts (1/2 cup)
      • Corn-on-the-cob (1 small ear)
    • >5 grams/serving
      • Lima Beans (8 grams/serving) (1/2 cup)
  4. Breads/Grains/Dried Beans and Peas - Recommended Servings: 5-6 servings/day.
    • 1-2 grams/serving
      • Whole Wheat Bread (1 slice)
      • Rye Bread (1 slice)
      • Pumpernickel Bread (1 slice)
      • Corn Tortilla (1 6-inch)
      • Graham Crackers (2 squares)
      • Ry Crisp Crackers (3 crackers)
      • Tortilla Chips (baked) (1 oz.)
      • Nutri-Grain Waffle (plain)(1 waffle)
    • 3-4 grams/serving
      • Whole Wheat Pasta (1/2 cup)
      • Brown Rice (1 cup)
      • Bran Muffin (1 (2 oz.))
      • Whole Wheat Crackers (3-4)
      • Popcorn (3 cups)
      • Nutri-Grain Multi-Bran Waffle (1 waffle)
    • 5-6 grams/serving
      • Kidney Beans (1/2 cup)
      • Pinto Beans (1/2 cup)
      • Navy Beans (1/2 cup)
      • Split Peas (1/2 cup)
      • Chick Peas (1/2 cup)
      • Black-eyed Peas (1/2 cup)
      • Vegetarian Refried Beans (1/2 cup)
      • Baked Beans (1/2 cup)
      • Lentils (1/2 cup)
  5. Fruit - Recommended Servings: 2 or more each day. Any fresh fruit is good. Try to eat fruit with skin. The outer peel has the most fiber.
    • 1-2 grams/serving
      • Plums (1 medium)
      • Peaches (1 medium)
      • Nectarine (1 medium)
      • Raisins (1/4 cup)
      • Kiwifruit (1 medium)
      • Pineapple (Fresh) (1 cup)
      • Banana (ripe) (1 medium)
      • Grapes (15)
    • 3 grams/serving
      • Apple with skin (1 medium)
      • Strawberries (1 cup)
      • Blueberries (1 cup)
      • Blackberries (1 cup)
      • Raspberries (1 cup)
      • Orange (1 medium)
    • 4-5 grams/serving
      • Pear (1 medium)
      • Dried Fruit - Apricots (10 halves)
      • Prunes/Figs (6-8)