Our children also suffer from low fibre diets. The American Health Foundation offers a simple formula for how much fibre a child needs: add 5 to your child’s age for their daily fibre requirement in grams. For example, a 10-year-old should be taking in 15 grams per day. The majority of children are well below this recommended intake.
Foods high in fibre fill tummies with fewer calories, so fibre is a key to maintaining a healthy weight. Fiber lowers blood cholesterol levels and reduces heart attack risk, and while these are not big threats to a 5-year-old, your child’s eating habits today will contribute to a lifetime of good or bad health. Fibre, especially soluble fibre, also appears to protect against certain cancers, and Type 2 diabetes, a growing problem among children. Of course fibre also relieves constipation and promotes bowel health.
Add fibre to your child’s diet with Chia!
Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia! Chia is valuable for much more than growing green “hair” on Chia Pets®. Since ancient times, the Aztecs , Mayas, and Tehuantapec, South American natives, have valued Chia, the tiny seed of the Salvia hispanica plant. Native messengers who ran long distances between villages over rough terrain would chew
Chia seeds to maintain their strength and for endurance. Chia seeds have twice the protein of other grains and 3-10 times the Omega-3 oils. In fact, the name Chia is derived from the Aztec word ‘chian’ meaning “oily”. Only two tablespoons of Chia provides 10 grams of dietary fibre!
While research on Chia continues, results are reaffirming traditional knowledge about the benefits of this tiny superfood. Add Chia to a wide variety of recipes. It is gluten-free and has a slightly nutty essence, without the nut allergy, and mixes well with other ingredients to enhance flavours. Add a few seeds to cereal, salads, trail mix, yogurt, or to your child’s favourite baked goods recipe. Chia can be lightly toasted in the oven to bring out its nutty aroma and then added to your favourite main course dinner recipe.
One of the best things you can do to help your child thrive is to increase the amount of fibre they consume. Begin slowly, with a teaspoon or a sprinkle here and there, because it takes time for the digestive system to adapt to extra roughage. Too much too quickly can cause gas and bloating. Also encourage your child to drink more fluids, especially water. By enriching their diets with Chia you can help them to make a healthier cha-cha-cha-choice!