Fibre & whole grains
Fibre is found in plant foods like whole grain bread, cereals, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. It’s the part of the plant that passes through the small intestine without being digested contributing to gut health. There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre characteristically forms a gel in water. This viscous substance slows down digestion playing a role in making you feel fuller for longer and controlling blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fibre passes through the gastrointestinal tract relatively unchanged. It absorbs water and contributes to the bulk of bowel movements.
Both forms of fibre are important for:
- Bowel regularity and gut health
- Prevention of heart disease through cholesterol lowering properties
- Prevention of diabetes and obesity
- Prevention of constipation
Where is soluble fibre found:
- Beans and legumes
Where is insoluble fibre found:
- Wheat bran
- Skins of fruit and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
While fibre is vital for healthy digestion, it should be combined with adequate daily water intake and exercise.
How much fibre do children need?
|Gender||Age Group||Adequate Intake|
Where can children get fibre?
|1 medium apple||3|
|1 medium orange||3.5|
|½ cup frozen mixed vegetables||4.7|
|120g Mashed Potato||1.7|
|2 slices wholemeal bread||4|
|1 cup cooked wholemeal pasta||8.5|
|6 wholemeal crackers||2|
|1 fruit and nut muesli bar||3|
|2 sweet biscuits||0.5|
|40g All Bran||11.5|
Simple ways to boost fibre intake:
• Use wholemeal or wholegrain bread instead of white varieties (unless fortified)
• Select wholegrain breakfast cereals over highly refined and processed choices
• Choose whole grain crackers as a snack instead of sweet biscuits or plain crackers
• Use wholemeal pasta and brown rice instead of white varieties
• Replace 1/2 – half the white flour in your recipes with wholemeal flour
• Have 2 serves of fruit, 5 serves of vegetables and a handful (30g) of nuts every day
• Add kidney beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans or lentils to pasta sauces, casseroles and bakes