Being constipated can make your child feel full. They may not want to eat but they need to eat enough to keep growing. There are several reasons why your child may be constipated. Some of the most common include:
Not enough dietary fiber
Lack of regular meal times
Not enough fluid intake
Lack of regular toileting times
Lack of enough exercise
Anxiousness or tiredness
Dietary fiber is a substance found in plants that is hard to digest. Fiber helps move food through your intestines and out of your body which helps keep your digestive system healthy. Having a high-fiber diet can help prevent and treat constipation.
Insoluble Fiber – moves bulk through the intestines, promotes regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and removes toxic waste through the colon in less time.
Food Sources of insoluble fiber:
- Vegetables such as dark green leafy vegetables and green beans
- Whole wheat products
- Seeds and nuts
- Fruit and root vegetable skins.
Soluble fiber – binds with fatty acids and prolongs stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly.
Food sources of insoluble fiber:
- Oat/oat bran
- Dried beans and peas
- Flax seed
Tips to Increase Fiber Intake
Drink plenty of fluids – at least 8 cups every day. The general guideline for daily fluid intake is 1 ½ oz. of fluid per pound of body weight of 100cc/kilogram.
Gradually add fiber. Too much fiber added too quickly may cause gas, cramping, bloating, or diarrhea.
Eat fresh and dried fruits, 100% fruit juices, and vegetables. Raw fruits and vegetables have more fiber than cooked, canned foods, or juice. The peelings on fruit and vegetable contribute fiber.
Limit bananas, cheese, chocolate and fried foods.
Use whole grain foods such as: whole-wheat bread instead of white bread, cornbread muffin instead of a white roll, brown rice instead of white rice, whole-wheat pasta instead of enriched pasta.
Scan food labels for bread and cereal products listing whole grain or whole wheat as the first ingredient.
Look for cooked and ready-to-eat cereals with at least 2 grams of fiber per serving.
Increase fiber in meat dishes by adding pinto beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, bran, or oatmeal.
Limit the amount of dairy in the diet, they provide little fiber. Boost fiber by adding fresh fruit, whole grains, bran cereals, nuts or seeds to yogurt or cottage cheese.
Fiber recommendations for Children
Girls 9-13 yrs
Boys 9-13 yrs
Girls 14-18 yrs
Boys 14-18 yrs
2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
High fiber recipes can help prevent constipation, but only if served with additional fluids. The extra fiber means you need extra fluids to help soften stools. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids. The textures of these recipes may need to be adapted to meet the needs of your child.
Tips for Managing Constipation
Establish a regular time for going to the bathroom. The best times are usually 30 minutes after a meal. Allow enough time in the bathroom – up to 15 minutes depending upon the child’s age. Relax by reading or listening to music in the bathroom.
Do no delay when you have the urge to go to the bathroom.
Drinking warm prune juice or another warm beverage ahead of time can stimulate the urge. Prune juice can be mixed with other unsweetened fruit juices to increase the acceptance for the prune juice.
Because high-fiber foods are usually low in calories, consult a registered dietitian to make sure your child’s other nutritional goals are being met.
Blend or mash table foods to an appropriate texture for your child. These will contain more fiber than baby food in a jar.
Formulas with fiber are available for the tube-fed child. Your doctor or dietitian can tell you which ones also meet your child’s other nutritional needs. Formulas with fiber can greatly relieve constipation in tube-fed children.
High Fiber Bran Muffin Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 3 cup All Bran cereal (2 cups will be cooked with water, save one cup to be added)
- ¼ cup butter-unsalted
- ¼ cup applesauce-unsweetened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup All Purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a muffin tin.
- Boil 1 cup of water.
- Mix boiling water with 2 cups of All Bran cereal in a bowl. Set Aside.
- Mix together butter, sugar, applesauce, and eggs. Then add buttermilk.
- Next add baking soda, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, and salt.
- Mix in All Bran and water mixture.
- Lastly, add 1 cup of All Bran cereal. Mix until well blended.
- Fill each muffin tin ¾ full of batter.
- Bake 10-12 for mini muffin tin or 13-15 minutes for regular sized muffins.