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Fibre for plant-based children (infants and toddlers): A Guide to Finding the Right Balance

The transition to solid foods is an exciting yet confusing time for parents. One of the many questions that arise is: how much fibre does my growing plant-based bub or toddler need? The answer lies in understanding their unique nutritional and digestive needs and striking a healthy balance.

fibre for plant-based children

Understanding Fibre’s Role in Your Child's Diet

Fibre, found in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains, acts like a cleaner for your child's digestive system, keeping things moving smoothly. There are two key types:

  • Soluble Fibre: Makes them feel full and promotes easy digestion.

  • Insoluble Fibre: Adds bulk to their stool, aiding in regularity.

Why Fibre Matters for Growing Bodies

Fibre plays a vital role in your child's well-being:

  • Gut Health: Fibre supports the growth of good bacteria, leading to a happy gut.

  • Regularity: It helps prevent constipation, keeping things moving comfortably.

  • Feeling Full: Fibre promotes satiety, ensuring your little one feels satisfied for longer periods.

Balancing Fibre Intake for Tiny Tummies

Bubs and toddlers have smaller stomachs and appetites. Therefore, prioritising nutrient-dense foods is crucial. Excessive fibre can fill them up quickly, leaving less room for essential nutrients like protein, fat, and energy – all critical for healthy development, especially during the crucial first year. Too much fibre can also lead to digestive discomfort like gas and bloating.

Fibre Journey Milestones for Your Little One

Here's a guide to introducing fibre at different stages:

  • 6-8 Months: Begin slowly with smooth, well-cooked options like mashed avocado, sweet potato, or steamed broccoli.

  • 9-12 Months: Gradually introduce finely chopped, peeled fruits and vegetables, along with soaked and well-cooked legumes.

  • 1-2 Years: Slowly increase fibre intake with whole grains (in small quantities), ground nuts and seeds (for safety reasons), and mashed or rinsed beans.

Additional Tips for a Balanced Diet

  • Focus on variety and balance: Aim for a colourful plate with a range of healthy foods rather than exceeding recommended fibre targets.

  • Pay attention to your baby's cuesFussiness, tummy troubles, or a decrease in milk intake might signal too much fibre.

  • Adjust accordingly: You know your little one best! Don't be afraid to adapt based on their needs.

Maximising Nutrition for Your Child

  • Peel fruits and vegetables with thick skins and cook them until soft.

  • Refined grains, like white rice and pasta, are okay, especially in the first year.

  • Include healthy fats like avocado and nut butters, along with iron-rich foods, in meals.

  • Soak and remove the outer skins from beans and legumes to assist with digestion.

  • Offer Vitamin C-rich foods regularly

  • Ensure adequate water intake throughout the day.

Remember, Every Child Develops Differently

Every child progresses at their own pace. If you have any concerns about your child's growth or digestive health, consulting your paediatrician is the best course of action.

For more personalised nutrition advise, make an appointment with our plant-based Dietitian today.



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