It’s no big secret that children are picky eaters. If chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese were on the menu every day, how easy parents’ lives would be. But a diet high in processed and refined foods, and low in fruits and veggies has far reaching consequences, especially on little bodies.
First, the more children don’t eat fruits and veggies, the more likely they’ll not want to eat them later in life.
Second, a diet low in fruits and veggies means a diet low in many nutrients and fiber.
Third, when children don’t eat enough fruits and veggies, they get constipated.
A recent study found that primary school children who didn’t like fruits and vegetables were 13 times more likely to develop functional constipation than children who did like fruits and veggies. As a parent, you might not even realize your child is constipated. Maybe your children are in school or day care, so you can’t keep track of every potty break. Ask about their bowel movements. At least one healthy bowel movement daily (quantity counts!) is an indication that they are not constipated.
Studies are finding that constipation in children is increasing. This is largely due to dietary habits, including water intake. Children who drank less than 400mL (13.5 ounces) of fluid daily were also more likely to be constipated.
Be persistent in trying new veggies from time to time. Children’s tastes change, and often, a veggie that was detested last month seems to go down without a hitch the next. For the pickiest of eaters, there are many recipes out there that help you “hide” the veggies by adding them to other foods in stealthy ways. You may even find yourself trying new veggies by using these tricks.
In addition, a fiber supplement can help increase stool bulk and promote bowel regularity. Look for a great tasting fruit and veggie fiber that can be mixed into a smoothie or added to juice.