What can you do to help keep your kids from getting constipated? Lori Mahajan, MD, a pediatric constipation expert at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, shares some tips to prevent constipation in children.
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1. Include fiber
How much fiber is good enough? To figure out how many grams of fiber your child should consume each day, add five to their age. For instance, a four-year-old needs 5+4, or at least 9 grams of fiber each day. Adults, on the other hand, need a maximum of 35 grams per day. To add fiber, offer prunes, apricots, plums, raisins, peas, beans, and broccoli to your child.
2. Don’t eliminate milk
Excessive dairy intake may be a problem, but cutting milk entirely from a child’s diet will not clear up constipation — and it will deprive your child of much-needed calcium.
3. Drink water
Make sure your child not only eats a balanced diet, but also drinks plenty of water. Sometimes, kids resist drinking water but if you can make it fun with a special cup and straw or by flavoring the water with lemon or even a cucumber slice, this can help.
4. Limit bananas, rice and cheese
Keep an eye on your child’s intake of constipating foods. Bananas, rice and cheese are the big offenders because in large quantities, they contribute to constipation.
5. Encourage exercise
Movement is good for kids for so many reasons. It not only creates good habits, releases pent up energy and prevents obesity, but it also helps kids’ bowels function.
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