Fort Worth, Texas,
07:04 AM

Fiber on the grill

Your kids will eat this

It’s that time again:  grilling season!  While meats are usually the star of the grilling show, why not try grilling some vegetables for the supporting roles?  Vegetables are a great way to pack nutrients into your meal. They’re also great sources of fiber, a nutrient that most American’s don’t get enough of. One study says that nine out of 10 children aren't getting enough fiber.

Fiber is a part of plant foods (ex: whole grains, vegetables, fruit) that our bodies can’t digest.

There are two types: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is most helpful for lowering cholesterol, and insoluble fiber is like a scrub brush that helps to prevent constipation. Most foods deliver a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Most children and adults alike aren’t getting enough fiber in their diet each day. Are you?

Here is a table of recommended intakes:


Fiber per day

1-3 years


4-8 years


Girls 9-13 years


Boys 9-13 years


Women 14+ years


Men 14+ years


To increase fiber intake, eat more vegetables, choose fruit instead of fruit juice, and choose whole grains such as brown rice instead of white rice. Be careful to increase fiber slowly, and increase water intake as you do to avoid bloating and gas.  

So, add some fiber to your summertime cookouts!

Grilling vegetables adds a new dimension to their flavor. Slice vegetables with skin still intact, brush with some olive oil, season to taste, and toss on the grill. You can add grilled bell pepper or onion to your sandwiches, or make a side of grilled vegetables to go with your meal. Try this recipe to get started.

If grilling vegetables doesn’t appeal to you, here are a few other options:

  • Try a variety of vegetables dipped in salsa, hummus or light ranch dressing.
  • Add a fruit salad for a side or dessert.
  • Choose whole wheat buns for sandwiches.

* Moshfegh A, Goldman J, Cleveland L. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002: Usual Nutrient Intake From Foods as Compared to Dietary Reference Intakes. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2005.


About the author

Lauren Mullins is a clinical dietitian for the Endocrinology department’s REACH clinic at Cook Children’s.

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