A 2 year old girl in my practice has constipation. Mom brings her to McDonalds every day after school for nuggets, fries and a soda. A review of her diet at home reveals that she has three 8 ounce bottles of fruit juice a day. It has no fiber just like the chicken nuggets and French fries and soda. Mom also gives her a 8 ounce bottle of rice milk at bedtime. The majority of this child’s calories are coming from nutrition that has no fiber and is processed to remove the fiber. Her fluid intake is also low for her age.
It is true that you are what you eat- if you eat a diet devoid of fiber, your bowel movements will tend to be hard and difficult to pass. You also need to have an adequate amount of fluid in your diet- and not as sugar drinks. The more sugar drinks in the diet, the less you will need to eat solid nutritious foods.
I recommended mom to dilute the fruit juices in half. I also suggested she begin to give vegetables – even if she has to dip them in sauces to make them more palatable. It may take multiple tries to get the child to find vegetables she will like. Often in kids, it could take up to ten different presentations of a particular vegetable before a child will eat it.
At present, McDonalds has added apple slices to their kid’s menus and it is a healthier choice and I’m glad to see that there are higher fiber options for kids in fast food restaurants.