I don’t need a crystal ball to predict you might not be getting all the fiber you need. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 gramsU.S. Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2016, from http://1.usa.gov/1jOlN84 and while it can be easy to get 25 grams of other things (like sugar – a 16oz soda will give you that and 31 grams more, in factShow Foods. (n.d.). Show Foods. Beverages, carbonated, cola, fast-food cola. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from http://1.usa.gov/1WaSEXS) most of us are simply not getting enough fiber.
Don’t worry, your fiber future is bright and you can get enough. I’ll show you how with a few simple ways to help you add more fiber to your day and avoid the pitfalls of adding too much, too soon.
First, let’s talk about why you want to set your sights on getting enough.
- Fiber helps support proper digestion. There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. Getting down to brass tacks, soluble fiber becomes a gel-like consistency and helps to move things along your digestive tract, and insoluble fiber provides roughage, which helps bulk things up and can help to reduce the likelihood of constipation.Dietary Fiber: MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Retrieved May 01, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dietaryfiber.html
- Peas, citrus fruits, barley and carrots have soluble fiber, while whole wheat flour, oat bran, wheat bran, nuts, and cauliflower have insoluble fiber. Lucky for us, many foods have a combination of both types of fiber including oats, apples with the skin on, and beans.Nutrition and healthy eating. (n.d.). Retrieved May 01, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/fiber/ART-20043983?p=1 Rather than worrying specifically about the different types of fiber, look to add a variety of high-fiber foods to your day.
Fiber Faux Pas
- Musical Musing
Whoever coined the term, “beans, beans, the musical fruit” must have added fiber into their diet too quickly. Adding fiber too quickly can lead to digestive discomfort including gas and bloating. Start off slow, incrementally increasing your consumption, and spread your intake out over the day to allow your body time to adjust.
- Drink Up
Often, we think of adding more fiber when we’re experiencing less than stellar digestion and elimination (read: constipation). While adding more fiber, especially if you’re not getting enough, can be good, it’s important to increase your water intake as well. Fiber absorbs water so the more you eat, the more you’ll want to reach for a glass of the cool, clear stuff.
Are You Getting Enough?
Two pieces of whole grain toast for breakfast, a salad with two cups of spinach for lunch, an apple for a snack, and a veggie-packed dinner with 2 cups of cooked green beans. Sounds like a high-fiber kind of day, right? Maybe not. Even with all of these healthy choices you’re still only getting 16 grams of fiber.SuperTracker: My Foods. My Fitness. My Health. (n.d.). Retrieved May 01, 2016, from https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/myrecipe.aspx
How-To Reach More than 25 Grams in One Meal Plan
- Start Off On The Right Foot
Instead of skipping breakfast wake up with 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal made with water or almond milk, topped with one cup of raspberries and get 10 grams of fiber. Want to know what’s berry nice? The majority of that fiber is coming from the raspberries so feel free to enjoy those berries.
- Double Down
Looking for a mid-morning nosh? Shake up this high fiber smoothie and enjoy four grams of fiberShow Foods. (n.d.). Show Foods. Oat Bran, Raw. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from http://1.usa.gov/1S4u5dJ from ¼ cup oat bran or 2 tablespoons of whole flaxseeds2 Tbsp Flaxseeds (whole)=4 grams fiber. Add a scoop of deliciously satisfying Vega® Essentials, which contains four grams of fiber from inulin per serving, and double that to eight grams.
- Whole Lotta Lentils
Lunch like you mean it and make a salad so good it should be insured (with lentils). Make a Mediterranean-inspired lentil salad with 1/4 cup lentils, diced cherry tomatoes, olives, and cucumber. Top it with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing and snag more than five grams of fiberShow Foods. (n.d.). Show Foods. Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from http://1.usa.gov/1WEx3rh.
- Snacks on Snacks
Opt for crunchy popcorn to add fiber to snack time. Three cups of air popped popcorn or one black bean brownie offers over three grams of fiberShow Foods. (n.d.). Show Foods. Snacks, popcorn, air-popped. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from http://1.usa.gov/1U1lj1n. Yes, fiber can taste good!
- Dinner’s Ready
Get out your casserole dish and added veggies like broccoli to your favorite casserole recipe to finish off your day with the goodness of fiber. One cup of chopped, cooked broccoli gives you five grams of satiating fiber8. Show Foods. (n.d.). Show Foods. Broccoli, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from http://1.usa.gov/1VxiUNK .
How do you meet your daily fiber needs?