Add More Fiber to Your Diet
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Are you getting enough fiber in your diet? Probably not. Are you totally fed-up with those poor excuses for fiber in salt-packed canned vegetables? Fortunately, incorporating the recommended amount of fiber into your diet doesn't have to mean eating salads every day, if you follow these steps!
- Figure out how much more fiber you need. Keep a food diary to record what you eat, and how much of it per day. Look up each food item on the Internet and see how much fiber each one contains. The average American gets 14 grams of fiber a day but here's what you're supposed to be getting:
- Men under 50, 38 grams of fiber per day
- Men over 50, 30 grams of fiber per day
- Women under 50, 25 grams of fiber per day
- Women over 50, 21 grams of fiber per day
- Add fiber to your diet slowly. If you are currently getting 10 grams of fiber a day, don't jump to 35 grams of fiber the next day. You need to give the natural bacteria in your digestive system time to adapt to your new fiber intake. What you'll want to do is make the following changes over at least a few weeks.
- Start with breakfast. If you can get a fiber-packed breakfast routine going, you can probably add a solid 5-10 grams of fiber to your daily diet.
- Eat a cereal with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.
- If you have a favorite cereal you just can't let go of, add few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran or mix it with a high fiber cereal.
- If you like to eat toast in the morning, make it whole wheat bread. Alternatively, there are brands of bread and English muffins that have 5 or more grams of fiber per slice.
- Bake muffins that incorporate crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran.
- Add fruits like berries, raisins, or bananas to your cereal (or over your pancakes or waffles) to increase your fiber by 1-2 grams.
- Substitute oat flour and flax for white flour in pancake recipes for an additional 1-2 grams of fiber per serving.
- If you're making pancakes or waffles from scratch, substitute wheat bran for a third of the all purpose flour.
- Substitute old fashioned steel cut oats for quick microwave oatmeal for an additional 2-4 grams of fiber per serving.
- Leave the skin on! Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet will add fiber, but only if you eat the skin, because that's where all the fiber is. So don't peel those apples before you eat them. If you're eating potatoes, try to leave the skin in the dish (such as if making baked or mashed potatoes) or if you peel them, make a snack out of them, such as baked garlic Parmesan peels. It's also worth knowing that keeping the skin on potatoes when you cook them will help keep more vitamins and minerals in the flesh. Just don't eat any parts of skin that are green.
- Eat more split pea soup. Split peas is a fiber "power food". Just one cup of them contains 16.3 grams of protein! Split pea soup isn't your only option, however. The following recipes also use split peas:
- How to Make Hazelnut & Split Pea Vegan Roast
- How to Make Sunflower Seed and Split Pea Spread
- How to Make Aush - This also incorporates a cup of kidney beans; 1 cup of boiled red kidney beans will give you an additional 13.1 grams of fiber.
- How to Make Shorbat Rumman Iraqi Pomegranate Soup (Vegetarian)
- Split pea burgers
- Dahl Palak (Spinach And Split Peas)
- Add crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran to casseroles, salads, cooked vegetables, and baked products (meatloaf, breads, muffins, casseroles, cakes, cookies). Alternatively, find ways to work in ground flax seeds or coconut flour, both of which are very good sources of fiber.
- Eat whole grains. Whole grains are higher in fiber because they haven't had the outer skin removed through processing. Not only will this offer the health benefits of added fiber, but it can also help you lose belly fat. A diet rich in whole grains changes the glucose and insulin response in your body, which hastens the melting of fat, and visceral fat, that deep layer of fat, is easier for your body to burn than the subcutaneous fat under your skin (the fat that you can see and grab).
- Replace white bread with whole wheat bread. If that's too far of a stretch for you, have sandwiches with one slice of white bread and one slice of whole wheat bread. If you bake your own bread, substitute whole-grain flour for half or all the white flour. (Use a bit more yeast or let the dough rise longer, and increase baking powder by 1 teaspoon for every 2 cups of whole-grain flour.)
- Eat whole wheat pasta. Again, if you don't like the taste, mix it with your regular pasta, or eat it in dishes with heavy sauces like macaroni and cheese.
- Have brown or wild rice instead of white rice. Alternatively, throw some barley in with your white rice for more fiber content. You'll barely taste the barley, especially if you season the rice.
- Eat more beans. Beans are generally very high in fiber, as well as in protein (which is good for if you're building muscle).
- Eat more nuts. Like beans, nuts are a tasty way to get additional fiber. Peanuts and almonds are especially great sources of fiber. A 1/4 cup of almonds has 4 grams of fiber in it.
- Munch on high-fiber snacks: popcorn, yogurt mixed with granola, fruit, whole grain crackers (with hummus!), edamame.
- There are two different basic types of fiber: soluble, meaning that it dissolves in water and absorbs it, and insoluble, meaning that it does not dissolve in water. You want to get a good mix of soluble and insoluble fiber, because both help your digestive health in different ways. Wheat bran is an example of insoluble fiber, and beans are an example of soluble fiber. Some nutrition labels will indicate whether their fiber is soluble or insoluble.X
- Drink plenty of water. If you increase your fiber intake without getting enough water, well, it's kind of like a "dry sponge" effect...
- Consult your doctor or nutritionist if you are under dietary restrictions due to illness such as kidney failure. Many whole grain foods contain an excess of phosphorous.
Related Tips and Steps
Sources and Citations
- Old Fashioned Oatmeal vs Instant Oatmeal