Eat Your Fiber!
Fiber is one of those things that we know we’re supposed to consume, but most of us don’t really pay attention to how much we’re truly getting. Soluble fiber is beneficial for keeping you fuller longer and also helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Insoluble fiber helps keep you regular by making your stool softer and heavier, allowing it to pass through.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that men under 50 consume 38 grams of fiber each day and men over 50 consume 30g. Women are advised to consume 25 grams under age 50 and those over should aim for 21grams.
Here are some easy ways to increase your intake without resorting to supplements.
- Liven up your salad with beans! 1/2 cup adds an additional 7.5 g
- Don’t settle for less than “whole.” If the first ingredient in grain products isn’t “whole” (ex: whole grain), skip it. Other terms (multi or seven-grain, cracked, stone-ground wheat, or enriched wheat, etc) mean that the product is more processed resulting in less fiber (not to mention less minerals).
- Try oat bran instead of oatmeal for 2 g more fiber. Even better, add ¼ cup chopped nuts for 4 more grams.
- Swap a sweet potato for regular. Sweet potatoes have 2 g more fiber plus beta carotene. Keep the skin on and make delicious roasted “fries.”
- Skip the breadcrumbs. Choose uncooked oatmeal in meatloaf and meatballs. To add 8g, use 3/4 cup of oats per pound of ground meat.
- Top your treats with fruit. Instead of syrup or sprinkles, add 1/2 cup berries. Raspberries provide 4 g of fiber and strawberries and blueberries add 2 g per ½ cup.
- Swap real nuts for granola bars. Compared to 1 g of fiber which will leave you hungry later,¼ cup nuts provide 4g of satisfying fiber.
- Swap the chips for crudités. Hummus and salsa aren’t only meant for chips. For 3g of fiber, choose 1 cup of chopped veggies.
- Add flax! Whether you use a “flax egg” in baking or add it to yogurt, 2 tbsp will provide 4g of fiber.