You May Need To Increase Your Fiber Intake
If you are like most people, you are getting about half of the dietary fiber that your body really needs to work properly. So what are some simple ways that you can double your dietary fiber intake to reach the recommended daily level?
The average adult should consume around 25-30 grams of fiber every day. That doesn’t sound like much, but it can be hard to do with the typical diet. The difference between that 25 gram target and reality is not good. In fact, the average adult is only consuming around 10-15 grams of fiber every day. That means that they are falling short by about 50%. To fix this problem, a person would need to double his fiber intake every day to meet the minimum recommended 25 gram level.
Here are some simple changes that you may be able to make to get that done.
How To Increase Fiber In Your Meals
Breakfast is an important time to get some fiber, and for a couple of reasons. First, foods high in fiber are quite natural at breakfast. These include whole grain cereals, breads, and english muffins as well as oatmeal and fresh fruit.
If you changed your morning breakfast routine from 2 eggs and a slice of wheat toast to a cup of oatmeal with 30 blueberries on top you would go from 1.9 to 5 grams of fiber – an increase of 3.1 grams.
Oatmeal and whole grain cereals that are low in sugar are both excellent breakfast choices and fruit always works well for breakfast, but berries are an excellent choice since they are high in fiber and full of antioxidants as a bonus.
The great thing about a banana as a mid-morning snack is that it' ready to go where you go. Just bring it with you to the office, in the car to pick up the kids, or let it wait for you on the kitchen counter. You can eat it on the run and let the fiber count continue to increase.
Lunch is a bit harder for some people when it comes to fiber. That’s because many people are on the go and at a restaurant where the choices are more difficult and seem to be beyond our control. For the office worker or person out to eat with friends, there is also the peer pressure to order along with the rest of the table.
However, if you skip the cheeseburger and replace it with a cup of vegetable soup and a bowl of fruit your fiber intake would go from 2 to 5 grams– an increase of 3 grams. That's not a small change and it will keep you on track as you head into the afternoon.
Fruit is your friend when you are working to increase your fiber intake and the afternoon snack is a great time for it. If you normally grab a Snickers (or even worse, those goodies someone brought into the office today) but replace that with an apple you’d increase your fiber intake by 3.4 grams, from 1 to 4.4. Looking for some protein instead? Try about 30 almonds" target="_blank">almonds for the same benefit or substitute peanuts or walnuts.
Think of the afternoon snack as a great opportunity. By adding fiber to your diet here you will be less hungry for dinner which is going to save you some calories at that time. Don't skip the afternoon snack. You need the fiber to stay on track.
Let’s leave dinner alone. You’re already getting your veggies at dinner right? If you’re shaking your head no, this is an easy place to add fiber. Check out broccoli for a nice boost, but most any vegetable will do. Since we've focused on fruit for other snacks, dinner is a great time to eat a true vegetable or two. An average dinner with a side of vegetables will get you 5 grams of fiber. Remember, according to the new food plate guidance we want half of our plate to be full of fruits and veggies.
Well, let’s see. With breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack, and dinner you’ve added about 22.5 grams of fiber today. You’re home free! Now all you need is a simple snack to get you over the goal.
A couple of options that work well at night are a few cups of popcorn, a handful of nuts, or yes, a piece of fruit. Any of these should easily get you over the 25 gram mark.
It can be done! If you chip away at your fiber goal all day long it is not hard to get to your target.
So how did we do it? It’s really not that hard. By making sure each meal and snack throughout the day includes fiber, there is no need for any drastic meal that is super high in fiber to reach 25 or more grams per day.
You do need to watch calories in addition to fiber however. Anyone can eat lots of fiber on a 4,000 calorie diet. What you want is to get your fiber without increasing your calories. To keep calories under control look for fiber in fruits and vegetables. Those get you the most bang for your buck by being high in fiber and low in calories. Nuts are great for fiber, but watch the portion size as they are high in calories. Don’t let that discourage you though. Nuts are a healthy snack and you should feel free to eat them. Just eat them in moderation.
If you can meet this goal every day you will find that you feel full longer, eat less, digest food better, and avoid the blood sugar crash that may be hitting you in the mid morning or mid afternoon. A diet rich in fiber is a healthy diet indeed and will also help to lower your cholesterol. That's good news for your heart.
What steps can you take to increase your fiber intake?