Cereal, Is That All There Is to Fiber?
My journey to put fiber into my diet, first led me to my local grocery store. I stood in the cereal aisle reading label after label of cereal boxes for their fiber content. I bought the box that I determined had the highest content. I got it home, tried it once or twice, and then it sat in the pantry until I remembered that it was there and fed it to the birds and small animals that come faithfully to my door, knowing that I often have high fiber food offerings that I just can't commit to eating. There had to be a tastier way to get fiber into my diet. I was determined to find this path, so I began to research fiber.
Fiber has come into its own in recent years, especially as a weight loss aid. Eat a diet high in fiber and you will feel fuller longer and therefore eat less, appears to be the thinking. It makes sense. Fiber will also lower your 'bad' cholesterol, increase your 'good' cholesterol, regulate your digestive system, help stabilize your blood sugar, help lower your blood pressure, and improve absorption of vitamins and minerals.
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Foods like oats, apples, apricots, berries, plums, pumpkin, figs and beans are high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel like mass around food particles which prevents cholesterol from being absorbed and it regulates blood sugar. Foods like sweet potatoes, salad greens, broccoli, cabbage and celery are high in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is the indigestible part of plants. It makes you fill full when you eat it and it helps regulate your digestive system. Experts recommend that you consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily.
High Fiber Foods
So it appears that cereal is not the only food that contains fiber. Fiber rich foods cover a variety of food categories; from fruits and vegetables to grains and seeds. The list is quite lengthy and include: barley, brussel sprouts, bananas, carrots, grapefruits, pears, oranges, raisins, potatoes with skin, dates, whole wheat, chick peas, corn, oat bran, wheat bran, lentils, cauliflower, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, spinach. After discovering such a large list of fiber rich foods, I was now ready to put fiber into my daily diet, not with cereal, but with delicious food that contains fiber and is easy to prepare. Please enjoy some of my favorite fiber rich recipes.
Curried Chicken and Vegetables (7.9 grams of fiber)
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thickly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, thickly sliced
- 1 pound small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
- 2 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
- 4 cups broccoli florets
In a medium bowl, stir together the turmeric, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, sugar and pepper. Add chicken, toss to coat.
In a non stick Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is tender.
Add 1/2 cup water, the carrots, potatoes, peanut butter and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring t a boil. Cook until the carrots begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken, and cook until it is no longer pink. Stir in 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover and cook until the chicken and the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add broccoli; cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Spicy Tomato-Apple Gazpacho (5.4 grams of fiber)
- 3 cups tomato juice
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 large apple (unpeeled), cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/3 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons red pepper sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
In a blender, combine the tomato juice, tomato paste, apple, 1/2 cup of the onion, garlic, almonds, vinegar, red pepper sauce, chili powder, coriander, and salt; process until blended but not pureed (it should still have a chunky texture).
Pour the gazpacho into a serving bowl and stir in 1/2 cup water and the tomato chunks; chill.
Serve the soup topped with the remaining 1/4 cup onion and the avocado.