Tasty Ways to Add More Fiber to Your Diet
Two Types of Fiber
Soluble fiber - good for your cholesterol and sugar levels.
Insoluble fiber - good for your digestion.
There’s no denying it’s important to eat right, but the definition of what constitutes a healthy diet seems to fluctuate more often than airline prices. What’s touted as a “superfood” one year might be linked to a serious disease the next. Trying to keep up with the constant stream of contradictory studies is like running on a treadmill – no matter how hard you try, you still end up right back where you started.
Fortunately, there’s one piece of nutritional advice that hasn’t seemed to waver, and that is to eat more fiber. Fiber brings a bevy of benefits to your health, and regulating your digestive system is just one of them. Eating enough fiber has been shown to help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar. It’s also been championed as a great way to maintain your weight since it helps you to feel full for longer periods of time.
So with all these great benefits, why is it that most of us still don’t eat the recommended 25 to 35 grams a day? Perhaps it’s the age-old notion that foods rich in fiber are poor in taste. The good news is that nothing could be farther from the truth. Adding more fiber to your diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste. To prove the point, here are some tasty ways to sneak a little more fiber into your diet at each meal.
Try a fiber supplement
Berry your food. Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are not only sweet and refreshing, they’re great sources of fiber, carrying about 2, 4, or 4.5 grams per half cup respectively. So why not sprinkle some on top of your cereal, in your pancake or muffin batter, or in your yogurt.
Be pro-active. Yogurt is a great way to start the day, but instead of having just any old yogurt, try one that’s full of pro-biotics. Often times these yogurts also pack a healthy serving of fiber and the great news is that they come in a variety of delicious fruit flavors.
Wrap it up. The next time you’re tempted to head to a fast food joint for an egg sandwich, try creating your own. You can do it in no time by microwaving some egg beaters for about a minute and a half (stir halfway) and then wrapping them in a high-fiber tortilla like the ones from La Tortilla Factory®. One wrap packs as much as 12 grams of fiber and they come in delicious flavors like Tomato Basil or Rosemary Olive Oil.
Give it 100%. Of whole wheat or whole grain that is. Trade in your white bread for these hearty, fiber-rich alternatives (some contain as much as 5 grams per 2 slices) and your sandwich will be all the more satisfying. The good news is many whole wheat or whole grain breads come in “soft” versions that are less grainy tasting.
Mind your peas. If you like having salad for lunch, dress it up with some chick peas (i.e. garbanzo beans). They not only add a different texture – not to mention some protein – to your greens, they pack a powerful fiber punch. Just half a cup contains about 6 – 7 grams.
Go bananas. Give the classic PB & J a little variety and swap the jelly or jam for a sliced banana. Or, get a little more creative and use a sliced apple instead – it’s even better at cutting the stickiness of the peanut butter. Each of these fortifying fruits packs about 3 – 4 grams of fiber.
Go green. When it comes to eating your veggies at dinner, go for the dark green variety like spinach or broccoli. They pair very well with some delicious cheese toppings (like Parmesan or cheddar) and just half a cup (cooked) of each gives you about 5 – 7 grams of fiber.
Sweeten the deal. Why wait for dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth? Yams are not only sweet and creamy, they’re loaded with fiber. Bake one as a side dish and you’re adding nearly 7 grams to your daily intake (just remember to keep the skin on).
Spill the beans. Just make sure they all end up on your plate. Beans are a great fiber-rich protein alternative to meat and when eaten in the form of a veggie burger they’re absolutely savory.
Adding fiber to your diet is an important part of staying healthy and it’s not as hard as you think. These are just some of the foods you can incorporate into your diet to get more servings of fiber. There are countless products out there that are packed with fiber. Next time you’re at the grocery store, make sure to read the product labels – you may just be surprised to find a serving or two of fiber in your favorite foods.