Always feeling hungry? Can’t control your appetite some days? Increasing fiber in your diet might be just the solution you need.
With so many recommendations on what to do, how to eat and when, it quickly becomes difficult to make the right food choices when trying to manage your weight or chronic illnesses.
Did you know boosting your fiber intake provides these benefits and more:
- Keeps you fuller longer
- Helps with weight loss/maintenance
- Reduces cravings
- Improves cholesterol
- Better blood sugar control
- Regular bowel movements
- Improves heart health
Closing the Fiber Gap
How much fiber should you be eating?
Ladies, aim for a minimum of 25 grams a day.
Gentlemen, aim for a minimum of 38 grams a day.
However, studies have found that Americans only average about 15 grams of fiber a day, about half of the recommended total dietary fiber intake.
Increase your dietary fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Filling your plate with these whole, unprocessed foods is the first step to take toward increasing your fiber consumption. Consistently eating well-balanced meals that include these foods will ensure that your getting the right amount of this nutrient.
Overconsumption of carbohydrates is a common concern for many of us, mainly because this macronutrient turns to sugar in the blood stream which then gets stored as fat, making it easy to gain weight.
It is the quality of carbohydrates that should be of greater concern, rather than the quantity. Consuming carbohydrates with high fiber content can reduce the glucose levels after a meal.
Because fiber is not broken down by the body, it has no effect on blood glucose. Therefore, the grams of fiber can actually be subtracted from the total grams of carbs you are eating.
When making food choices seek out food options with a good fiber to carbohydrate ratio to reduce the foods impact on blood glucose levels.
Make it a habit to include fruits and vegetables with each meal.
Vegetables high in fiber include leafy greens, squashes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. They can be enjoyed in stir-fries, casseroles, soups, and salads and steamed as a side dish.
Many fruits are also high in fiber, like apples, pears, oranges, peaches and more. Berries are an especially great choice because while they are high in fiber, they are also low in calorie. Incorporate fruits into your diet as a convenient snack or as toppings for breakfast cereal, yogurt, salads, and desserts.
Whole grains are a popular and simple way to increase dietary fiber. The downfall with this is that many whole grain foods are overly processed and the labeling can be misleading.
Beware of processed cereals and bars as they often have high sugar content and less fiber compared to other dietary fiber options. Swap the usual white bread for whole wheat bread and exchange white rice for brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, barley or other ancient grains. Consider different types of pasta options like whole wheat pasta, edamame pasta, or lentil pasta.
Nuts and seeds also provide a great source of fiber. A handful of these packs a powerful fiber punch. They make for a nutritious snack, or extra addition to yogurts, salads and desserts.
Don’t forget about beans and legumes. These are one of the most naturally rich sources of fiber. If you experience gas and discomfort with high bean intake, consider starting off slowly when introducing these into your diet.
Try incorporating more of the recommended foods discussed here and notice the impact this powerful nutrient has on curbing your appetite and controlling blood sugar control. This, in turn, helps with weight loss/maintenance and prevents/ manages diseases.
Tips to Consider When Increasing Your Fiber:
- Increase consumption gradually (add 5g of fiber per day, spread throughout the day, until you reach your goal)
- Keep edible skin on fruits and veggies
- Limit starchy foods
- Choose whole wheat over white
- Reduce foods high in sugar (especially added sugars)
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to avoid constipation
I Challenge You…
to take a look at how much fiber is in your diet today. Does it measure up to the recommended minimum of 25g/day for women or 38g/day for men?
How do you plan to increase your dietary fiber this week? –> Here’s a great resource that might help you with that!