How to Get More Fiber in Your Diet
Eating healthy can be complicated, but finding out how to get more fiber in your diet is easy. When you make some simple and easy changes to your eating habits, you will find that increasing fiber in your diet can help you to feel fuller, stay fuller for longer, and keep your system running smoothly. Before we start, let’s learn a little bit about fiber: Dietary fiber is a substance found in plants, fruits, and vegetables, as well as grains. Adequate fiber can help you lose weight, aids digestion, and prevents constipation. In addition, some types of fiber can help remove excess cholesterol from the body, which can therefore also help you have a healthy heart.
The daily recommended amount of dietary fiber is 20-35 grams a day – and most of us only get around 10-15 grams a day. So how do you get more fiber in your diet?
1. Start with breakfast – Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, and an easy one to use to get more fiber in your diet. Try adding the following foods to your breakfast menu:
- Whole grain cereals
- Whole wheat bread (look for "100% whole wheat" on the label)
- Fruits, such as apples, apricots, pears, and berries
- Switch to eating fruit instead of drinking fruit juice
2. Munch a good lunch – Lunch is another good opportunity to increase the fiber in your diet. Have a healthy sandwich with whole grain bread or eat a salad with beans or peas. Grab an apple and you’re set!
3. Don’t forget dinner – At dinner, have some whole grain rolls, a healthy salad with a wide variety of veggies, or brown rice.
4. Have a snack – Good snacks with fiber in them include popcorn, whole grain crackers, pumpernickel bread, graham crackers, and bran muffins. Of course, dense fruits like apples and pears are always a good choice to increase your fiber in your snack diet as well!
5. Read labels carefully – When you’re shopping, look at food labels closely. If the item says it is whole wheat, check the label to make sure that it says "whole wheat flour" in the ingredient list and aim for products that say "100% whole wheat."
- Look for the Dietary Fiber in the Nutrition Facts, which will be listed in grams (g) and as Percent Daily Value.
- The recommended daily value of fiber is 25 grams for a 2,000 calorie diet. Some of this can be obtained through fruits and vegetables.
When you start to increase the fiber in your diet, remember to go slowly! Adding fiber too fast can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable and may cause diarrhea. Make a change or two at first and keep slowly adding more fiber over a few weeks. And remember to drink water! It will help your body process all this important and good fiber and will help ease the transition as you work your way towards a healthier diet!