Fiber seems to be the latest miracle diet food. A person can hardly open a magazine or newspaper without seeing an article singing the praises of the health benefits of fiber. It’s not just hype. Adding more fiber can be an effective tool for dieters. Fiber-filled foods take more time to break down and consequently they stay in the digestive tract longer.
Fiber comes in two types – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar. It is commonly found in beans and fruits. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It acts as a scrubber in your digestive tract. Insoluble fiber can be found in vegetables and whole grains.
Fiber can help you feel fuller for a longer period of time. However, many people equate fiber with endless salads or food that tastes like cardboard. This does not need to be the case. By following some of the tips listed below, you can increase the fiber in your diet effortlessly.
- Switch to whole grain pasta. The average pasta made from refined white flour has very little in the way of fiber. In contrast, whole grain fiber has 5 or more grams per serving. Whole grain fiber does have a slightly different taste and texture. An alternative would be to start by using half regular pasta and half whole wheat. You can increase the ratio of whole wheat pasta as you become more accustomed to the taste.
- Use whole grain pastry flour in your baking. Regular whole grain flour can add a bit of grittiness to baked goods. Whole grain pastry flour is more finely ground. Using it in your baking boosts fiber while being closer in texture to products made with refined flour. By substituting a cup of whole grain pastry flour for white flour, the fiber content of the recipe is boosted by 14 grams.
- Sneak oats into your favorite meat loaf recipe. A cup of oats adds an additional four grams of fiber.
- Bulk up your favorite convenience foods with extra veggies. We all have to rely on convenience foods, from time to time. The problem is processed foods are notoriously high in fat and low in fiber. You don’t have to feel so bad about serving them though if you boost the vegetable content. Chop up a couple cups and add them to your favorite convenience meals. The vegetables cook while the entrï¿½e is cooking. Quick and easy.
- Use finely-ground Fiber One cereal in the place of bread crumbs for faux fried foods. This saves calories too! Use it to make oven fried chicken, onion rings, and even cheese sticks. A mere cup of Fiber One cereal adds 14 grams of fiber. You can’t beat that!
- Replace part of the fat in baked goods with fruit and vegetable purees. Pear, apples, and even pumpkin can replace part of the fat in your favorite recipes, as well as being an additional source of fiber. It is alright to experiment. The best recipes for replacement are darker and strongly flavored, like ones containing chocolate. Would you believe you can add beet puree to brownies without altering the taste? It’s true!
- Use white varieties of whole grain bread. Even finicky children can’t tell the difference. This adds a couple of grams of fiber per sandwich.
- Eat the peel. The peel of fruits and vegetables is where the majority of the fiber lies. So don’t throw it away, missing out on the 2 grams of fiber it provides. Instead of using instant potatoes, make the real thing. No need to peel them, just wash and quarter. Mash them with the skins still on for a fiber boost.
- Eat the fruit rather than drinking the juice. The peel and pulp are where the majority of the fiber is located. Whole fruit is more filling than juice, so don’t cheat yourself.
- Add beans to your entrees. For example, a cup of white beans adds a whopping 11 grams of fiber. For those of you that can’t stand the texture of beans, mash them up and add them to soups, spaghetti sauce. Mash a cup of cooked beans and add them to your favorite meatloaf recipe. The kids will never know!
The best sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. By adding a variety of these foods to your diet, you can successfully increase your fiber intake. Current dietary recommendations advise fiber intake of 25 to 35 grams daily. If you did not previously consume much fiber, it would be wise to increase your fiber over the course of a couple of weeks to allow your body time to adjust. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water.
Adding fiber to your diet can be effortless if you think outside the box. With a little creativity and sneakiness, a high fiber diet can become a reality.
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