Fiber: Give Yourself a Fresh Start for Health
Just a few changes of habit can give a big boost to your diet's fiber profile.
6 Tips for a Fresh Start With Fiber continued...
Enjoy Fruity Snack Attacks: When you feel the urge for a
snack, be sure you have fresh or dried fruit on hand for a quick bite. A half
cup of fresh raspberries is packed with 4 grams of fiber, a papaya with 5.5
grams, and five rings of dried apples has almost 3 grams of fiber.
Peels Are a Plus: Get all the fiber from the fruits and
vegetables you enjoy by leaving the peels on. If you're worried about dirt and
pesticides, rinse your produce in warm water before eating. Remember, whole
foods have more fiber than juices, which lack the fiber-filled skin and
Go Easy On Yourself: When you shop, grab bags of
ready-to-eat fresh vegetables, like baby carrots, shredded broccoli, and salad
mixes. And look for packaged, presliced fruits (peels on).
20 Stealthy Ways to Slip More Fiber Into Your Diet:
- Scoop up spreads like hummus, spinach dip, or artichoke dip with veggies or
whole-grain crackers. Or dial up the fiber profile of your ranch or French
onion favorite with a few teaspoons of ground flax seed.
- Top a store-bought pizza with slices of tomato, red pepper, spinach, and
onion for extra fiber. Or make your own pizza, with a whole-wheat crust, and
then pile on the produce.
- Raise a submarine sandwich's fiber profile with the crunch of red or dark
green lettuce, shredded peppers and carrots, and a whole-grain roll.
- If you're dotty for donuts with your morning coffee, try switching -- at
least sometimes -- to whole-grain granola bars instead.
- Beans are bursting with fiber. Pinto beans have 15.4 grams of fiber per
cup, while black beans have 15 grams; try sprinkling all kinds of beans in
soups, stews, and salads a few times a week, or enjoy bean and veggie-rich
- Cooking can reduce a food's fiber, so enjoy lots of your veggies raw. When
you do cook vegetables, try steaming them, or cooking them quickly and easily
in the microwave.
- If there are cookie monsters in your house, satisfy their sweet tooth, and
boost their fiber intake, by switching to hearty oatmeal-raisin cookies.
- Stock your pantry with quick cooking brown rice and whole grain pasta in
- Experiment with produce-rich cuisines. Try Middle Eastern foods like
tabbouleh (8.2 grams of fiber per cup of bulgur wheat) or hummus (over 10 grams
of fiber per cup of chickpeas), or enjoy a quick Asian stir fry.
- Substitute common staples such as pasta, white breads, white rice with
those made from unprocessed grains loaded with fiber.
- Add shredded vegetables like zucchini or carrots to spaghetti sauce.
- Add fresh fruits to your diet. Mangoes have some big advantages over other
fruits. They contain more fiber than most, which helps you curb your
- Try fruit smoothies for fun fiber. Blend low-fat yogurt, fruit juice, and
fresh or frozen fruit to make a quick breakfast or as a snack.
- Love your steak and potatoes? Try topping both with onions, mushrooms, and
tomatoes, sautéed with a touch of olive oil and herbs.
- Switch to corn tortillas, which have 50% more fiber than flour
- Substitute quick or old-fashioned oats for up to one-third of the white
flour called for in recipes.
- For a rich, intense flavor, try spearing vegetables and fruits on skewers
and cooking them on your grill.
- Treat your sweet tooth and get more fiber with a fruit salad. Try bananas,
blueberries, and apples, sprinkled with walnuts and shredded, unsweetened
- Hold on to more nutrients -- and cook vegetables faster -- by using the
- Warm up with legume-rich soups. Just one cup of ready-to-serve bean and ham
soup has over 11 grams of fiber, while pea or lentil soups bulk up with 5 or
more grams each. The American Heart Association says that diets high in complex
carbohydrates and fiber can reduce your risk of a host of conditions, including
obesity, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, and other chronic
So savor sweet summer berries, hearty whole grains, and crisp colorful
veggies. It's easy -- and delicious – to enjoy fiber's bountiful benefits.