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...
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.