If you have IBS with constipation you probably already know how important fiber-rich foods are for your comfort. Making the American Dietetic Association's recommendation to eat 25 grams of fiber a day for women and 38 grams for men your mealtime mantra is a great place to start. But in order for a high-fiber eating plan to work its magic, you have to do three things:
- Gradually increase the fiber in your diet to your target amount
- Reach the higher-fiber target almost every day. Food sources are best. But fiber supplements such as psyllium and methylcellulose can also help.
- Spread high-fiber foods throughout the day so it works better.
- Drink plenty of water and other noncaffeinated, noncaloric liquids/beverages throughout the day as well. Fiber works better in the intestines if there is plenty of water to go with it.
To get enough fiber in the fastest and most painless way possible, try these five steps. Then enjoy the three delicious recipes at the end of this article.
The 5 Quickest Ways to 25 Grams of Fiber:
No. 1 -- Get Those Whole Grains
First, make sure you are not gluten sensitive. If unsure, stop eating gluten for three weeks and use alternatives instead (such as rice, quinoa, potato, and flax).
You can get 4 grams of fiber easily with a serving of whole grains. Here are a few examples:
- 1 to 2 slices of whole-grain bread (depending on the brand)
- 1 cup of brown rice
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (depending on the brand)
- 9 Reduced-Fat Triscuits
No. 2 -- Eat Breakfast Cereals
Some cereals contain 5 or more grams of fiber per serving. Here are a few examples:
- 1 cup of Raisin Bran = 8 grams of fiber
- 1/2 cup of All-Bran = 10 grams
- 1 cup of Shredded Wheat Spoonsize = 5 grams
- 1 1/4 cups of cooked oatmeal = 5 grams
No. 3 -- Boost Fiber With Beans
Canned bean products make it easy to eat fiber. Just 1/2 cup can get you to 6 or more grams of fiber in a snap. Here are a few examples:
- 1/2 cup of Ortega Fat-Free Refried Beans = 9 grams of fiber
- 1/2 cup of canned kidney beans = 6 grams
- 1/2 cup of S&W Chili Beans Zesty Sauce = 6 grams
No. 4 -- Enjoy a Few Fruits Each Day
Fruits are great choices because they include both fiber and extra water. Here are a few examples:
- 1 apple = 3.7 grams of fiber
- 1 banana = 2.8 grams
- 1 pear = 4 grams
- 1 cup of strawberries = 3.8 grams
- 1 cup carrot slices, cooked = 5 grams of fiber
- 1 cup cooked broccoli = 4.5 grams of fiber
- 1 sweet potato = 4 grams of fiber
- 1 cup cauliflower, cooked = 3 grams of fiber
- 2 cups raw spinach leaves = 3 grams of fiber
Recipes to Motivate You
Having trouble getting started? Try these three recipes for flavorful fiber.
Easy 7-Layer Bean Dip
Makes six big snack servings
16-ounce. can fat-free refried beans
teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
cup fat-free sour cream
1 cup reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup tomatoes, finely chopped
5 green onions, chopped
2 ounces chopped black olives (optional)
Suggested dippers: low-fat or reduced-fat tortilla chips, soft flour tortillas, pita bread cut into triangles, or vegetables such as celery, carrot, or jicama slices.
- Add beans to small microwave-safe bowl and heat on HIGH for two minutes to warm and soften. Stir in chili powder, black pepper, and pepper sauce to taste. Spread into an 8 x 8-inch baking dish and let cool.
- Spread sour cream over the beans. Top beans with shredded cheese then sprinkle chopped tomatoes evenly over the top. Top with green onions and olives if desired. Refrigerate until needed.
- Serve with any of the suggested dippers.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (not including dippers):
145 calories, 10 grams protein, 18.5 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 10 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams fiber, 400 milligrams sodium. Calories from fat: 21%.
Cruciferous Au Gratin
Makes six side servings
4 cups cauliflower florets
(Reserve about 2 cups of the coarsely chopped cauliflower stems)
4 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup golden mushroom canned soup (vegetable or chicken broth can be substituted)
1 cup fat-free half and half (low-fat or whole milk can be substituted)
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons horseradish (to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
cup grated Gruyere cheese (reduced-fat Swiss or Jarlsberg Lite can be substituted)
- Add cauliflower and broccoli florets to large microwave-safe dish with 1/4 cup of water. Cover dish and microwave on HIGH until just tender (about four-six minutes).
- Meanwhile, start heating a medium-sized nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with canola cooking spray. Add the coarsely chopped cauliflower stems, shallots, and garlic, and gently saute until soft (do not brown). Add the golden mushroom soup or vegetable or chicken broth and cook until the stock is almost evaporated. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender along with the fat-free half-and-half and pulse until fairly smooth. Add the horseradish and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Coat a 9-inch pie plate with canola cooking spray. Add the cauliflower and broccoli florets to the dish and pour the half-and-half mixture over the top. Gently toss to blend. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
115 calories, 10 grams protein, 12.7 grams carbohydrate, 3.5 grams fat (1.9 grams saturated fat), 11 milligrams cholesterol, 3.5 grams fiber, 240 milligrams sodium. Calories from fat: 26%.
High-Fiber Berry Parfait
Makes one parfait
cup strawberry or berry yogurt (low-fat or light depending on preference)
cup sliced strawberries
cup Raisin Bran cereal
Garnish parfait with: a small dollop of light whipping cream or light Cool Whip and a whole strawberry or fan a few slices of strawberries on top (optional)
2. Sprinkle half of the Raisin Bran over the yogurt mixture.
3. Top that with the rest of the yogurt mixture and sprinkle the remaining Raisin Bran over the top with a dollop of light whipped cream and a strawberry if desired. Enjoy immediately.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 230 calories, 9 grams protein, 50 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fat (.9 grams saturated fat), 5 milligrams cholesterol, 5.5 grams fiber, 255 milligrams sodium. Calories from fat: 8%