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How to Get all the Fiber You Need Each Day

Fiber’s not the sexiest nutrient, conjuring images, as it does, of Metamucil and heavy bran muffins. But there are plenty of exciting ways to get fiber in your diet, and good reasons to do so. It’s filling, it lowers your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and it helps keep you regular — sexy, no?

But first things first: What is fiber, and how much do you need in your diet? Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. It’s found in plant foods in their least processed state. Case in point: An orange has fiber (3 grams), orange juice has none. Likewise, 100 percent whole-wheat bread has more fiber (2 grams per slice) than white bread (1 gram per slice), but less than wheat berries (6 grams in 1/4 cup uncooked). Women need 25 grams of fiber per day, while men need 38 grams. Another way to think of it is 14 grams per every 1,000 calories in your diet. If that seems like a lot, here are some strategies to get all the fiber you need each day. One caveat: If you’re just starting to add more fiber to your diet, you might want to add a little at a time, so your body has time to adjust, and drink plenty of water.

 

Before Fiber

Fiber (g)

Fibered-Up

Fiber (g)

Breakfast

Breakfast

Corn flakes

1

Bran flakes (or any other cereal with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving)

6

Skim milk

0

Skim milk

0

Orange juice

0

Raspberries (1/2 cup)

4

Flaxseed (1 Tablespoon)

3

Total

1

Total

13

Lunch

Lunch

Sourdough bread (2 slices)

3

Sprouted grain bread (2 slices)

6

Turkey

0

Turkey

0

Cheese

0

Hummus (2 Tablespoons)

2

Potato chips

1

Pepper, cucumber slices, spinach to top sandwich

1

Carrot sticks (1 cup)

3

Total

4

Total

12

Snack

Snack

Yogurt with fruit on the bottom

0

Pear (medium)

6

Almonds (1 ounce —22 almonds)

3

Total

0

Total

9

Dinner

Dinner

Salmon

0

Salmon tacos on corn tortillas (2 tortillas)

3

Rice (1 cup)

1

Black beans (1/2 cup cooked)

8

Broccoli (1 cup)

6

Mango salsa (1/2 cup)

1

12

Daily total

12

46

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