I believe a lot of the world’s problems would be solved if everyone would eat just 25 gms of fiber daily.
Tempers would be more even-keeled due to smaller blood sugar fluctuations; daily productivity would go up since people would have more energy and there would be fewer sick days because everyone’s immune system would be fully fired. Health care costs would go down and people would be living longer with fewer health complications.
I can just see it now: businesses holding fiber contests, homes brimming with beans, grains and seeds, and more smiles on people’s faces – especially after their morning constitution.
I can’t say enough about the importance of fiber in your diet. It’s probably the most influential nutritional action you can take to help you lose weight, have more energy, fight cancer, diabetes and high cholesterol and prevent hunger pains. It’s a no-brainer, yet people only get half of what their body really needs.
I know you laugh, but the fact is, fiber is your best friend you don’t even know you have until you put the spotlight on it and start paying attention:
- It provides fuel for the alliance between your friendly gut bacteria and your immune system
- It sucks up the grease from your not-so-healthy meals
- It slows down the blood sugar spike
- It gets rid of poisonous toxins in the food you eat
- It keeps you full
Reading the nutrition food label for fiber
Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate, so it is nested under carbohydrates.
First, you want to look at the serving size that the label is based on. In the picture below you can see that the label is based on one slice of bread. To find the number of grams of fiber in each slice, you want to look right next to the word “fiber”, not the percent to the far right.
In the label below, you can see that each slice of bread has 3 grams of fiber.
Next you want to look at the list of ingredients. Choose breads, crackers, and cereals made from whole grains, not enriched white flour mixed with isolated fibers to increase fiber content. That’s like putting Humpty Dumpty together again – you don’t know if you got every piece back in the right place. Why not stay with real, unprocessed foods?
You’ll know the food product is whole grain if you see the word “whole” or 100% whole” listed as the first word. If you see the word “enriched”, the product is not a whole grain product.
Since fiber is not digested, when you are counting your carbohydrates you get to subtract your grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrates in your meal.
Let’s say you ate a peanut butter sandwich and a medium-sized apple for lunch. The total grams of carbohydrates for the meal, including the apple, would be 64 gms. There are 12 gms of fiber between the 2 slices of bread, peanut butter and the apple. So the net carbs for the meal is 52 gms. That speaks volumes for the power of fiber!!! It really does reduce the impact of your food choices on your blood sugar.
Take the fiber challenge
I would love for each of you to make a goal of getting 25 gms of fiber daily for one week, following my meal suggestions and see how you feel.
Try getting to 10 gms of fiber for breakfast with these sources of high fiber:
- A ½ cup of oatmeal with 2 tbsp each of ground flax or 2 tbsp chia seeds and a half cup of a green banana (which has more resistant starch) will supply you with 11 or 16 gms of fiber, depending on what seed you added.
- Two scrambled eggs mixed with sautéed broccoli and 2 pieces of whole grain toast will give you 8.4 gms of fiber, a third of your daily recommendation.
- Or 1 cup of plain fat-free Greek yogurt (nearly 3 times more protein than regular yogurt) mixed with ¾ cup Uncle Sam’s cereal and 1 medium chopped apple will provide 13 gms of fiber.
There are few cold cereals I would recommend since most of them are overly processed, not made with whole grains, and contain too much added sugar.
Uncle Sam’s cereal has few ingredients, is made with whole grains and has lots of fiber. Like most cereals, it does not have much protein but by adding it to Greek yogurt you have a super healthy breakfast with lots of crunch and sweetness from the chopped apple.
Get another 10 gms for lunch with these suggestions
- Mixed green salad with grated carrot, a half cup of cottage cheese and an apple will give you nearly 14 gms of fiber.
- A peanut butter sandwich and apple (using the previous table) will give you 12 gms of fiber.
- A whole can of Amy’s low sodium lentil soup with some Triscuits delivers 15 gms of fiber.
- Or, if you really want fast food go to Subway and get either a 6” multigrain flatbread roasted turkey sub with all the veggies and a bag of chips for 8 gms of fiber.
As you can see meat does not have any carbs or fiber. Remember fiber is only found in grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and veggies.
Look for whole grain pasta with just whole grains. There are many out there that are embellished with lentil bean parts and resistant starch. Sometimes it’s nice just getting pasta made from only whole grain durum wheat flour like this one made by Barilla’s. Notice that “white” pasta has more carbs and less fiber.
Brown rice has much more fiber than white rice, including jasmine rice. But barley, which is nuttier, and quinoa have even more fiber and quinoa takes only 15 minutes to make.
Be aware of the sugar in any can of baked beans as well as most tomato sauces – that’s why I like Muir Glen.
I don’t like to promote hotdogs, but I do enjoy one occasionally with lots of sauerkraut! Applegate makes an organic hot dog that tastes like it came right from Chicago, and they have no added sugar.
Try these meals for dinner:
- Chicken, Barilla’s whole grain pasta topped with Muir Glen tomato sauce with a side salad and shaved carrot – that’s a total of 10 gms of fiber.
- 1 Applegate hot dog on whole wheat bun with 1 cup 3 bean salad will give you 10 gms of fiber.
- Salmon with 1 cup quinoa and 1 cup roasted Brussel Sprouts will deliver 13 gms of fiber.
I dare you to get 25 gms of fiber… at least for a week
It’s easy to eat 25 grams of fiber a day. Heck, you would be nearly there if you ate Uncle Sam’s cereal for breakfast and a can of Amy’s low sodium Lentil soup for lunch. And you won’t have to cook a thing! In fact, I’m going to buy both right now!
And I just did.
I’ve been called The Fiber Queen, but what I truly am is a fiber fan for everything it does for me. My house is brimming with beans, seeds and grains (thanks to Reny’s and Christmas Tree Shop, lol!) and they sneak into just about every meal I make – soup, casseroles, desserts, breakfasts breads and pancakes.
Every time I cook I always think of ways to boost the fiber. I’ve had some crazy meal concoctions but I think that’s half the fun and it creates some lively conversation around the table!
I write this blog to give my readers the knowledge to make healthy choices. If you like what you read, please share my posts with your friends and help spread the word.