Tip of the Week
For many, the new year provides a reason to examine the changes we would like to make for a healthier life. Focusing on fiber intake is one important and easy modification to consider.
Research has shown that fiber has a wide range of health benefits, but Americans struggle with getting their daily dose. The FDA recommends consuming 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day, but less than 3 percent of Americans actually do so.
Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner says adding fiber into the diet can be easy and flavorful with just a little planning. Ideally, she recommends choosing foods with natural fiber rather than overly processed foods with added fiber.
1. "Veggify." Add vegetables to your omelets, sandwiches, pizza and pasta. Add veggies dipped in low-fat dressing at lunch and start dinner with a little garden salad with chopped prunes for extra flavor.
2. Bean boost. Add beans and lentils to up your fiber intake. Add black beans to tacos, garbanzos to salads, kidney beans to stir fries, white beans to pasta dishes and lentils to ground beef before making burger patties.
3. Fruity snack time. On-the-go portable fruits such as apples, pears and oranges are good between-meal choices.
4. Grain swap. Whole grain toast instead of white toast for breakfast, brown rice stir fry for lunch, whole grain crackers for a snack and whole grain pasta for dinner can go a long way in helping you achieve the daily fiber recommendation.
5. Drink up. Fiber is not only for eating, you can also drink it. Look for a variety of juices with natural fiber included, or make your own smoothies with fruits and veggies.