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Fun with Fiber

Who’s excited to talk about fiber??

I know it’s not the most riveting topic, but it’s a very important one in the health and nutrition world.

What does fiber do?

Fiber gets you full quickly and keeps you fuller longer than foods without fiber. Insoluble fiber is considered roughage and helps keeps things moving (if you get my drift). Soluble fiber, on the other hand, forms a gel-like substance that slows digestion and can reduce or slow the absorption of carbohydrates and cholesterol.

So why do you care about any of that?

Diets higher in fiber have been linked to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer. If you have high cholesterol, fiber can help lower your LDL (‘the bad cholesterol’) and your total cholesterol levels. If you’re looking to manage your blood sugar levels, fiber can also help prevent spikes in blood glucose.

Fine, fiber is important. How much should you be getting?

Adults need around 30 grams of fiber daily. Specifically the daily recommendations are:

  • 25 grams for women 18-50 years of age
  • 21 grams for women over 50 years of age
  • 38 grams for men 18-50 years of age
  • 30 grams for men over 50 years of age

So how do you get that much fiber?

When you think about fiber, you probably imagine dry bran flakes or orange-flavored powder mixed with water, right? Thankfully, tons of other (non-bran!) delicious foods that are loaded with fiber, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans!

This morning I got to share my tips for getting in fiber and enjoying your food at the same time on Good Morning Washington!

Check out the interview, and read on for the recipes and high fiber goodies below:

Breakfast: Vanilla Bean Overnight Oats with Figs, Dates, and Walnuts

14 grams of fiber

Oats2Serves 1

3/4 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of milk or soy milk
1/2 tsp chia seeds
2 dates
2 or 3  fresh figs (dried figs work too!)
1/2 cup walnuts (try these candied walnuts!)
1/2 fresh vanilla bean
1 tbsp of maple syrup (optional and recommended if you don’t use candied walnuts)
1 tbsp dried tart cherries (optional)

Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the inside vanilla-y goodness. Blend together the figs, dates, and vanilla bean.

Add milk, chia seeds, and maple syrup to the oats. Stir in the blended fig mixture and cover. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Remove and top with walnuts, and cherries. Cheers!

Lunch: Chopped Salad with Chicken, Avocado, Chick Peas and Corn

12 grams of fiber

Salad7

Serves 2

1 cup romaine lettuce
1/2 cup pulled chicken (Remove for a vegetarian salad!)
1/4 cup roasted corn
1 cup cubed avocado
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup cucumber
1/2 cup chickpeas
2 tbsp sunflower seeds

Combine ingredients, toss gently with dressing of your choice! This salad is delicious with a balsamic vinaigrette or a spicy creamy dressing.

Dinner: Crispy Pulled Pork Tacos in Sweet Potato Shells

10 grams of fiber

Sweet Potato

Serves 1

1 medium sweet potato
1/4 cup pulled pork (My favorite crock pot pulled pork recipe here)
1/4 cup black beans
1 tbsp caramelized onion
1/4 cup guacamole
1 tsp sliced green onion
Spice mix (optional)- try cumin, cayenne, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and onion powder in any combination that you prefer

Heat a skillet to medium heat with olive oil. Slice onions and saute for 1 hour, stir every few minutes until brown.

Bake the sweet potato at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool. Cut in half and scoop out some of the inside sweet potato, leaving enough around the edge to keep the sweet potato form sturdy.

Heat the black beans in a pan and mix with the scooped out sweet potato. Add spices to the bean and sweet potato mixture and scoop back into the sweet potato skin.

Use a skillet to crisp pulled pork and place on top of the sweet potato. Top with guacamole and green onion (and hot sauce!), and eat like a taco!

Other tasty high fiber options:

1 cup raspberries = 8 grams
1/2 cup black beans = 7.5 grams
1/2 avocado = 7 grams
1 medium pear = 6 grams
1 medium apple = 3 grams

3 cups cooked popcorn = >3.5 grams
1 oz almonds = 3.5 grams
2 tbsp almond butter = >3 grams

2 tbsp chia seeds = 10 grams
2 tbsp flax seeds = 5 grams

1 cup Trader Joe’s Fiber Cereal = 13.5 grams*
1 cup Kashi Fiber Cereal = 10.4 grams*

*Read your labels! The packages on these two boxes make it seem like the Kashi cereal has more fiber with 13 grams highlighted on the front, compared to the 9 grams in the Trader Joe’s cereal. If you look closely though, the Kashi cereal serving size is 1 1/4 cup while the TJ’s is 2/3 cup. When you do the math to get the grams of fiber in a 1 cup serving, the TJ’s comes out ahead. I’ll be honest though, I love the Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal, which has less fiber than both of these options, but sure is tasty 😉

Ramping up your fiber intake too quickly can cause some discomfort, like gas and bloating. So take it slow, add small amounts of fiber each day, and drink lots of water to keep things moving!

How much fiber are you getting? Let me know if you try any of these! I’d love to know what you think!

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