According to the Institute of Medicine, in general men over 50 should be consuming at least 30 grams of fiber per day; and it is recommended that women over 50 should aim for 21. The bad news? Most Americans don’t get enough fiber. Most of us are only getting about 10 to 15 grams in a day. That may sound like a lot to add, but eating a fiber-rich diet is easier than you think. Here are 9 easy ways to help boost your fiber intake.
Trade the fruit juice for a smoothie
Skip fruit juice, which is often loaded with sugar, and toss some fruit into a smoothie. By blending whole fruits and veggies together, you’ll likely benefit from their fiber content as well, suggests Jen Hernandez, the founder of Plant-Powered Kidneys. “Frozen berries make for an easy smoothie ingredient,” she says. “Blend with some yogurt and milk of choice and you have a nutritious and filling beverage that will help control blood sugars rather than spike them.” You can also toss cauliflower into your smoothie. It’s a neutral tasting vegetable, packs in about 3 grams of fiber per cup, and will make your smoothie creamier.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
These food groups pack a mean fiber punch. One cup of berries, for instance, has approximately 8 grams of fiber. One medium pear has roughly 6 grams of fiber, and a cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 5 grams. “Eat oatmeal with nuts and fresh fruit like pears, blueberries or strawberries or Greek yogurt with a little fruit for a delicious filling snack,” says Shavonne Morrison, a registered dietitian and nutrition blogger. For fiber-filled veggie snacks, try celery with peanut butter or carrots and hummus.
Add vegetables to your eggs
Instead of having your scrambled eggs on their own, consider adding some tomatoes, mushrooms, and broccoli. This, says Brenda Peralta, a registered dietitian in San Jose, California, will help increase the fiber content without you noticing it. And top off your omelet or scramble with some avocado. A half of an avocado contains 5 grams of fiber.
Don't remove the skin
“When you have sweet potato or white potatoes, ensure not to remove the skin since it is where most of the fiber is located,” says Peralata. But make sure to wash your potatoes well before eating them. To help to get them extra clean, scrub them with a vegetable brush. One medium sized white baked potato with skin contains around 4 grams of fiber.
Sprinkle in some seeds
“Keep chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and hemp hearts on hand,” says Morrison. In addition to adding heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, she says, these seeds can be added to smoothies, salads, or baked goods to increase fiber. You can also sprinkle them over salads or oatmeal.
Choose whole grains
Ditch the white carbs for a whole grain variety. “Consider choosing brown rice over white, whole-wheat pasta over traditional pasta,” says Kristi Ruth, a registered dietitian and licensed dietary nutritionist with Carrots & Cookies. You’ll get around 1.6 grams of fiber in 3.5 ounces of cooked brown rice compared to 0.4 grams in the same serving of cooked white rice.
Eat some beans
Beans are generally an inexpensive and convenient way to increase fiber intake. “For instance, black beans, drained and rinsed, can be added to ground beef or turkey and used as a meat extender,” says Ruth. “Season it the same as you would if you were cooking just ground meat, like taco meat, and there you have more fiber.” Beans can also be added to salads and soups.
Dress up your pasta
“Blend veggies into sauces,” says Hernandez. “Cooked carrots are soft, making them easy to blend into a tomato or marinara sauce.” One cup of cooked carrot slices provides 4-5 grams of fiber alone. You can also toss some pasta with spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, or red peppers.
Shoot for three colors per meal
“Take a look at your meal to see if you have at least three plant-based colors,” says Dandrea. If you eat a bowl of oatmeal every morning, she says to ask yourself, “what else can you add to it to boost flavor, texture and fiber?” “Consider adding blueberries, walnuts, and hemp seeds (white and tan count as colors when it comes to fiber!),” says Dandrea. If you enjoy tacos, you could add some avocado, salsa, and beans.
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