Everything adds up, Deborah, so you can make changes to what you’re already eating without staring down a pile of beans or gritty supplements in water. Most people consume about half the day’s recommended intake which is 25-29 grams of fiber. You can easily add 12-15 grams of fiber without additional calories, too.
By replacing white bread products with whole grain or high fiber versions you can double the fiber from 1 to 2 grams or more per slice. Cereals offer a wide variety of flavors, textures, and fiber content. If yours contains less than 5 grams of fiber per serving, replace it with one that has at least this much. Pouring a cup of shredded wheat instead of puffed rice adds 5 grams of fiber to your day.
Switching from bottled fruit juice to edible whole fruit (or blended into liquid) will boost fiber 2-3 grams per fruit serving. With vegetables, more is better; simply double portions! A half cup serving averages only 25 calories and 2-3 grams of fiber. With raw vegetables, swapping out Ranch dressing for hummus instead will gain you 4 grams of fiber per ¼ cup.
Sprinkling a tablespoon of wheat bran on top of your pilaf, oatmeal, soup, stew or casserole adds 1.5 grams of fiber. Mix it in to hide its texture and color if you like, but it won’t affect the flavor of your dish. Enriched products containing added fiber are fine, too. Several pastas are made with added inulin, a vegetable fiber. An inulin source called chicory root fiber is added to many products such as yogurt and beverages.
As you can see, you have many opportunities to increase fiber by 1-5 grams each meals or snack. If that’s not enough, you can always enjoy some chili, lentil soup or baked beans for a bigger way to increase fiber in your diet. They provide 8 grams fiber per half cup, supplying a whopping 1/4 of your day’s needs.
– Debbie J., MS, RD
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