We know that small changes in the way we eat can have positive health impacts down the road.
If you think about how many food choices you make each day you’ll begin to realize how many opportunities there are to fuel up on foods that provide nourishment so you can live your best life with energy and vitality.
Between breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks there are an estimated 200 food choices each day like whether or not to “supersize” your meal, to order the fries or steamed vegetables as your side, to have one or 2 scoops of ice cream or if you should get a small or large vanilla latte. All of these decisions from day-to-day constitute your eating pattern. Over time, you may need to make adjustments to reach your health goals.
Start small to get the biggest bang for your buck. Here we’ll take a look at a few easy ways to boost fiber in your meals and snacks. Aim for 25-38 grams of fiber per day- or 6-8 grams per meal, and 3-4 grams per snack. A high fiber diet can help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and prevent constipation.
- Snacks are meant to be small amounts of food that tide you over until your next meal. Make your snacks count by incorporating more fruits and vegetables. Not only will they keep you feeling full longer, they also add important phytochemicals for all of your body’s needs. Here are some of my favorite F&V with 3-4 grams of fiber.
- 2 medium carrots with add a side of hummus (good source of protein)
- Celery sticks and peanut butter (or other nut butter)
- 1 cup of berries like raspberries or blackberries (8g fiber), blueberries (4 g) or strawberries (3g)
- Make your meals more wholesome with whole grains. Even people with on a gluten-free diet can have their grains and eat them, too! Try these instead of rice which has less than 1 gram per ½ cup. These grains will also boost your vitamin and mineral count for the day. (Whole Grain Recipe Packet)
- Get a leg up with legumes. On average, beans provide 7 or more grams of total dietary fiber per ½-cup serving. They really are the magical fruit! Peas and lentils also pack a punch with 8 grams per ½ cup. Include more of these budget-friendly foods throughout the week which can help reduce your disease risk. They are among the best foods in terms of amount of nutrients per unit price. Check out the All About Beans publication for recipes and cooking tips by type.
- Add pureed beans or lentils to your baked goods to lower the fat and increase fiber and protein (See Lentil Chocolate Chip Bar Recipe here)
- Make a big batch of beans to sprinkle on your salads throughout the week. Any leftovers can be frozen for later use.
- You can also try replacing the meat in your recipes with beans or add them to your pasta dishes for new flavors and textures
As you can see, you don’t have to make big changes in your diet. Small, conscious choices will take you where you want to go. So instead of always ordering fries as your side and an extra sweet treat, fill up on wholesome snacks and be creative to add more fiber to your meals. Your future self with thank you!