Tips to Eating a Fiber-Rich, Flavorful Diet
A while back I heard that spinach was high in fiber. "Great!" I thought. I have the fiber area covered. 25-35 grams can't be that hard to squeeze in, right? I have been known to put down an entire Costco bag of spinach by myself in less than 2 weeks. Yes! I love salad that much. Score!
Well, I was wrong. I was nowhere near meeting my daily fiber requirement. And you can only imagine how disheartened I was when I learned that while raw spinach is a great source of fiber, it requires eating a lot to get the daily amount you need. In fact, it only has 3.5 grams of fiber per serving (1 cup, raw) compared with some beans that have as high as 19.4 grams per serving.
Because I wanted to eat healthier, I started looking for other ways to increase my fiber intake. After a bit of research, I came across a fiber chart, identifying foods that had any amount of fiber in them.
Foods Rich in Fiber
Here are some of my favorite foods that top the list (the entire list is found at WeHealny.org):
- Blackberries (5 grams per half cup serving in canned, juice packed packages)
- Broccoli (7 grams fresh, cooked half cup serving)
- Figs (10.5 grams for 3 dried)
- Garbanzo Beans (6 grams per half cup or, check this out, 12 grams for 1 cup when you cook them!)
- Lentils (6.4 grams for 1 cup, red cooked lentils... soup anyone? mmmm!)
- Macaroni (1 cup whole wheat, cooked equals 5.7 grams)
- Potatoes (5 grams for 1 medium white Russet baked potato)
- Rice (5.5 grams for half cup cooked brown rice)
- Spaghetti (6 grams for whole wheat with tomato sauce)
I'm not going to lie. I wasn't happy to see that pineapple only had .8 grams and cheese wasn't even on the list. What???
What was on the list was fiber bars. It didn't call out the different brands or flavors, but you can get that information easy enough by reading the nutrition facts on the boxes at your local grocery store.
So, I went about comparing bars. At the same time, Kellogg's sent me some Fiber Plus bars to try. Every flavor included chocolate, which made me turn up my nose immediately. Call me crazy. But to be fair, I tried them. Here's what I found.
Other brands had flavors I liked better, the non-chocolately kind, but those bars weren't high in fiber even though they claimed to be. In fact, I can get 9 grams of fiber when I eat a Fiber Plus bar, but only 3.5 eating the flavors I preferred from the other brands. Because flavor is important, I went to the store and bought every variety of Fiber Plus and while my family loves them all, the one I landed on, and ended up really liking, was the Choloately Peanut Butter with Caramel Coconut Fudge coming in at a close second.
3 Tips for Adding Fiber Into Your Diet
Now that you know some awesome options for foods high in fiber, I want to point out a few simple tips for incorporating fiber into your daily diet:
1. Eat a cereal high in fiber for breakfast to start your day out right. All-bran cereals are the very best and some have up to 10.4 grams. But even Raisin Bran has 5 grams. If you are a Bulgar or Kasha fan, you can get 9.6 grams to kick off your day.
2. Eat a fiber bar as a snack, not as a meal replacement. Fiber bars are awesome at snack time, because they are so filling and get you a ton of your fiber grams for the day. My personal favorite is to eat a Fiber Plus bar after working out when I am hungry and need to stay hydrated, but don't want to stuff myself or drink something other than water.
3. Couple two fiber-rich foods for side dishes and meals. For example, spinach salads are yummier with garbanzo beans. And get triple goodness when you add in artichoke hearts! Soups are great with lentils and whole-wheat macaroni noodles. Black beans are an awesome side dish with tortillas. Baked potatoes with broccoli make an awesome meal.
How do you help your family get enough fiber in their diets?
Disclosure: Kellogg's provided two boxes of Fiber Plus bars and compensated me for this post. The comments, opinions, and other 5 boxes of Fiber Plus and other brand product I bought came from my mind and pocketbook!