2011-04-28 / Features

How To Add More Fiber To Your Diet

There’s no doubt that a high-fiber diet is good for your health, yet few Americans consistently get their daily allowance of fiber, according to the American Dietetic Association. The recommended amount is 20-35 grams, but most people only eat about 14-15 grams of fiber a day.

Fortunately, adding fiber to your diet doesn’t have to be a chore. There are some easy additions and delicious substitutions you can make to help meet your recommended daily allowance of fiber.

Go dark: Every week, switch at least one white food for a brown one. So instead of white rice, use brown rice. Instead of regular pasta, cook whole wheat pasta. Similarly, eat whole wheat pitas instead of white ones, whole wheat burritos instead of corn and whole wheat couscous instead of regular.

Breakfast substitutions: If the idea of purchasing and changing an entire staple grain is too daunting, then start slow. Nowadays you can get some great-tasting, high fiber breakfast foods. For example, Eggo FiberPlus waffles are available in two flavors – buttermilk and chocolate chip - and provide 35 percent of the daily recommended fiber in every serving.

While the buttermilk variety offers 35 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium, the chocolate chip variety contains 20 percent of recommended antioxidants, namely vitamin E and zinc. They’re also an easy, quick-to-make alternative to boiling fiber-rich oats.

Add a piece of fruit to every meal: Fruit is a great on-the-go food. No matter where you’re eating – at work, at home, or lunching with friends – it’s easy to ask for a piece of fruit or a fruit cup on the side.

Don’t skin it: When eating apples, pears or even potatoes, don’t leave the skin behind. The skins not only hold most of the fiber content, but are sources of other nutrients as well. Also, when eating oranges or grapefruits, don’t halve or juice them. Peeling and eating them whole will allow you to enjoy the taste and get the most fiber.

Snack on: A healthy diet should never leave you undernourished or starving. If you do get the munchies, however, snack on granola, nuts or dried fruits. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water as you increase your fiber intake.

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