This blog post written by University of Illinois dietetic intern, Kirsten Berding Harold.
Did you know that less than 3% of Americans get enough fiber in their diets? It is recommended that women eat 25 grams of fiber per day and men 38 grams. On average, Americans only eat about 50% of the amount of recommended fiber per day.
Eating enough fiber each day has benefits for your overall health.
How can you eat that much fiber?
Eating a balanced and colorful diet, making half your grains whole grains, and aiming for 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day is the easiest way to reach your daily fiber goal.
A word of advice: When eating more fiber, increase intake gradually and make sure that you drink plenty of water to keep things moving and prevent bloating or stomach pain.
Health benefits of fiber:
- Keep you feeling full longer
- Achieve or maintain a healthy weight
- Help maintain a healthy digestive system
- May help lower cholesterol
- Help manage blood sugar levels
- Reduce risk for developing high blood pressure, heart disease and certain digestive diseases
Fiber rich foods:
- Berries (Raspberries, Strawberries, etc.)
- Whole wheat products
- Split peas
- Collard greens
Check food labels!
Dietary fiber is included under the Carbohydrates section of the Nutrition Facts panel. Choose products with at least 2 g of fiber per serving.
Easy ways that you can boost your fiber:
- Choose whole grain or whole wheat over white bread products
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. You do not have to eat them raw. Include them in smoothies, soups or add pureed vegetables to your sauces or stews.
- Leave skin on your fruit such as apples and pears. This part of the fruit is often the highest in fiber.
- Sprinkle seeds (such as flax seeds) in your morning cereal, on your oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods or yogurt.
Here is a example of a day that has 25 grams of fiber:
- Breakfast: Oatmeal (1 cup) topped with half a cup of berries (6g of fiber)
- Morning snack: 1 orange and handful of almonds (4g of fiber)
- Lunch: Turkey sandwich on 2 slices of whole wheat bread, with tomatoes and lettuce (5g of fiber)
- Afternoon snack: ¼ cup of Hummus with vegetables (5g of fiber)
- Dinner: Grilled chicken with 1 cup of broccoli and ½ sweet potato (6g of fiber)
- Snack: 3 cups popcorn (3.5g fiber)
Great recipes with fiber rich ingredients:
Breakfast Smoothie (add ground flaxseed to increase fiber)
Veggie Stuffed Pita (use whole wheat pitas)
Chicken Parmesan with Side Salad (use whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread crumbs)