Power Ingredients Part I: How to Get More Fiber
The value of fiber in the diet and some ways to make sure you get enough of it.
I had a nutritionist tell me once that I should strive for 25g of fiber every day, especially when trying to lose weight. She was right. I didn't really start losing weight until I was eating AT LEAST 25g every day, consistently. I wanted to why this was, so after doing a little research, not only did I affirm that it works as an aid to move digestion along, but that eating too little of it affects blood sugar levels and portion sizes. Blood sugar levels affect weight loss and gain and fiber affects the feelings of satiety that's the middle ground.
When you begin to track how much fiber you get every day, it's really not a whole lot unless you're purposely putting in fiber-packed foods or supplements. So we all know we should be eating so many servings of fruit, carbs, and vegetables each day, which is where the fiber comes from. Let's see how this works out using me as an example.
I honestly go for just one serving of fruit per day, mainly because of the sugar and to help with the calorie deficit, but at 2 grams per serving of pre-portioned apple slices, 8 grams for one cup of blackberries, 7 grams for a cup of raspberries, why not?
Same goes for the complex carbs that I usually limit to 1 or 2 servings per day. A serving of quinoa is 2g, a serving of homemade hash brown potatoes is around 2g and a mutli-grain sandwich thin is 5g.
Meat and dairy don't have much fiber, so that leaves vegetables. For example, I meal prep myself to have a double serving of mixed raw vegetables 4-5 times each week. It's 4 grams of fiber. But you're really only going to get a few grams of fiber per serving, you might only wind up getting about half your daily allotment of fiber with multiple servings of vegetables per day.
Fiber Power Ingredient 1: Psyllium Husk Powder
There's a good reason why I'm putting this one first. You can mix it with anything and it's healthy. They recommend only using a rounded teaspoon per serving, probably so you don't eat so much it becomes a strong laxative. It's a powder that I have never been able to detect in anything I have used it in. If you follow my other posts and recipe, you'll see I add it to a lot and it's because, why not? We need fiber and you're not going to taste it! But it's not just for recipes. Add it to your smoothies, baked foods, water, sauces, really anything. Each serving is 4.5 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber, fifteen calories and negligible other nutritional values. You can find Psyllium Husk Powder in the vitamin aisle, probably near other commercial fiber supplements.
Fiber Power Ingredient 2: Flaxmeal
Flaxmeal is delicious. It has a nutty flavor that can be used in anything from smoothies, to soups, to a sprinkling on steamed vegetables or meats. It's as versatile as walnuts or almonds and is ground up to where you just spoon it into anything. It might be weird to put it in plain water, but I've been blending it into smoothies for years. A serving is 2 tbsp. For 70 calories, 4.5 grams of fat (which is okay fat to have), 4 carbs, 3 grams of protein, no sodium, no cholesterol, no sugar and 3 grams of great-tasting fiber. Just don't go overboard because the calories and carbs can add up.
Fiber Power Ingredient 3: Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are an interesting ingredient. They look like chocolate sprinkles (and scatter like them too) but are another ingredient that you can add to just about anything. You can sprinkle it on vegetables, add to smoothies or probably mix with nut butter and use as a spread. They bake very well into baked goods and have the unique quality of being a binding agent. 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds create a gel-like consistency that can equal one egg. A serving size is 2 tablespoons which will give you 60 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, no cholesterol, no sodium, 2 grams of protein, 4 carbs and 4 grams of fiber. One bonus nutrient is calcium, and one serving has 65mg of it! The only downside I've found to working with chia seeds is that they soften, but still retain their shape, and easily get stuck in your teeth.
Fiber Power Ingredient 4: Tortilla Wraps
WHAT?!? Yup. Mission makes these tortilla wraps that have a whopping 25 grams of fiber. 30 carbs, 25 of them fiber. And they taste like just like the real thing. Look for the Carb Balance whole wheat option. They have small and large ones, so check the labels. You won't be disappointed. Since I personally don't eat more than two servings of starch per day, just my preference, I use these wraps for breakfast wraps, tacos, salad wraps, hamburgers, even hot dogs when the craving called for it. I basically replaced bread for them.
Fiber Power Ingredient 5: Protein Powder
There are so many protein powders out there, and it can be like a trial and error experiment to find one you like the best. But like anything, check the labels. Per scoop, you will usualy find between 3 and 5 or more grams of fiber.
Just remember that there are indeed plenty of other foods to get you your 20-30 grams of fiber. Beans, lentils, pears, nuts, whole grains and oats, popcorn, avocados and green or crunchy vegetables. Just be careful if you're watching your carbohydrate and sugar intake.
Some other links are below for more information: