Do you know how much fiber you need & how to get more in a diet?

By Theresa Albert, DHN, RNCP

www.myfriendinfood.com

Women need 25 grams of fiber each day and men need 35. On average, we each get 11. Kids need between 19 and 30 grams starting as young as a year old.  It’s critical for them to build a bowel that knows how to move food effectively.

When it comes to high fiber foods, try thinking beyond the box of cereal. Vegetables contain lots of fiber – and will help you get much closer to the fiber finishing line. Here’s a useful cheat sheet of veggies and the amount of fiber you’ll get from them. (All amounts are per ½ cup cooked unless noted).

Collard Greens
The powerhouse of the south; these huge, dark green elephant ear leaves need a chop and a quick simmer to render them soft enough to eat. Salt, pepper and butter. 10 grams

Spinach
You know your massive spinach and strawberry salad? Cook it down with a drizzle of olive oil.  It's easier to eat the required amount and renders the nutrients more available to your body.  9 grams of fiber

Sweet potato
Mashed. No skin.  Delicious as is but a drop of balsamic viniagrette can't hurt.  11 grams

Baked Potato
The secret is...you have to eat the skin. Try not to undo all your good work with too much sour cream. 28 grams.

Avocado ¼ raw
Here is your high fat honey, but it is all good fat and worth every nibble. Ever thought about grilling it?  17 grams.

It’s also important to go beyond the vegetable sources, which are generally sources of insoluble fiber, and think about sources of soluble fiber. When you say “fiber”, everyone thinks “bran”. But there is a world beyond wheat that may be even better for you.

Over the long haul, you want to vary the source of bulking substance like wheat bran and vegetables (insoluble fiber) and add cholesterol-lowering, blood-sugar regulating soluble fiber from other sources.  (I will try to keep this clean...promise).

Soluble Fiber sources:

  • Kidney and lima beans as well as lentils and dried peas are fabulous sources of soluble fiber: 8 grams
  • Oatmeal: 10 grams.
  • Barley is a fabulous alternative to rice.  Here is a barley risotto recipe that has 17 grams per half cup.

 

About the Author:

Theresa Albert Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is an author and nutritionist in Toronto. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

Picture of Theresa Albert

Author: Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is an on-camera food and health expert, nutritionist and writer who loves to spread the word on food. She is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. Tweet with her at @theresaalbert & find her daily at www.theresaalbert.com

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