by Tom Lovecchio
he American Heart Association Eating Plan suggests that dietary fiber intake should be about 25 to 30 grams a day. This does not include fiber supplements, which don’t always come with the full benefits of fiber-rich foods.
Since something that may work for one person may not work for another, here are some simple ways to add fiber to your diet:
Switching to a high fiber cereal is a simple way to start off the day with some additional fiber. For this, look for cereals that have fiber or whole grain in the name, such as Fiber One.
Oatmeal is another great way to add fiber to your diet, with multiple options: the traditional way of heating up oatmeal, or overnight oats, a great alternative for those who have never liked oatmeal.
Overnight oats have the base ingredients of oats and water/choice of milk. Top it off with add-ins like fruits, nuts, chia seeds, greek yogurt, sweeteners, spices and any other toppings. Once all of the ingredients are combined, the oats just need to soak overnight and will be ready to go in the morning.
Sandwiches are a lunchtime staple. Just like with cereal, sandwiches provide a simple way to make the switch to whole grain. Look for whole grain or sprouted bread in the bread aisle to add in some midday fiber.
Another way to add more fiber into a sandwich is to swap out the usual mayonnaise or sandwich spread and substitute in an avocado. Not only are avocados rich in fiber, they also contain healthy fats.
With the rise in popularity of fast-casual restaurants, everyone can take a page out of Chipotle’s book and prepare a DIY bowl or burrito for lunch. In doing so, adding lentils, kidney beans, black beans, split peas and/or carrots are all simple ways to add in additional fiber without completely changing the overall taste of the DIY bowl or burrito.
Quinoa has also gained popularity in recent years for being high in fiber and protein. Quinoa can replace rice in the main entrée or simply add it into a salad.
If pasta or rice is on the menu for dinner, opt for whole-wheat pasta or brown rice to get more fiber than traditional pasta or white rice.
Vegetables are a great source of fiber. Broccoli, artichokes and peas all make easy additions to dinner to add more fiber to your diet.
Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, so feel free to grab the hummus when it comes time for a snack. Just like with bread and cereal, opting for whole-grain crackers will provide additional fiber.
For individuals with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is another great fiber-rich snack. With dark chocolate, be careful while walking down the candy aisle and pick dark chocolate with at least 70% or higher cacao content to avoid any unnecessary sugar.
Almonds, pistachios and sunflower kernels are also some other fiber-rich foods that are good to snack on throughout the day.