We feel pretty comfortable talking about fiber, but aside from us, we know this isn’t a happy-hour topic. Truth is, we all should say the F word more often (and by that, we mean fiber) because we all know we need more of it in our diets.
Currently, only 5% of Americans consume enough fiber. On average, 74% of Americans are living with some type of digestive-issue symptom. And if you’re part of that 26% that doesn’t have a digestive-issue symptom, you’re fortunate, but taking care of your digestive health is just as important as taking care of your heart.
Not only that, but, when we eat a low-fiber diet, chances are, the friendly little bacteria in our gut are not getting fed. Interestingly enough, the good bacteria in our gut can only thrive with fiber. So, it’s important that when we are eating, we think about feeding them, since these bacteria help our body achieve healthy functions.
Easier said than done, right? We get it. We go about our busy days, thinking that we have consumed enough fiber. In reality though, we’re consuming only about 15 grams of fiber daily, when we really need to be consuming 28 grams daily.
What do you say we dive in together on this one, and find some easy additions that will get you checked off on your daily needs?
Let’s begin with how we start our days. Some mornings you may have more time than others, so the trick to starting the day off right is to plan ahead. Lucky for you, you’ll see at the end of this article that we’ve added a yummy little recipe that the whole family will like, and it will only take you 5 minutes. When we think about eggs, toast, jam, cheese and bacon, we think that’s a complete breakfast with protein, fats and carbohydrates, but how about fiber?
These foods hardly contain any fiber, which puts our fiber count at 0 grams as we head out the door for the day. So, next time you’re in the grocery store thinking about breakfast, look for food with high fiber content, like bread that has whole grains, nuts and seeds. Avocadoes are great, too. Even better? Avocado toast. Delicious and packed full of fiber.
As you carry on with your day, you’ll probably want a midmorning snack and a little later, lunch. Chances are, you probably won’t be home for those. No problem. When it comes time for a snack, reach for that apple in your bag, the little pouch of almonds, or a vibi+® that has 8 grams of fiber and will keep you hydrated. Here’s a pro tip: when it comes to fruits, the fruits with edible skin (pears, apples, nectarines, peaches, plums, berries) try to leave the skin on — it is packed with fiber.
Now with your day coming to an end, everyone will be home soon — and hungry. Family meals can be tricky, as you’re trying to please everyone, while at the same time being healthy and fiber rich. But for those tricky times, we have some tricks too. For instance, on taco night, switch flour tortillas to whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas. They’ll add more fiber to your meal. Same with adding black beans or pinto beans to your tacos. And of course, order or make guacamole because of the avocadoes. Pasta night or pizza night? We’ve got a plan. Try blending sweet potatoes or butternut squash to your sauce, this will bump up the fiber…and we promise nobody will notice, it will be our little secret.
Go. Eat healthy. And enjoy.
Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds and Berries
We love recipes that are easy…and family friendly. Now, when they’re fiber rich too, that’s a win-win.
This recipe is great because it gives you 2-4 servings (depending on how hungry you are). Plus, you can whip it up in 5 quick minutes before bed, and leave it in the fridge. It will be ready for you to enjoy the next morning. Yum!
- 1 1/3 milk of your preference (we love oat milk, it gives it that extra nutty flavor)
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
- 1 ¼ cups rolled oats
- ¾ cups water
- 4 Tablespoon chia seeds (extra fiber and crunchiness)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (or pumpkin spice)
- ½ cup fresh berries of your preference
- 1 peach thinly sliced (you can switch it up with pears, apples, nectarine and plums…leave the skin on for that extra fiber)
In an airtight jar or container, combine the milk, bananas, oats, water, chia seeds and cinnamon. Stir it all together. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours (overnight).
After it has been refrigerated for 8 hours, divide the mixture into how many servings you want. Dividing into 2 servings will give you a nice breakfast bowl.
When you’re ready to eat, place your serving in a saucepan on low heat and gently stir for 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and top with your berries and peach.
Quagliani, Diane, and Patricia Felt-Gunderson. “Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap: Communication Strategies From a Food and Fiber Summit.” American journal of lifestyle medicine vol. 11,1 80-85. 7 Jul. 2016, doi:10.1177/1559827615588079
Daily Value and Percent Daily Value: Changes on the New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels (fda.gov)
Fuhrman, Joel. “The Hidden Dangers of Fast and Processed Food.” American journal of lifestyle medicine vol. 12,5 375-381. 3 Apr. 2018, doi:10.1177/1559827618766483