Inspirations: High fiber meal ideas

Jun 17, 2015 - 1:28pm

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Inspirations: High fiber meal ideas

We all heard that dietary fiber is good for us, but not many people know why. In my previous blog I highlighted its importance in preventing constipation, but it also has a positive impact on other aspects of health. This article will fill you in on the benefits of the two main types of fiber – soluble and insoluble, and inspire you with easy high fiber meal ideas.

 

Why is fiber important in the diet?

Including enough fiber in our diets is essential for healthy bowel function. It not only prevents constipation but also protects against obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

How does the fiber work in the body?

Prevention of constipation Fiber adds softness and bulk to the stool making it easier to pass through the colon and the bulk stimulates the bowel movement.

Prevents obesity and diabetes: Dietary fiber also helps in weight control by making us feel full as well as keeping our sugar levels steady.

Prevents heart disease: Fiber also helps to excrete ‘bad’ cholesterol from the bowels. This controls cholesterol levels and prevents heart disease.

What are the different types of fiber?

There are 2 main types of fiber: soluble that dissolves in water and insoluble that does not.

Soluble fiber: Soluble fiber attracts water and forms a gel in the intestines to give a softer stool. It delays bowel transit by making you feel full, which assists in control of the appetite and the sugar levels. Sources of soluble fiber include: oranges, apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, nuts and seeds.

mandarin orange

Insoluble fiber: Insoluble fibers are known as roughage and it absorbs water but passes through the bowel undigested. It adds bulk to the stool, and speed up the passage of food and waste through the bowels. Foods rich in insoluble fiber include: celery, carrot, broccoli and tomatoes.

celery carrot broccholi tomoatos

How much fiber do I need daily?

As a general goal the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fiber is between 18-30g a day, but this may vary from person-to-person. When you are doing your weekly shop check the labels on foods:

6g of fiber per 100g is considered to be a high fiber food, and 3g per 100g are considered to be a source of fiber.

Our tips on incorporating fiber in your diet:

  • Aim to have five portion of fruit and vegetable each day.
  • Choose wholegrain verses processed foods.
  • Start the day with high-fiber breakfast cereal (oats or bran) topped with fruit. This will already give you 5g of fiber for the day.
  • Choose wholemeal or multi-seed bread sandwich for lunch.
  • Have dry fruit, nuts and seeds for your snack between meals.
  • Another snack idea is raw vegetables sticks (carrots and celery) with a hummus.
  • Add lentils and beans in your stews and casseroles for dinners.
  • Use brown rice, quinoa or wholegrain pasta as an accompaniment.

Our easy meal ideas to inspire you - using 6 ingredients:

6 high finer foods

1) Chia seeds: add some chia seeds to your fruit smoothie.

chia seeds smoothie

2) Oats: warm oats mixed with some honey and berries.

warm oats with berries

3) Linseeds: sprinkled on your salad.

linseeds salad

4) Goji berries: have some goji berries (or other dry fruit) with nuts and seeds, as a snack between the meals.

goji berries

5) Kale: prepare scrambled eggs with some chopped kale.

kale scrumbled eggs

6) Quinoa: Cooked white quinoa is a great accompaniment with any dinner side.

cooked quinoa

Image credit: bigstock.com

Do you meet your daily fiber intake? What is your favorite high fiber meal?

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