Reed Vawter, MS, RDN, CSOWM, LD
Health Education Consultant
Everyone knows it is important to eat protein. And we all know about getting our vitamin C and D and calcium and all the other vitamins and minerals our body needs to function. But how often do you think about fiber? Fiber is super important for us to operate at our best. Consider some of the benefits that fiber provides:
- Promotes normal bowel movements and reduces constipation
- Reduces your risk for developing hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, and colon cancer
- Lowers cholesterol
- Improves blood sugar levels
- Helps achieve or maintain a healthy weight
- Maybe even live longer!
The average American only gets about 15g of fiber per day – this is well short of the recommended amount (25g for women and 38g for men; and a little less if you are above 50 years old).
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be difficult to get that amount of fiber into your day. Focus on tasty high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and whole grains, and you’ll get to your recommended amount in no time. Check out this simple example of a day of eating that adds up to 38g of fiber:
- Breakfast: 1 packet of instant oatmeal, 1 cup raspberries, and Greek yogurt (about 12g fiber)
- Lunch: 1 cup chili (with beans), 1 slice whole-grain bread, and 1 apple (about 15g fiber)
- Snack: ¼ cup almonds (4g fiber)
- Dinner: 3 oz chicken breast, 1 cup steamed broccoli, and 1 cup cooked quinoa (about 7g fiber)
And what’s more, that only added up to about 1,400 calories! (Meaning there is probably still plenty of room for a sensible dessert if you choose.)
Use your favorite online food logging app for a few days to find out how much fiber you are currently eating. Most will add up the daily total for you. Then, check out this article with strategies to help regularly meet your fiber requirements.