The vast majority of us need to include more fibre in our diet. Not only does it help to maintain a healthy gut and control blood sugar, it is also a great way of adding filling food to our plate without greatly increasing calories. Making high fibre food choices can therefore actually help us to maintain a healthy weight.
Government guidelines suggest that we should eat at least 30g of fibre a day yet on average we are consuming less that 15g. Children and teenagers do not required as much as adults but they are still consuming far less than recommended. Including colourful, fresh fruits and vegetables in their food environment is a good way of encouraging them to eat more.
Suggested Meals to Hit Your Daily Target
|Option 1||Option 2|
|2 slices of wholemeal bread with 1 tbsp peanut butter
|1 fresh orange
|A jacket potato with skin on, 200g reduced sugar baked beans
|Dinner||Vegetable curry with fresh tomato, cup of brown rice
|Grilled fish/Chicken, half cup of cooked peas, half cup of lentils, fresh salad
|Snack||Cup of raspberries with Greek yogurt
|Baked pear stuffed with quarter a cup of steel cut oats
|TOTAL DAILY FIBRE||32.8g||37g|
High Fibre Swaps
Not only does fibre help you manage your weight, keep your bowel movements regular and reduce your risk of diabetes, it also helps lower cholesterol and ward of heart disease. It is therefore advisable to choose high fibre foods by checking the label and looking for 5g or above. To get you started, here are some simple swaps you can make. If you do this consistently, you will dramatically increase your daily intake and reap the benefits.
1. Leaving the skin on your potato can increase your fibre intake by 40%! This doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to jacket potatoes, skin on fries or roasts are also an option.
2. Whilst cucumber is a great source of potassium, it is fairly low in fibre. Carrots on the other hand contain three times as much fibre. vs carrots -triple the amount
3. Creamy dips such as aioli or cheese and chive contain zero fibre compared with hummus that contains 4g per ¼ of a cup.
4. Whilst fruit is always a good way to increase fibre, there are some smarter options you can make to increase it even further. Raspberries for instance contain 8g per cup vs melon which only contains 1.4g!
5. Again, increasing your veg intake should always be a priority but consider peas instead of corn – they contain 6g per cup whilst sweetcorn only come in at 2.9g.
6. Highly processed foods tend to be lower in fibre and higher in added fats. Swapping your crisps for home cooked popcorn will increase your fibre intake by at least 3 times!
So how much fibre do YOU eat each day? If you are falling short, use my top tips to start making changes today. Your gut will thank you for it.
There are of course many other options. For more information on foods that are high in fibre, watch my video presentation here.
This evidence based nutrition advice was brought to you by Rebecca Flannery.