A High Fiber Meal Plan for Better Health

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Fiber Recommendations

It is recommended that women consume a minimum of 21 to 25 grams of fiber daily. Men should eat between 30 to 38 grams daily, minimum. If you have a medical condition, it is best to consult your doctor about how much fiber you should consume. Additionally, the more you eat, the more fiber you need. If you consume a diet that has more than the average of 2,000 calories a day, you should aim to eat more fiber than the recommended daily minimum.

Start developing a high-fiber meal plan as you shop for groceries. With each package of food you examine, check the nutritional facts for its fiber content. Compare different brands and select the product that contains the most fiber. For example, choose whole grain pasta instead of pasta made from refined white flour.

Breakfast

Evaluate your current typical breakfast menu. Do you eat sugar cereals, eggs or frozen waffles? Try switching your cereal to a product containing whole grains and bran flakes. Or eat a hot bowl of oatmeal instead of cold cereal. One cup of cooked oatmeal equals about 4 grams of fiber. If you eat eggs, pair them with a piece of whole grain toast for about 1.9 grams of fiber. If you usually eat a commercially-prepared, frozen breakfast product like waffles, compare different brands and select the one with the highest amount of fiber. Another option is a medium-size oat bran muffin, which will typically have about 5.2 grams of fiber.

Lunch and Dinner

Revamp your lunch and dinner menus to fit your high-fiber meal plan. Plan to eat fruit with every lunch. One medium apple with the skin gives you about 4.4 grams of fiber, one medium banana or orange each contain 3.1 grams and one cup of raspberries boasts a whopping 8 grams of fiber.

Focus your dinner menu around high-fiber vegetables like peas, which gives you 8.8 grams of fiber for each cup. Boiled broccoli has 5.1 grams per cup and one medium baked potato with the skin on boosts your fiber intake by 2.9 grams. Choose whole grains to accompany your vegetables like barley, which has 6 grams of fiber per cooked cup, or brown rice which contains 3.5 grams per cup. It’s also a healthy idea to obtain some (or all, if you’re a vegetarian) of your protein needs from plant sources. For example, one cup of cooked lentils has 15.6 grams of fiber and one cup of split peas has 16.3.

Snacks

If you like to snack, swap out the chips and candy for healthy sunflower seed kernels, which give you 3.9 grams of fiber for each 1/4 cup. Or snack on raw carrots. One medium-size raw carrot provides 1.7 grams of fiber. Other fiber-rich snacks include fruit and air-popped popcorn (3.5 grams per 3 cups). Trade in sodas and other sugary drinks for vegetable or fruit juices. Just make sure the brand you select does not add loads of sugar.

References

Mayo Clinic Staff, “Nutrition and Healthy Eating: High Fiber Foods," https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fiber-foods/NU00582

Harvard School of Public Health, “The Nutrition Source: Fiber: Start Roughing It!," https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fiber-full-story/index.html

Mayo Clinic Staff, “Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet," https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033/NSECTIONGROUP=2