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Easy Ways to Add Fiber to Your Diet
Instead of eating processed white bread, white pasta, or white rice, opt for whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice. "Whole" products are not only high in fiber, but they also keep you feeling full.
When eating fruits and vegetables, keep the skin intact. The skin of fruits and vegetables contains extra fiber, so keep it on and eat it up to gain the most nutritional benefit. To get even more nutrients from your favorite fruits and veggies, eat them raw. Cooking fruits and vegetables sacrifices some of their fiber and nutrient content, so savor them in their crunchy, au natural form.
Start every morning with a healthy serving of fiber to fill you up and energize you for the day. Stock your cabinet with high-fiber breakfast options such as bran cereal and steel-cut oatmeal. Add even more fiber to these healthy diet choices by topping them with fiber-rich fruit. Add fresh blueberries, raspberries, or sliced bananas to your cold cereal. When you don't have fresh fruit on hand, don't panic—you can add frozen fruit to oatmeal just before cooking it.
Dry beans and lentils are great sources of soluble fiber to add to your diet. They are protein-packed and delicious, and they can be selected as a meat replacement. Spice up your favorite foods by adding black, garbanzo, kidney, or navy beans.
Ensure that your family is getting a full spectrum of nutrients in their daily diet by including a variety of colors in each meal. Because many nutrients are also pigments, adding colorful fruits and vegetables to entrees means you’re also increasing your intake of powerful, disease-fighting antioxidants.
Keep high-fiber, nutritious snacks handy at all times. Choose whole-grain pretzels, low-fat air-popped popcorn, or raw nuts when you are craving something salty. Wash pieces of fruit each day so they will be easy to grab when your sweet tooth beckons. Wash and cut carrots, peppers, and raw sweet potatoes for a crunchy, guilt-free snack. For the ultimate high-fiber snack, make a customized fiber-filled trail mix using raw nuts, flavorful seeds, dried fruit, and a few extra ingredients of your own.
When you're dining out, ask if you can substitute vegetables or fruit for the fries or chips that normally accompany your meal. At some restaurants, you can even ask to replace the croutons on your salad with high-fiber raw nuts or dried fruit. Don't be afraid to ask for a healthy option—after all, the customer is always right!
As you increase your fiber intake, don't forget to drink more water, too. Like fiber, water is an important regulator of the digestive system. Wash your fiber down with a refreshing glass of water, and you'll be well on your way to digestive health.