Fiber is a form of indigestible carbohydrates that promotes intestinal health, heart-health, blood sugar control, satiety and weight control. The fact the fiber isn’t digestible is what gives it its unique healthful properties. Here are eight creative and tasty ways to increase your fiber intake. These tips are so flavorful, you will never equate fiber and bland, unsatisfying diet again.
1. Add whole grains to your salads
Dark leafy green and vegetable salads are inherently high in fiber. By adding cooked whole grains, such as barley, wheat berries, brown rice, quinoa or buckwheat, to your salad bowl, you not only increase the fiber, you also add texture with a delicate chew – a nice contrast to crunchy vegetables.
2. Include fresh fruit and nuts in your breakfast foods
Brighten up your whole grain hot and cold cereals as well as whole grain toaster waffles with fresh fruit and crunchy nuts. Stir blueberries and almonds into your oatmeal or oat bran. Top whole grain waffles with banana slices, toasted walnuts and a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. And don’t forget to slather whole grain toast or bagels with pureed fruit or fruit preserves.
3. Mix vegetables and fruits into your pilafs and grain salads
Pilafs and grain salads are versatile dishes that can be deliciously mixed with a near endless array of ingredients. Try a seven grain pilaf tossed with crumbled feta, roasted red peppers, olives and chopped fresh parsley. Make a tropical grain salad by cooking brown rice with coconut milk (in place of the water) and mix it with crushed pineapple, green onions, shredded coconut and chopped macadamia nuts.
4. Use crushed whole grain cereals to coat poultry or fish
Instead of using breadcrumbs and flour to coat poultry or top-crust fish, use a mixture of crushed whole grain cereal or shredded wheat and breadcrumbs. Cereal isn’t just for breakfast.
5. Turn whole grain granola bars into dynamite desserts
Crumble whole grain granola bars on top of ice cream or yogurt. Finely crush granola, mix with butter and use as a crust for cheesecakes. Crushed granola also adds a tasty crunch to hot fruit crumbles.
6. Partner delicious dips with whole grain crackers or chips
The whole grain and multi-grain crackers and chips of today taste far better than the first fiber-full baked snacks. However, you can further improve their flavor by pairing them with creamy dips or chunky salsas. Puree cream cheese or goat cheese with fresh herbs, garlic and a bit of curry for a Middle Eastern inspired appetizer. Make a fruit salsa with chopped strawberries, peaches, jalapeno and cilantro as a sweet-hot side for chips. Or you can simply top whole grain crackers with irresistible artisan cheeses. (Try these dynamite dips.)
7. Transform cooked whole grains into tasty fillings
Whole grains can become satisfying stuffings for vegetables, fruit, poultry, pork or pastries when combined with other ingredients. Fill bell peppers with brown rice and seasoned ground turkey. Top roasted peach halves with a mixture of quinoa, currants and sour cream. Roll pilaf, sun-dried tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms and fresh herbs in flattened chicken breasts or boneless pork loins. Wrap cooked grains, minced vegetables and shredded cheese in puff pastry or phyllo.
8. Opt for all natural high fiber frozen meals