Just like getting 30 plant foods a week, increasing your fibre intake sounds difficult. However, it’s always more difficult in theory than in practice. Even still, most adults are only getting 15g – 16g of fibre a day instead of the recommended 30g. So below I’ve listed some simple food swaps and food ad-ins that will help you to get those extra few grams.
Change to Wholemeal
It’s such a simple one. You can basically buy any flour-based products wholemeal these days including pasta, pitta bread, wraps, sourdough bread, noodles, and the list goes on. Its also generally no more expensive to buy wholemeal than it is plain flour products. For example, 6 pittas in Tesco cost 60c whether you buy them wholemeal or white-flour. However, while there might not be a difference in their price, there’s a huge difference in their fibre content. A wholemeal pitta contains 6.3g of fibre while a white-flour pitta only has 3.6g. Thats almost half the amount. The same is true for their penne pasta. White penne only has 2.2g of fibre per 100g while the wholewheat has 7g. It can be as simple as picking the other product on the shelf.
Swap Meat for Beans
Meat does not contain any fibre, as fibre can only be found in plant-foods. Therefore, by swapping out your meat in dishes for a bean or a legume you are instantly getting more fibre. It doesn’t have to be every meal but even having one plant-based meal a day can make a huge difference. Here are some examples of swaps you could make:
- Swap minced beef for lentils in a spaghetti bolognese
- Swap minced beef for black beans and kidney beans in a chilli
- Swap chicken for chickpeas in fajitas
- Swap chicken for chickpeas in curry
- Swap chicken or bacon in a salad for mixed beans
Throw in Seeds
Start throwing a mixture of seeds into your everyday dishes. Seeds are very high in fibre and they are extremely versatile. Throw them on top of oats, into smoothies, into granola, in bread, and into salads. You can even use flaxseed as a substitute for egg.
Fill up on Berries
Berries are very high in fibre. In fact, raspberries have one of the highest fibre-contents of any food and, they are easy to eat. You can enjoy them with your breakfast (on porridge, in overnight oats, in smoothies, on granola with yoghurt, etc.), on their own, with some mixed nuts as a snack, and even in desserts. You can also cook them with chia seeds to make jam.
Have Fruits or Vegetables with Every Meal
By adding some fruits or vegetables to every meal you have during the day, you will not only help to maintain a good blood sugar levels but you will also make sure that you are packing in fibre at every opportunity. Even if you are having pizza for dinner, why not have a small salad on the side or throw a few veggies on top. It can be as simple as having a piece of fruit with your sandwich, or adding some veggies into your curry. It doesn’t require much effort but your gut will absolutely thank you for it.
Swap Shop-Bought Sauces for Homemade Sauces
We live in a world where almost anything can be bought ready-made saving us the time and energy of making it. For example, you can buy any sauce you could could possibly want in a jar such as, curry sauces and pasta sauces. It sounds like a great solution when you’re busy and don’t need the stress of making it yourself. The problem is that these jars of sauces are highly processed. During processing most foods lose a lot of their nutritional value especially fibre. For example, a jar of Dolmio bolognese sauce only has 1.4g of fibre per 100g. However, if you were to make a bolognese sauce from home using fresh tomatoes, fresh garlic, onion and a mixture of other veggies and herbs, the fibre content would be much much higher. In my opinion, the opting for processed foods over homemade whole-foods as a means of convenience is one of the major contributing factors as to why people are not getting enough fibre in their diet. It sounds like a lot of effort to make sauces from scratch. However, you can make it a lot easier for yourself by making it in bulk and freezing it, planning ahead of time or even making enough that you can have it as leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Its worth making the effort for your overall health and well-being.
These are just a few very simple things that you can do to increase your fibre intake a little everyday. Eating adequate amounts of fibre is essential for overall health so why not try a couple of these suggestions or get creative and come up with some of your own ways to add more fibre to your diet.