We don't eat enough fiber. Here are some easy ways to add it to your diet.
The Full Plate Diet is built on the notion that fiber is the key to weight loss. Eating 40 grams of fiber a day—rather than the 10 to 15 grams that most adults consume—the authors say, will keep you full and help you drop pounds without having to count calories. Whether or not fiber is the magic ingredient they say it is, the authors are correct that we generally don't eat enough fiber from whole-food sources like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and even nuts and seeds. Here are 10 food swaps the book suggests as a way to boost the fiber content of your diet.
1. Eat oranges instead of drinking OJ.
A medium orange has 3 grams of fiber; the process that turns it into juice, however, strips all that out. (And the fruit has less sugar than a serving of juice.)
2. Opt for brown rice over white.
A cup of cooked brown rice has 4 grams of fiber. But a cup of cooked white medium-grain rice has just 1 gram. If you're a sushi fan, ask the restaurant to substitute brown in pieces and rolls.
3. Choose whole-grain bread over white.
A sandwich made from two pieces of whole-grain bread gives you 4 grams of fiber from the bread alone. White bread has none.
4. Reach for almonds instead of candy.
This is a tough swap to make; even though almonds lead the nuts in fiber, with 4 grams per ounce, chocolate (with none or nearly none) tastes awfully good. So if you're going to sin, try Hershey's Kisses With Almonds.
5. Swap white potatoes for sweet.
The sweet potato has a bit more fiber than the white variety (4 grams versus 3 grams for a medium spud), but you really can't go wrong with either one...as long as it's not in the form of fries.
6. Dig into a bowl of oatmeal, not a plate of eggs.
A cup of cooked oats has 4 grams of fiber; eggs have zilch. That may not surprise you—but what about the fact that the same serving of oatmeal has as much protein as a medium egg?
7. Try a fruit smoothie rather than a milkshake.
A 16-ounce Blackberry Bliss smoothie at Jamba Juice has 4 grams of fiber; a McDonald's vanilla shake has none. Just watch the calories and sugar, since they can add up in smoothies as well as shakes.
8. Skip the sour cream dip in favor of hummus.
A tablespoon of hummus has about a gram of fiber; sour cream dip has little to none. But be sure you're dipping with veggies, not chips.
9. Dunk a bran muffin, not a donut.
A Dunkin' Donut glazed donut does have a gram of fiber, but the chain's Honey Bran Raisin Muffin has 5 grams. But watch the calories; the donut has 220, while the muffin has 500. Try making your own.
10. Spoon up some applesauce rather than pudding.
A cup of unsweetened applesauce can have up to 3 grams of fiber (but check the label, since some brands have less). Pudding has just a trace. But even better than the applesauce is a whole apple—4 grams per medium fruit.