Fiber – A Nutritional Superstar

edita kaye woman shopping for healthy foodsThe American Diabetes Association, The National Cancer Institute, and The Institute of Medicine, in fact just about every group of nutritional experts agrees we don’t eat enough fiber. Why not?

Perhaps the answer is that fiber just wasn’t sexy. When we thought fiber we saw images of wheat germ, and prunes—foods we knew were good for us, but often didn’t seem appealing.

Well guess what—fiber got a makeover. WebMD reports that fiber is the ‘new all-star ingredient stealing the spotlight in toaster pastries, yogurt, canned soups, and even ice cream”.

Suddenly fiber is in.

The Nielsen Company, a marketing research firm, identified brands we already know and love that have added diet-enhancing fiber to their products—even some very unexpected ones:

Progresso has added a line of fiber-rich soups

Fiber Plus Antioxidants is new in the cereal category

Wheat Thins developed Fiber Selects, a fiber-based line

Quaker now has an Oatmeal Pancake Mix richer in fiber

Fiber One Yogurt added fiber to the product and name

And there are hundreds more on shelves today and being developed in labs and food kitchens of major brands.

The list goes on and on, giving you over 3,500 fiber- enriched choices. And why should you as a dieter care about fiber?

Fiber fills you up so you feel full and stay feeling full by taking longer to leave the stomach and slowing movement through the digestive system. Fiber also attracts and absorbs water, further enhancing fullness and slowing the return of hunger.

Fiber can slow down the rate at which your own body turns food into sugar and then into fat and improves glucose tolerance by slowing the speed of carbohydrates moving into the small intestine.

Fiber foods offer protection against absorbing empty calorie by replacing high calorie fats and sweets with lower calorie fiber-containing foods. By binding with bile in the intestine, fiber can help remove cholesterol from the body.

Fiber can be found in virtually every aisle, section, department, and on every shelf of your supermarkete

The Mayo Clinic reports that high-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time.

 

How much fiber do we get—and how much do we need?

Fiber is a nutrition powerhouse. It helps keep weight down and wards off disease, is low in excess fat, provides essential vitamins and minerals, and has no calories itself—all this in one package. The average American consumes approximately 10-15 grams of fiber per day. Double this number and we get closer to the daily recommendation of 20-35 grams per day for adults. We definitely aren’t getting enough for our overall health.

Quick Pick Fiber Grocery List

There are lots of ways to add fiber-rich products to your daily diet. Like this snack that offers endless variations on taste.

Try This

Popcorn that Really Pops!

Start with Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop! 100 calorie Mini bag popcorn and try these combos for a fiber rich snack

Toss with garlic powder, dried Italian herbs, and 1 tablespoon Newman’s Own Lite Balsamic dressing OR Toss with 2 tablespoons Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese, or 1 tablespoon curry powder and ¼ cup Sunmaid Dried Fruit Mix

Healthy Choice has a line of meals with a focus on fiber.

There are fiber-added cereals from Kashi GoLean, Kellogg’s, Post, and almost every store brand has products with added fiber. Quaker has a new pancake mix with fiber-rich oatmeal. Crackers, cookies, munchies can all be found with added fiber. Yogurt brands like Dannon and Activia have fiber added products.

Try This Too!

Loaded Sweet Potato

Top one small pre-wrapped microwaveable sweet potato with 1 cup Birds Eye Asian Vegetables in Sesame Ginger Sauce

Start with the produce section which is one of the best places to find fiber-rich foods.

The fruit section offers countless fiber choices including some of the more popular like apples, pears, oranges, kiwi, and berries—blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are good sources of fiber—fresh or frozen are just fine.

The vegetable section is loaded with fiber-rich veggies of every color and description. There are sweet potatoes, cabbage, sweet peppers, carrots, peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and more on your fresh produce fiber journey of discovery.

In the bread aisle you’ll find 100% whole wheat or whole grain breads and rolls; double fiber breads like Pepperidge Farm, Orowheat, Roman Meal, and Arnold; there are whole grain tortillas, pitas, bagels and English muffins, too. Then you can look for whole wheat crackers and flat breads like the Kavli brand, or Triscuits, Rye Krisnp, Wasa or Wheat Thins.

In the grains section you’ll find brown rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat and couscous.

We’ve already mentioned cereals—there are many to choose from that are high in fiber. You could start with Fiber One, All-Bran, Kashi GoLean, Post Grape Nuts and others. You’ll also find that oatmeal is high in fiber and a good addition to your fiber-rich breakfast menu.

Go Ahead Try This!

Yogurt with Honey & Nut Cereal

Yoplait Light Yogurt vanilla mixed with one serving
Honey Nut Cheerios

Dried fruit such as apricots, raisins, and prunes are also good sources of fiber and don’t forget Craisins—dried cranberries from Ocean Spray.

When you’re in the canned goods section you might try adding these to your grocery cart: canned beans; bean and lentil-based soups; canned veggies such as corn; applesauce.

So go ahead. Enjoy your fiber!

 

 


 

Pear Muffins

Pears tape measure3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 eggs

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 ripe pears, peeled, seeded and chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon.
  2. In another bowl, combine the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla. Stir into the flour mixture. Fold in the pears.
  3. Pour into paper-lined muffin cups, two-thirds full and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly on wire rack.

Makes 24 muffins.                             Serving size: 1 muffin

Edita’s Tip

It’s so hard to find fun recipes using pears. These are great. And if you have any leftover pears, just use them as a morning snack.

Edita’s Ultimate Breakfast Parfait

2 cups nonfat yogurt yoplait

2 cups of your favorite granola without nuts

2 cups fresh berries hulled and sliced (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries)

4 tablespoons honey

  1. Spoon 2 tablespoons of yogurt into each glass and smooth surface.
  2. Spoon 2 tablespoons of granola overtop and smooth surface.
  3. Spoon 2 tablespoons of fruit overtop and smooth surface.

Repeat the process, adding a bit of honey here and there to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

Edita’s Tip

Put out the ingredients for this

wonderful breakfast dessert, and let your

family make their own any way they like!

Orange Raisin French Toast

952032_s2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup skim milk

2 teaspoons orange zest (grated orange rind)

8 slices raisin bread

cooking spray

  1. In a shallow bowl combine the eggs, milk and orange zest.
  2. Dip the slices into the mixture one at a time, both sides until they are well coated.
  3. Fry in a large skillet sprayed with non fat cooking spray until both sides are golden brown. Serve hot with a little maple syrup or a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Makes 4 servings.                                 Serving size: 2 slices

Breakfast Brownies

Cocoa dust Heart shape isolated¾ cup pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup mashed tofu

2 tablespoons applesauce

2 tablespoons honey

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup unsweetened carob powder

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F.

  1. Combine all dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Mix together well with mixer until very smooth. If too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water.
  2. Spread batter in an 8-inch non-stick square pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake! Let cool about 10 minutes. Cut into squares.

Makes 16 servings.                  Serving size: 1 brownie

Edita’s Tip

This recipe was the very first one I made with tofu.

It won me over!

Twice the Berry Muffins

800 Berries Baskets1 ½ cups flour
½ cup cream of wheat cereal, uncooked
½ artificial sweetener
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 container (8-ounces) raspberry non-fat yogurt
1 cup egg substitute
¼ cup skim milk
¾ cup fresh blueberries
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Mix flour, cereal, sweetener, baking powder and cinnamon; set aside.  Blend yogurt, egg substitute, and milk until well blended.  Stir into dry ingredients just until blended; stir in blueberries.
Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups. Fill cups ¾ full. Bake 20 minutes or until done.

Makes 12 servings.                  Serving size: 1 muffin

Edita’s Tip
Blueberries are now recognized as one of the
richest sources of antioxidants!

Edita’s Steamed Veggies

Colorful vegetables and fruits
1 large head broccoli, cut into flowerets

1 red pepper, seeded and sliced

1 green pepper, seeded and sliced

1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced

1 pound green beans

1 large onion, peeled and sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 cup peanuts, pecans or sliced almonds

In a large plastic bag combine the veggies. Seal and keep in the fridge until used. When ready to use, steam veggies until crisp tender. Serve with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, your favorite reduced fat salad dressing or 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Serving size: Up to two cups