Fiber is essential to healthy eating, especially if you remember the other corresponding component to filling up with fiber—water. Think for a moment about your garbage disposal. In order to get it flushed out, you must run the water before flicking the switch. This is how you get things moving and cleaned out. Your own personal waste disposal isn’t much different. Believe me– you need both parts of this equation to make things work: fiber and water.
To bulk up the diet with more dietary fiber, it’s important to recognize that fiber is much more than just oat bran or whole wheat bread. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. Essentially that means that one is soluble in water and the other is not. Fact is we need BOTH in order to function optimally.
Soluble fiber sources includes apples, oranges, oatmeal, barley, dried beans and carrots. Insoluble fiber comes from bran, brown rice, popcorn, fruit and vegetable skins, and whole grains. Rather than obsess over which fiber is contained in which food, just keep in mind that having a well-balanced diet with an assortment of fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help you get what you need fiber-wise.
The typical American diet contains about 7-8 grams of fiber and yet the National Cancer Institute recommends 20-35 grams of fiber daily! For most people, a part of the solution can be as simple as changing out the white stuff for the brown stuff: out with the white bread, white rice and white flour and in with the whole wheat bread, brown rice and whole wheat flour. Adding a couple of grams of fiber here and there, do make a difference.
Developing good dietary habits in your children by including more fiber in the diet will payoff for a lifetime. Believe it or not, your little ones will start to prefer brown rice and brown bread—more flavor!
Here are a few recipes to get you started filling your family’s fiber requirements–
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup orange juice
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 green onions, chopped
1 large carrots, sliced
1/2 celery stalk, sliced
1/2 cup cashews
3 cups brown rice, cooked
In a bowl, combine juice, soy sauce, honey, cornstarch and seasonings.
In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil until it begins to smoke. Stir-fry vegetables for several minutes until the onions become fragrant. Set aside.
Remove from skillet and heat another tablespoon of oil until smoking and stir-fry chicken strips until browned and tender.
Add cooked vegetables, cashews and sauce mixture. Continue cooking until sauce bubbles and thickens. Serve atop a one-cup serving of brown rice
Per Serving: 1121 Calories; 23g Fat; 54g Protein; 175g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 88mg Cholesterol; 817mg Sodium. Exchanges: 10 Grain(Starch); 5 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 3 1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.
How about a salad for lunch?
Spinach Salad with Hazelnuts
1 pound fresh spinach
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms
4 slices turkey bacon, cooked crisp and diced
1/3 cup roasted and chopped hazelnuts
Combine dressing ingredients in small bowl. Mix well and set aside. Wash spinach and tear into small pieces. Combine mushrooms with spinach in salad bowl. Toss with turkey bacon and chopped hazelnuts. Add dressing and mix well.
Per Serving: 157 Calories; 11g Fat; 7g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 5mg Cholesterol; 518mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 2 Fat.
Bodacious Bran Muffins
Makes a dozen
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (available in health food stores; makes a nicer muffin than regular whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup oat bran
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 slightly beaten eggs
2/3 cup skim milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup oil
Spray muffin pan with vegetable cooking spray or line with paper baking cups. Stir together all dry ingredients. Combine eggs, milk and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until moistened. Fold in raisins. Fill muffin pan 2/3 full. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
Per Serving: 166 Calories; 6g Fat; 4g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 31mg Cholesterol; 170mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.