Fiber – we all know we should eat it but we often come up short.
Fiber is a rockstar for our body and it doesn’t get enough credit. The majority of Americans only eat about half of what is recommended at around 15 grams of fiber a day. The recommendation for women is 28 grams a day and for men its 35 grams a day. Fiber literally impacts every part of our body so by eating your more fiber you have a direct impact on your gut, blood sugar, heart health, and weight.
The 2 Minute Fiber Check-In.
Use this quick 2-minute check-in to see where you are with meeting your fiber goals. If you were to put everything you’ve eaten on a big plate that was separated into food groups would fruits and veggies take up half of the plate? If it is then you are on the right track with meeting your fiber goals for the day. If it isn’t then there is room for improvement. Fruits and veggies are the two biggest sources of fiber in our diets so this is why I like to use this method to check in with how I am doing.
Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber.
We have two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, both are important for the body and each has a slightly different job.
Soluble fiber gets its name because of its ability to mix with water and form a gel-like substance in our digestive tract. This type of fiber helps to slow down digestion. This is helpful for our body because it means won’t get those spikes in our blood sugar and we stay full longer (read: craving control). Soluble fiber is found more in the flesh of fruits and veggies. Think the inside of the apple versus the apple peel.
Insoluble fiber means it can’t mix with water and therefore it doesn’t turn into a gel-like substance. The structure of insoluble fiber can go unchanged as it travels through our digestive system. For example, have you ever eaten corn and seen it come out the same way it came in aka you poop it out? Or how about when I eat my favorite snack of celery and peanut butter. I’m always hoping I don’t get the super stringy celery that makes me feel like I have to chew it forever. Those strings would be another example of insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber bulks up our poop which makes it easier for us to have a bowel movement and helps with preventing constipation.
Popular Fiber Foods.
Check out some of my other blog posts about fiber.
Focus on filling up the fiber gap.
If we are already eating 15 grams of fiber every day without thinking this means we need an additional 10-23 grams a day for women and men respectively. My approach to nutrition is to find the path to least resistance so focus on finding foods to fill the fiber gap.
What does 10-20 grams of fiber look like?
Naturally the next thing that comes to mind is what exactly does a gram worth of fiber even mean because no eats grams of fiber, we eat food. Here are some ideas on what 10-20 grams of fiber actually looks like.
I think you will find that when you look at some of these combinations it won’t be so intimidating. Plus, I bet a lot of you will have some of these foods already in your kitchen! Mix and match these snack ideas to fill your fiber gap.
Apple slices dipped in peanut butter and ground flax
1 medium apple – 4.4 grams
2 tbsp of peanut butter – 1.9 grams
2 tbsp of ground flax – 4 grams
Grand Total: 10.3 grams of fiber
English muffin with sliced avocado and cherry tomatoes
1 whole wheat english muffin – 3 grams
⅔ avocado – 6 grams
A handful of cherry tomatoes – 1 gram
Grand Total: 10 grams of fiber
Carrots dipped in hummus
½ cup of hummus – 7.5 grams
15 baby carrots – 6 grams
Grand Total: 13.5 grams of fiber
Rice cakes with blueberries, almond butter, and sunflower seeds
1 cup of blueberries – 3.6 grams
2 rice cakes – 1 gram
3 tbsp almond butter – 4.8 grams
¼ cup sunflower seeds – 1 gram
Grand Total: 10.4 grams of fiber
Stuffed sweet potato
1 Sweet potato – 3.9 grams
1 cup of walnuts- 7 grams
⅓ cup of dried cranberries – 2.3 grams
Grand Total: 13.2 grams of fiber
Bean dip with chips
½ cup mashed black beans – 7.5 grams
1 cup of tortilla chips – 3.6 grams
Grand Total: 11.1 grams of fiber
Grab my gut guide for some recipes you can try now plus you’ll be joining my email list. I send recipe ideas every week.
Grab my Gut Guide
Amanda is a pizza loving registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in mindfulness and gut health. She quickly realized that gut health goes beyond the gut; it is also about honoring our gut feelings. She is the creator of The Mindful Gut™ which uses science and strategy to help people improve their gut health.