So you want to start to increase your fiber intake and that of your family’s? But where to begin?
Adding fiber is actually easy and very flavorful. A creative beginning is to start with fruit. Most whole fruits supply at least 1 to 2 grams of fiber per serving. However, there are some fruits that stand out above the rest when it comes to increasing fiber intake. Below are some of my favorite creative fruit ideas to help you boost your fiber intake.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for berries! Berries are my all time favorite fruit. Not only are they tart, juicy and oh so good, but they have some of the highest fiber contents of commonly eaten fruits. For example, 1 cup of raspberries give you 8 grams of fiber! 1 cup of blackberries gives you 7.5 grams of fiber, while strawberries and blueberries give 3.5 and 3 grams of fiber, respectively. Berries are an excellent choice to add to breakfast cereals and yogurt parfait. Their versatility makes them something easy to enjoy at breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more recipe ideas, check out my visit on the My Carolina Today show, when I talked about the benefits of raspberries for heart health.
Pick a pear for fiber. Pears are a great and easy fruit to add to salads. Their tart sweetness pairs well with most salad greens and fixings. For a sweet and satisfying power snack, mixed some diced pears with part skim ricotta cheese. Drizzle with a teaspoon of honey and a dash of cinnamon. Serve the pear and ricotta cheese mixture in a whole wheat pita. Keep the skins on to boost the fiber intake per serving. 1 medium-sized pear with the skin provides a whopping 5.5 grams of fiber!
Make kiwi your new friend. Kiwi fruit is such a fun fruit to eat. Kids get a kick out of the fuzzy skin. Kiwi is a great addition to salads and sandwiches. For a unique twist to your classic PB & J, swap out the jelly for some slices of kiwi fruit instead. 2 kiwis provide 4 grams of fiber. If you leave the skin on, it triples the content of the fiber. So next time you are craving that PB & J, make it a PB & K!
Avocados, not just for guacamole. I love avocados, especially when I make my own fresh guacamole. But really, if you only use avocados for guacamole, you are missing out on so many ways to boost your intake of fiber and vitamin E. Avocados are a great substitute for fat in many baked goods. Simply swap in 1/4 cup of mashed avocado for 1/2 of the butter called for in a recipe. Not only will this provide you with 4 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup, but it also gives you a healthful dose of heart healthy monounsaturated fats and the powerful antioxidant, vitamin E. Avocados can be used in place of butter for icing, muffins, cakes, and other baked goods. Give it a try. Your heart and immune system will thank you for it.
This week I challenge you to start adding more fruit and fiber to your meals. Remember to drink plenty of water as you increase your fiber intake. What are some of your favorite recipes that include fruit? How do they measure up on the fiber scale? Get creative and bon appetit!