Are you getting enough fiber in your diet? Given the easy access to processed foods these days, many are not meeting the requirement. You need enough fiber to stay trim, have a healthy digestive tract, and keep your blood cholesterol where it should be. Here are some ideas for high-fiber snacks.
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Types of fiber
First, let’s make the distinction between soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, while insoluble does not. Soluble is generally fermented by bacteria in the colon, while insoluble is poorly fermented. It is important to have both because both are important for healthy digestion and prevention of chronic disease. These two types work in different ways in the body to promote health.
Both types of fiber have health benefits. Soluble fiber slows digestion and lowers blood cholesterol and thus the risk of heart disease. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and promotes regular bowel movements. It helps prevent constipation and irregular bowel movements.
Tips to meet fiber needs
In addition to choosing snacks like my ideas below, check your fruit and vegetable intake. Many Americans do not meet the requirement for fruits and veggies, and they are a great source of fiber. Try adding fresh fruit to cereal at breakfast or consuming a serving of veggies at lunch or dinner.
Increase fiber in the diet gradually –this will give the bacteria in your gut time to adjust and result in fewer unpleasant side effects.
It is desirable to obtain fiber from foods rather than supplements if possible, as fiber-rich foods contain many compounds that are important for health, such as the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Such compounds help prevent chronic disease such as cancer.
Meeting your needs through high-fiber snacks
Here’s a list of my favorites:
This has been my go-to snack in quarantine. The only three ingredients are organic popcorn, organic sunflower oil and sea salt. It has 3g of fiber per serving.
This option not only provides fiber, but also healthy fat and protein. If you want to add a little sweetness, you could drizzle some honey on top. The bread is organic, and, along with 2g of fiber per slice, also contains omega-3 fatty acids. It does contain 3g of added sugar per slice, so be aware how that fits into your diet as a whole. I enjoy the peanut butter given the simple ingredients–organic peanuts and salt.
Carrot sticks with Santa Cruz organic peanut butter (paid link)
You can also use the peanut butter above to get in a serving of vegetables. I spread the peanut butter on the carrot and am able to add some important vitamins and minerals to my diet as a snack.
I first tried this after moving to Hawaii. I cut the papaya in half and sprinkle ground walnut over it, along with lemon juice. I then enjoy with a spoon. Along with adding fiber, this is a great way to add some vitamins such as A and C to your diet, as well as heart-healthy fat.
Oatmeal cookies with nuts provide a dose of fiber, along with some protein and heart-healthy fat. You can add raisins for additional fiber. Micronutrients found in this snack include magnesium.
These not only contain 3g of fiber per serving, but also contain 6g of protein and 14g of fat, most of which is unsaturated. You will also find some vitamin B6 and potassium in this snack. Also love that they are organic.
Yogurt with Nutiva organic chia seeds and Made in Nature goji berries
Chia seeds are quite high in fiber, with 5g in just one tablespoon. I mix these into oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies. They also provide omega-3s, protein and antioxidants. Goji berries also provide quite a bit of fiber, with 4g in ¼ cup. They also contain protein and antioxidants.
You will find 2g of fiber in a ¼ cup serving of this trail mix, along with 3g protein. I appreciate that it doesn’t have much sugar, with 4g per serving. Some of this sugar comes from that naturally found in the dried fruit.
The goal is to choose filling snacks so you won’t quickly be feeling hungry again, and these ideas should help you achieve that. If you’re looking for even more snack ideas, Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND gives some excellent suggestions in her post on snacking, and also discusses how snacks have been changing lately.
Have questions? Comments? I would love to hear what you think below!