The nutrient fiber is vital to many processes in the human body, especially your digestion. It helps keep the intestines working properly, lowers cholesterol, and battles diabetes risk. Because foods that contain fiber are bulkier, they help you to feel fuller faster with fewer calories, and can help with maintaining a healthy weight.
An obvious issue for anyone that can’t or chooses to not eat gluten is that whole wheat is a powerhouse of fiber they can’t tap into. It’s no surprise that multiple studies have found people on gluten-free diets are incredibly lacking in this essential nutrient. But don’t worry, we’ve done some digging and gathered some great tips for getting the right amount of fiber into your daily routine.
Tip #1: Know how much fiber you need
It’s important to know how much fiber is ideal for your body. The recommended amount for adults is 20-35 grams each day. Children need less depending on age. If you take their age in years and add five, that is the average amount their bodies need. So a seven-year-old would need about 12 grams daily. Please keep in mind these are estimates. Always speak to a doctor before making any major change in nutrition. If you are simply trying to add more fiber to your diet, be sure to do so gradually to prevent stomach cramping, gas, and bloating.
Tip #2: Up your daily fruit and vegetable servings
The fiber naturally found in most fruits and vegetables is accompanied with other great nutrients. By simply adding 1-2 additional servings to your daily meals, you can give your body at least 4 more grams of fiber. Choosing raw servings will have the most to offer you. A great way to enjoy this is making a small fruit salad of your favorite seasonal fruits and tossing it with mint or cinnamon. It should make enough for a couple days’ worth of extra fiber.
Tip #3: Sneak in some legumes
The wide assortment of beans available offer lots of opportunities to add them to your diet. Even having a serving of beans three times more per week will make you healthier. The legume with the lowest grams of fiber still comes in at 3 grams per serving, and most have over 10! Toss a can of your favorite variety into a pot of soup or pasta dish. Or make a post of chili to chase away the cold winter weather.
Tip #4: Chose high-fiber alternatives to wheat flour
There are many types of flour substitutes for traditional wheat flour, but when it comes to fiber not all are equal. When choosing flours for your baked goods, gravies, and breads, consider the label for fiber content. Chickpea, amaranth, Montina, and flax meals are your best bet to boost your fiber intake.
Tip #5: Make flaxseed work for you
We mentioned flaxseed meal as a great option for a wheat flour substitute. Whole flaxseed offers three grams of fiber per tablespoon, while the same amount of ground flaxseed offers two grams of fiber. The versatility of this grain makes it easy to incorporate into healthy eating habits. You can substitute eggs for ground flaxseed and water in most muffin or bread recipes, or just add a couple tablespoons into your favorite recipes. Another option is to mix some flaxseed into a glass of juice or a yummy fruit smoothie. It makes a great addition to casseroles or salads as well.
Tip #6: Succeed with seeds and nuts
Other seeds and nuts are also a wonderful way to incorporate more fiber into your diet. Even just a handful of roasted, unsalted nuts or a sprinkle of seeds on a salad or in a smoothie can add at least 5 grams of fiber to your diet. Sesame seeds added to Asian dishes are excellent. Nut and seed butters count too!
Tip #7: Don’t discount non-gluten grains
Even though wheat is taboo, many gluten-free grains can add a ton of fiber to your diet. Think outside the rice bag. Cooked millet offers over 2 grams of fiber per cup, quinoa offers over 5 grams per cup, and cooked whole grain amaranth offers a whopping 18 grams per cup! It can be intimidating to try to cook a different grain, but there are a lot of resources out there to aid you. Your tummy will thank you.
Going gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to malnourish your body. Quite the contrary, most people are choosing better options to get back their vitality. With these tips, we are confident you can live your gluten-free lifestyle and still get adequate fiber.
Do you have any tips on ways to use the above-mentioned foods in daily meals or snacks? Please share them in the comments below!