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How to Boost Your Dietary Fiber Intake

Bowl of steel cut oats

Eating a diet rich in fiber can lower your risk for developing colon cancer. Adults should have 25-35 grams of fiber daily, or about an ounce. Try these simple solutions to boost your dietary fiber and satisfy your taste buds.

  1. Mash cooked lentils and substitute them for up to 1/3 of the ground beef in your recipe. You can mash as fine or as chunky as you like, depending on the recipe. (Cooked lentils: 15.6g of fiber per cup.)
  2. Cook pearled barley according to directions. Substitute for half of the white rice in your recipe. Barley is a great addition to creamy risotto, supplying fiber, flavor and texture. (Cooked pearled barley: 6g of fiber per cup.)
  3. Use a mix of popcorn, almonds and wasabi peas over chips for snacking. Toss the mixture in a little olive oil, then add your favorite low-or-no sodium seasoning. (Almonds: 3.5g of fiber per ounce, air-popped popcorn: 3.6g of fiber per 3 cups, wasabi peas: 3.4g of fiber per 1 ounce.)
  4. Use steel cut oats, rather than rolled oats. Steel cut oats have more than double the fiber and provide more complex carbohydrates. They take longer to cook, but a large batch can be refrigerated for a week. Add water or milk when reheating, and it's as quick as instant oatmeal. Add fresh raspberries for extra flavor and even more fiber to begin your day. (Steel cut oats: 5g of fiber for 1/2 cup cooked, fresh raspberries: 4g of fiber per 1/2 cup.)
  5. Puree canned or frozen artichoke bottoms with vegetable stock. Substitute up to 1/2 of the puree for mashed potatoes. It's so delicious you may want to leave out the potatoes! (Artichoke bottoms: 12g of fiber per cup.)
  6. Peel and roast beets and apples, then puree with vegetable stock. This makes an easy sauce that's both beautiful and tasty. Try it with pork for a match made in heaven. (Cooked apples: 4.4g of fiber in one medium apple, red beets: 3.8g of fiber in 1 cup.)
  7. Use crushed bran breakfast flakes instead of breadcrumbs in meatloaf and meatballs. Add ground carrots and celery for extra flavor, moisture and, of course, more fiber. (Bran breakfast cereal: 10.4g of fiber per 1/2 cup, cooked carrots: 3.4g of fiber per 1/2 cup, celery: 3g of fiber per 1/2 cup.)
  8. Use bean dip or hummus as a sandwich spread instead of mayonnaise. Use "clean" spreads that aren't hiding a lot of additives, sugars and salt. Better yet, make your own! You will increase your fiber, reduce your caloric intake, especially from fat, and turn your sandwich into more of a meal. (Black beans: 5g of fiber per 1/4 cup, hummus: 2g per 2 Tbsp.)

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