Nobody really likes to talk about fiber, but high fiber recipes need to become an integral part of our healthy diet. Fiber needs to come out of the closet and be recognized for the benefits it gives us. Fiber is the indigestible part of plants that help us stay regular. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber turns into gel in our stomachs and slows down the digestion process, which helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Insoluble fiber doesn’t change in the digestive system, coming out the way it came in. It does, however, help everything else slide through the colon easier by making it heavier and softer. Neither type of fiber is absorbed into our bodies.
Other dietary fiber benefits include decreased risk of stroke, hypertension, and heart disease, as well as possibly lowering the risk of colitis and colorectal cancer. Diets high in fiber may also help with weight loss, because of the full feeling after eating fiber-rich foods and fiber calories are not absorbed by the body.
Foods High in Fiber
Some of the yummiest fruits and vegetables also have the highest amounts of fiber! Take raspberries, for instance: 7.6 grams of fiber per cup, raw. Or avocados: 6.7 grams of fiber per cup, raw. Artichokes have a whopping 10.3 grams of fiber per medium vegetable, cooked! Yum! Then there are your usual suspects: split peas at 16.3 grams per cup, cooked; lentils at 15.6 grams per cup, cooked, black beans and lima beans at 15 grams and 13.2 grams of fiber per cup, cooked, respectively. Whole wheat pasta, pearled barley, and oatmeal have 6.3, 6 and 4 grams each respectively for one cup, cooked. Making recipes high in fiber with these ingredients can be easy.
Recommended Daily Amounts
So, how much fiber is enough, you ask. For men, up to 50 years old, the daily recommended fiber intake is 38 grams. Over 50, men only need 30 grams of fiber, due to lower food intake. Women require less fiber, only needing 28 grams a day, and if over 50, 21 grams of fiber a day.
It does not matter which kind of fiber a food has because most fiber-rich foods have both soluble and insoluble fiber. As long as your food intake includes a variety of dietary fiber foods and you try to get at least 25 grams of fiber each day, you will get the necessary amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber as well as the added benefits of the vitamins and minerals inherent in each of the fruits and vegetables you are eating.
Towards that end, here are a few easy recipes high in fiber.
White Bean Chard Skillet
This makes a great fast dinner.
1 Tblspn olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 bunch fresh swiss or red chard, ribs removed
vegetable stock or water, if needed, for thinning
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tspn paprika
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, warmed, for serving
Flaked paprika or slivered almonds for garnish
- In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onions, cook, stirring frequently until glazed and turning golden. add garlic and stir constantly for about a minute.
- Add white beans and tomatoes, stirring until combined. Lower heat and continue cooking for 10 minutes, then add chard. Add a little vegetable broth or water if needed too thick. It should be of stew consistency.
- Add paprika if desired, salt and pepper to taste. To serve, add ½ cup rice into a bowl, add bean mixture over top. Garnish with red pepper flakes or slivered almonds,if desired.
Avocado and Black Bean Salad
For a hot summer day or even as a salad side dish.
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
2 large ripe roma tomatoes, diced
½ cup sweet onion, chopped
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tblspn olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
- In a medium bowl, combine avocados, tomatoes, black beans, cilantro and the dressing from the small bowl. Gently toss until everything is coated. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
Buckwheat Pancakes with Blackberry Compote
Buckwheat is a great source of fiber and can be part of a gluten-free diet.
For the Pancake:
1 ½ cups buckwheat flour (can be mixed with regular flour, if desired)
1 tspn baking soda
2 tspns cinnamon
1 large banana, mashed
2 large eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
½ cup of almond milk or milk of choice
For the Compote:
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1 Tblspn coconut or granulated sugar
½ tspn vanilla extract
½ Tblspn water
Optional: ½ Tblsn arrowroot, for thickening
- In a large bowl, whisk together all the pancake ingredients until you have a smooth batter.
- Add butter or oil to a large, preheated skillet (over medium heat). Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop batter into skillet, cook for 2-3 minutes, turn over and cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
To make the blackberry compote:
- Add blackberries, sugar and vanilla into a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Using a wooden spoon, coat the blackberries in the sugar, breaking up the blackberries as the mixture heats and the fruit break down.
- If the mixture is not thick enough use the arrowroot or tapioca starch to thicken the sauce. Serve warm over the pancakes and enjoy!
Sweet Potato Burritos
A yummy high fiber alternative to those egg sandwiches! These can be made ahead of time and frozen. Just reheat in the toaster oven or microwave and go!
1 Tblspn olive oil
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small yellow onion or ½ large onion, chopped
¾ cup mini bell peppers (tricolor), diced
2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 tspn chili powder
4 large eggs, beaten or
(2 large eggs, beaten and
2 large egg whites, beaten)
4 9-10 inch whole wheat or corn tortillas
1 oz shredded cheese – cheddar or your choice
- Heat oil in a medium skillet on medium, add potatoes, onion and bell peppers. Saute, stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Add spinach and chili powder, saute for another 2 minutes.
- Turn up the heat to medium high and add eggs or eggs and egg whites. Cook for 3 minutes or until eggs are cooked thoroughly. Turn off heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
To make the Burritos:
- Place one tortilla on each section and divide egg mixture between the four tortillas, sprinkle with the cheese, then fold edges in and roll the tortillas to make burritos. Serve immediately or:
- Tear off 4 16 inch sections of aluminum foil, place burritos in the center of each. Wrap tightly in the aluminum foil and put into a freezer bag for freezing up to 3 months.
- To reheat, place on baking sheet into a 400 degree preheated oven for 35 minutes. Use tongs to place hot burritos into a paper bag for on the go or enjoy at your destination. They stay warm for 15-20 minutes.
There are so many more recipes out there to try that are fast, easy and yummy with lots of fiber! Remember, whole grain rather than processed white flour, brown rice rather than white rice and lots of fruits and vegetables along with legumes.