It’s no secret that most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet. Based on the recommended guidelines, we need between 20 and 35 grams of fiber a day. Unfortunately, most people get less than half that amount. Why is fiber so important? Soluble fiber, abundant in fruits, vegetables, oats, nuts, and beans, helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduces the rise in blood sugar that occurs after a meal. Soluble fiber may also reduce the risk of heart disease, and, possibly, type 2-diabetes.
Fiber has another benefit. It’s satiating, making you feel fuller after a meal. That’s helpful if you’re trying to control your weight. Plus, the insoluble fiber in foods like wheat bran, nuts, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables is important for regularity. Plus, insoluble fiber improves insulin sensitivity, leading to favorable effects on blood sugar level.
The problem is most people don’t get enough of either form of fiber. Don’t let that happen to you. The best way to make sure you meet your fiber requirements is to begin early – when you wake up by eating a high-fiber breakfast. Need some ideas?
Bring on the Oatmeal
Not only is oatmeal a good source of soluble fiber, but you can also boost its fiber content even more by adding your choice of nuts and seed. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are good sources of protein and heart-healthy fats. For even more fiber, sprinkle on fresh or frozen blueberries. Blueberries are a rich source of anthocyanins, antioxidants that may improve brain health. Want a break from oatmeal? Cook quinoa overnight in a slow cooker, and wake up to a hot high-fiber breakfast that’s also a good source of protein. It has a mild, nutty flavor that’s a good alternative to oatmeal.
Another way to boost the fiber content of a bowl of oatmeal is to stir in a teaspoon of psyllium husks, available in bulk at some natural food markets. Not only will psyllium add fiber, but it will also thicken your cereal. Always consume psyllium husks with lots of liquid, so pour milk over your oatmeal if you add psyllium.
If you prefer cold cereal, there are bran cereals available that have no added sugar – or you can mix a bran cereal with any other cereal if you don’t like the taste. Don’t forget to add some nuts and berries for even more fiber benefits.
Whip Up a High-Fiber Smoothie
Have a blender? Put it to good use by whipping up a high-fiber breakfast smoothie. Smoothies are a fiber-lover’s best friend since you can add fiber-rich vegetables with fruits to mask the taste. Use plain yogurt as a base. Then add fresh or frozen spinach or kale along with the berries of your choice. Blueberries are a good option because they have a distinct flavor that masks the taste of the greens. For even more fiber, add a tablespoonful of ground flaxseed. Pour in some ice and blend for a fiber-rich breakfast you can sip on the way to work.
Enjoy a Fiber-Rich Omelet
Eggland’s Best eggs are a good choice for breakfast because they’re filling and high in protein. But they aren’t a significant source of fiber until you add fresh spinach, red peppers, and black beans to create a fiber-rich breakfast that’ll keep you full until well past noon. For even more fiber power, sprinkle flaxseed into an omelet before cooking it. You can even roll a cooked omelet into a whole-grain tortilla and eat it on the go.
Breakfast Fruit Salad
Chop up your favorite high-fiber – fruits, apples, berries, kiwi and pears, are good high-fiber fruit choices. Top your chosen fruits with creamy yogurt and sprinkle with nuts, seeds and ground flaxseed for an antioxidant-rich breakfast that’s fiberlicious.
Look for recipes for muffins that have whole-wheat flour as an ingredient. Replace a portion of the flour with ground flaxseed and add your choices of nuts and berries. If you’re watching your carbs, you can use almond or coconut flour in place of whole-wheat flour in many recipes. To lower the calories, use Eggland’s Best egg whites instead of whole eggs and a natural sweetener like Stevia in place of sugar.
The Bottom Line?
To get enough fiber in your diet, begin early by eating a fiber-rich breakfast. Start the day right with these healthy breakfast options.
Diabetes Care. 2006 Apr;29(4):775-80.
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Jun;51(6):675-83.