In Canada, women need 25 grams of fibre per day and men need 38 grams of fibre per day, but most Canadians only get half of that amount. To meet our fibre needs, Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating 6-8 servings of grain products and 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables. Here are eight tips to help you get more fibre into your day:
1. Go slowly.
Adding too much fibre too quickly into your diet can cause gas, bloating, cramping and diarrhea. Increase your fibre intake gradually by spreading out high-fibre foods throughout the day. Because fibre absorbs fluid as it passes through our digestive tract, make sure to drink plenty of fluids as you increase your fibre intake, too.
2. Start your day out right.
Start your day with a nutritious and high-fibre breakfast. Give high-fibre cereal or low-fat yogurt an extra boost by adding fresh fruit, ground flax seed or chopped nuts.
3. Choose whole-grain.
Instead of plain white flour products, choose multigrain or whole grain breads, pasta, and crackers. You’ll get more fibre bang for your buck without having to increase the amount of grain products you eat.
4. Balance your plate.
Half of your lunch or dinner plate should be filled with a variety of vegetables. Enjoying a mix of colourful yellow, orange, red and green vegetables is a great way to add fibre, and will also help you get all the different vitamins and minerals that you need.
5. Chew instead of drink.
Eat whole fruits and vegetables instead of drinking juice. If you enjoy juicing, make sure that your juicer retains the pulp in the juice so that you don’t miss out on the fibre.
6. Snack often and wisely.
Munching on high-fibre snacks between meals can help you feel satiated throughout the day, and can also help with portion control at mealtimes. Try some fresh veggies and hummus, roasted chickpeas, or apple slices with some natural almond butter as a dip.
7. Go meatless once or twice a week.
Substituting meat with legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils) can help increase your fibre intake. Instead of ground meat, use beans, lentils and a variety of mixed vegetables in your chili or pasta sauce. You can also use legumes in soups and salads for some added fibre and protein.
8. Check the label.
Read the Nutrition Facts table and choose products that have 4 grams or more of fibre per serving (or labeled as “high source of fibre”).