Eat More Fiber

By: Simone Wilson, Dietetic Intern

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We simply need to eat more fiber and serve more fibrous foods to our clients. While the recommended daily amount of dietary fiber is 14 grams for every 1,000 calories, or about 25 grams for adult women and 38 grams for adult men, Americans only consume around 17 grams each day, with only 5 percent of the adult population meeting adequate intake. Dietary fiber is defined by the Institute of Medicine Food Nutrition Board as "non-digestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants." Fiber benefits our health in many ways: it helps regulate and maintain healthy bowel function, it provides blood glucose control by slowing down the absorption of sugars into our blood, it lowers “bad”, or LDL cholesterol, and it helps with weight management by keeping us feeling full longer. Research has shown that higher intakes of fiber reduce the risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and have been associated with lower body weight.  Many of our clients face these issues, and like most of America, could benefit from more fiber in their diet.  With this in mind, I gave a nutrition workshop focusing on the benefits of fiber and how to incorporate more of it into meals and snacks.  During the workshop, residents at Casa Mutua sampled hummus with baby carrots and multigrain pita chips. I provided a recipe (included below) for easy hummus, and we discussed other sweet and savory snack ideas. Try incorporating more fiber into your menu and recipes!

Ingredients:

1 (15oz) can chickpeas or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup well-stirred tahini, optional

1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

2-3 tablespoons water

½ teaspoon cumin

Paprika, optional to garnish

 

Directions:

Add the tahini (if using) and lemon juice to a food processor—process for 1 minute, scrape down sides of bowl and process again for 30 seconds. Add olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt. Process until smooth. Add half of the drained chickpeas—process until smooth then add the second half. Process again. To reach a smooth consistency, add 1 tablespoon of water at time and blend until smooth. Garnish with paprika.  Serve with pita chips or sliced vegetables. Yield: ~1.5 cups/6 servings

Adapted from: https://www.inspiredtaste.net/15938/easy-and-smooth-hummus-recipe/

Reference

https://www.eatrightpro.org/practice/position-and-practice-papers/position-papers/health-implications-of-dietary-fiber