A lot of attention has been paid to gut health lately and fibre is in the spotlight. Fibre feeds the ‘good’ bacteria in our gut and promotes the growth of more good bacteria. Eating enough fibre not only benefits the digestive system, it reduces the risk of chronic disease, making you healthier in general.
Eating a high-fibre diet helps you feel fuller, so you’ll end up eating less. You could even lose a little weight. Here’s a tip for busy achiever women: When your work day is bogged down with meetings and deadlines, and getting in a well-balanced and healthy meal just seems too much effort, zoom in on eating more fibre.
Here are 10 ways to sneak more fibre into your diet and reap the health benefits.
1. Start at breakfast
Breakfast is the easiest part of the day to get a head start on your daily fibre count. Start your morning with a meal consisting of bran cereal/flakes or oatmeal. Do read the labels before buying such foods though, to make sure you're not taking any cereal that’s filled with sugar.
2. Snack on fruits
As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples, as with most fruits, are certainly good for your health but this fruit is also high in fibre, so it’s especially beneficial. Instead of dessert, eat a fruit after lunch. Other high-fibre fruits include pears and berries. Snack on them when you're peckish during the day, instead of unhealthy foods like chips or biscuits.
3. Eat avocado
There’s a good reason why the avocado has become such a trendy fruit – it’s because it’s an extremely healthy one. It is rich in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and also contains a high amount of fibre – 18 grams in one piece of fruit. Use it in salads and sandwiches, add it to smoothies or spread it on bread in place of butter. They’re easy to tote around and quick to prep in your office pantry.
4. Don’t throw away the skin
It’s common to peel fruits and vegetables before eating them but did you know you’re removing half the fibre when you do this? Fruit and vegetable peels provide the roughage needed for a healthy digestive system. Chomp on an apple or kiwi fruit whole, to keep your energy up in between meetings. And go skin-on with it comes to potatoes and cucumbers.
For other fruits like oranges or grapefruit, keep the peels, but dry them then blend them into a powder. Sprinkle a spoon of this onto yogurt or smoothies at breakfast for extra roughage.
5. Go for whole-grain options
When it comes to bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, change from white versions to the whole-grain ones. If you’re heading out for a business lunch, choosing whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and sweet potatoes will increase your fibre intake significantly. Snack on whole-grain crackers too, as opposed to regular crackers. The flavours and textures in whole-grain foods might be a bit 'harsh' for some to swallow (literally) so give yourself some time to make this transition. You could also mix both white and brown versions in your meals or alternate them in every meal so you’re getting more fibre into your system slowly but surely.
6. Sprinkle some seeds
Keep packets of healthy seeds like chia, flax, pumpkin or sunflower seeds in your office drawer to sprinkle over your tapao lunch for an extra fibre boost. Elsewhere. they’re perfect to be enjoyed with cereal, oats, yogurt or salad, or you could add them to smoothies too.