How do you know if you're getting enough fiber in your diet? Well, ladies & gents, there are a couple of pretty obvious symptoms if you're not:
- You're constipated. Ouch, I know, but it's true. You should be having at least three bowel movements a week. If not, chin up and try adding more fiber-filled foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, to your diet and see if that doesn't fix the plumbing!
- You're hungry a lot. Well, you could be hungry for a number of reasons, including emotional ones, but fiber is also a legitimate suspect. Fiber helps you feel full, and if you're not getting that warm, fuzzy, fullness feeling, it may be because you need to eat more... you guessed it: fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
As a general rule, you should eat as many veggies and as much salad as you possibly can (dressing on the side, please!). This will help make you feel full and keep you from overeating other, more fattening foods. Fill up!
Fitting Fiber In
Sure, eating more fiber sounds like a great idea, but how do you realistically work it in to your day? Try these suggestions from the FDA:
- Start the day with whole-grain cereal.
- When appropriate, eat vegetables raw, since cooking can reduce fiber content.
- Avoid peeling fruits and vegetables, since the skin contains a lot of fiber.
- Choose whole-wheat products such as bulgur, couscous, kasha, and whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta.
- Add beans to soups, stews, and salads.
- Keep fresh and dried fruit on hand for snacks.