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If I asked you whether you’re eating enough fibre, what would you say? Be honest. The recommended daily allowance of fibre for adults is 30g, but most people struggle to get anywhere close to this figure. In fact, only 7.5% of adults actually meet the 30g target, according to results from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey.
So, why all the fuss? Fibre is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system, and eating plenty of it has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. Foods high in fibre can also help you feel full after eating.
If you struggle to hit your daily quota, you’ll be pleased to know there are lots of easy things you can do to boost the amount of fibre you consume. Check out my top five tips for boosting your fibre intake.
Spoiler alert: it can be as easy as picking up a meal deal (see tip 2).
1. Eat whole fruit and veg (including the skin!)
Loading up on fruit and veg is never a bad thing, but there are extra steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most out of your 5 a day. The skins of fruit and veg are really rich in fibre, so the next time you’re cooking a jacket potato for tea, or fancy stirring roasted butternut squash into a risotto, consider leaving the skins on. What’s more, this will reduce waste, and save you the boring task of peeling your veg!
When it comes to fruit, try to avoid drinking excessive amounts of fruit juices. They tend to be high in sugar and low in fibre, so stick to the recommended 150ml per day and try munching on a whole apple or orange instead.
2. Pick up a Co-op sandwich instore
Co-op is making it easier than ever to increase your fibre intake on your lunch break, with the entire core sandwich range now made with fibre-enriched bread. The increase has been achieved with the addition of wheat fibre, meaning an average increase of 66% across the entire range. So, whether it’s an all day breakfast sandwich, classic prawn mayo or a simple but satisfying egg and cress, you can now enjoy your favourite, great-tasting sarnie knowing you’re getting closer to your daily fibre target.
3. Learn to love legumes
Ah, how I love legumes. From chick peas to butter beans, kidney beans to cannellini, these little powerhouses are packed full of fibre, easy on the wallet and incredibly versatile to cook with. Stir a tin of kidney beans through a chilli, top a fish pie with chick pea mash, or put a spin on your sandwich with cannellini beans on sourdough.
Tip: Did you know that half a tin of baked beans counts as one of your 5 a day? Serve a portion with a slice of wholemeal toast for a filling lunch.
4. Snack smart
Boosting the amount of fibre you eat between meals can be a handy way to meet your nutritional goals. Some examples of fibre-containing snacks include carrot sticks with houmous, rice cakes with peanut butter, and whole fruits and veggies.
5. Simple swaps
When it comes to eating more fibre, one of the easiest changes you can make is to swap one low-fibre product for a high-fibre alternative. Switch out white bread for wholemeal, or add more wholegrains to your diet, including wholewheat pasta, brown rice and porridge oats.
Co-op diet and health manager