A fibre reminder – do you make the minimum?

Guest Post Sally Marchini, Dietitian

Just recently the importance of fibre has been featuring in the news, mostly along the lines of improving our gut bacteria to help keep us well. So following on from that I thought it worthwhile to review a previous post and build on it by providing some examples of how you can build the fibre in your own diet to ensure you meet at least the minimum advised for people who live with chronic health conditions (in adults, 28g for women and 38g for men).

As a precursor to this encouragement to you to increase the amount of fibre in your diet, even aiming as much as 10g above the minimum, you need to do it gradually while drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water) and being physically active to get the greatest benefits.

More evidence is emerging relating to control of insulin resistance and protection of our immune systems being associated with increased fibre intakes. Additionally the Australian Dietary Guidelines discusses the evidence about fibre reducing fat absorption and risk of cardiovascular disease and bowel cancers.  And then there’s the ‘traditional’ view about improved regularity in our bowel movements. It seems there’s no end to the potential benefits for increasing our fibre intakes, but so many of the people I see find it a challenge to do that.

When thinking about increasing our fibre intake, it’s also important to understand that there are three main types of fibre: soluble, insoluble and resistant starch. We need a healthy balance of all three as they all play particular roles. Read more about them here.

If you aim to include fibre-rich foods such as wholegrains, legumes, nuts, vegetables and fruit in each of your main meals, and follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines, especially in those 3 food groups, you should easily reach your target.  Leaving the edible skins on your fruit and vegetables is also an awesome idea.

I thought if we make a table for four examples of each meal of the day and indicate how you can add fibre along the way, it might help you to find some ways to improve your own daily intake (data taken from Calorie King).

Example Breakfasts Serving Size Amount of fibre (grams)
Weetbix 2 biscuits 3.6
Traditional oats porridge ¾ cup cooked (170g) 2.9
Multigrain toast 2 slices (56g) 2.8
Baked beans ½ cup (140g) 6.7

 

Example Fibre Toppers Serving Size Amount of fibre (grams)
Wheatgerm 1 tablespoon (12g) 2.2
Psyllium Husk 1 tablespoon (6g) 4.9
LSA (nut) mix 1 tablespoon (20g) 4.6
Rice bran 1 tablespoon (12g) 3.1

 

Example Snacks Serving size Amount of fibre (grams)
Apple 1 medium w skin&core (138g) 3.3
Banana 1 medium (170g w skin) 3
Mixed nuts, dry roasted, no salt A handful (30g) 2.7
Classic Fruit & Nut muesli bar 1 bar (45g) 3.0

 

Example Lunches Serving size Amount of fibre (grams)
Multigrain sandwich w tomato 2 slices plus 1 small tomato (100g) 4g
Salad with chickpeas ½ cup (100g) chickpeascarrot ½ cup gratedcelery ½ cup chopped

capsicum ½ cup chopped

1 small tomato (100g)

4.72.10.8

1.1

1.2  (TOTAL 9.1)

Barleymax wrap 1 wrap 10
Campbells vegetable soup ½ tin 6.5

 

Example Dinner carbs Serving size Amount of fibre (grams)
Wholemeal pasta 1 cup cooked (150g) 8.3
Sweet corn 1 large cob (200g) 11.2
Basmati rice 1 cup cooked (125g) 1.4
Lentils 1 cup cooked (198g) 7.3

So if your meal choices through the day looked kind of like this day plan in the table below, you’d be getting at least 41g of fibre per day of all three sorts.

  Meal Fibre (g)
Breakfast ½ cup baked beans on one slice of multigrain toast 8.1
Morning Tea 1 medium apple (skin on) 3.3
Lunch 1 Barleymax wrap with filling 10.1
Afternoon Tea 1 handful nuts (skin on) 3.0
Dinner Wholemeal spag Bolognese and 2 cups salad 15

TOTAL

41g

This is very basic and just designed to give you an idea of how you ensure you get the fibre you’re looking for each day.  You’ll notice I haven’t made it a ‘balanced’ diet as my focus was just about fibre. You can read more here about that, but I have aimed for reasonable amounts of carbohydrate in each meal.

And using the toppers, you can easily add extra fibre to your breakfast cereal or your salads if you feel you need topping up. If you look in the health food aisle in the supermarket there are lots of fibre topper products. Just remember to bear in mind the carbs for your diabetes, and how much carbohydrate you want to choose each day.

Make one yourself!

You can make up your own similar tables using the fibre per serve off the labels of the products you’re using and referring to www.calorieking.com.au for the ones without packets to guide you.

Hoping you’ve found this blog useful in working out how much fibre you’re getting each day and how to top up with some high fibre ideas that you may not have thought of.  Remember that ideally you see your own Accredited Practising Dietitian for a personalised consultation to ensure that your diet reflects your nutritional requirement for your medical conditions.

Let me know if you have any questions and any tips on how you add fibre to your meals. Sally 🙂

Sally is owner of her private practice (Marchini Nutrition), and has had type 1 diabetes for close to 40 years and coeliac disease for many years too. 

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