Fiber is one of those nutrients that many of us know is important but that remains a bit of a mystery. Basically, the term fiber refers to carbohydrates that cannot be digested. Fiber is present in all plants that are eaten for food, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. However, not all fiber is the same, and there are a number of ways to categorize it. One is by its source or origin. For example, fiber from grains is referred to as cereal fiber. Another way of categorizing fiber is by how easily it dissolves in water.
Soluble fiber partially dissolves in water.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water.
These differences are important when it comes to fiber's effect on your risk of developing certain diseases.
nuts and seeds
apples pears strawberries blueberries
whole grains whole wheat breads
whole-grain breakfast cereals wheat bran seeds carrots cucumbers zucchini celery tomatoes
Healthful foods provide energy and nutrients that are used by the body to help us grow and protect us from illnesses. They include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, etc. Generally, fruits are good sources of fiber, most contributing about two grams or eight to 10 percent of the Daily Recommended Value.
Vegetables are more nutrient-dense than fruits and provide more vitamins and minerals per calorie because they have fewer sugars. Generally, vegetables are good sources of fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium and occasionally Folate.
Some contribute iron to the diet, an important consideration, particularly for vegetarians. Canning and freezing don’t do much to the fiber, so canned fruits/vegetables are good sources for this vital compound.
These are some basic super foods that you should build into your snacks. Try some different combinations to combat your snack attack. Nuts and nut butters. Research shows that nuts help lower cholesterol and may help to lower the risk of coronary heart disease. Most nuts are high in monounsaturated fats and offer an excellent source of protein and vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, selenium, and Folate. Nuts also provide plant sterols and soluble fiber. Almonds and other nuts provide an excellent source of vitamin E. Walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fats and provide essential fats (those that the body can’t produce) and omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linoleic acids).
Some people are afraid to eat nuts as snacks because of their higher calorie and fat content (remember these are good fats). Research has shown that nuts can be incorporated into a healthy diet and may provide a health benefit.
Choose freshly ground nut butters that do not have extra fats and sugars added, such as Adam’s Peanut Butter. Lower fat peanut butters often have more sugar than regular varieties.
Choose raw or dry roasted nuts without added salt. Nuts such as honey roasted peanuts (with added sugars or fats) will provide extra calories and may contain saturated fats--so read food labels!
Snack Ideas When You’re On the Go
Peanut/nut butter sandwich. Spread 2 teaspoons of nut butter on whole wheat bread, whole wheat pita, or half of a whole wheat bagel.
Yogurt with crunch. Top a cup of low-fat yogurt with ½ cup of your favorite cereal or ¼ cup of your favorite nuts. Or you could add your favorite fruit.
Trail Mix. Keep a bag of trail mix in your purse, desk drawer, or glove compartment. You can create your own healthy mix with your favorite dried fruits, nuts, whole grain cereal, crackers, or pretzels.
Fruit and Dip. Keep fruit out where you can see it: on your kitchen counter or on your desk so you’ll reach for it before you go to the vending machine.
Fruits with tougher skin such as oranges and apples might pack in your purse or backpack better than grapes or bananas. Add some protein to the snack by dipping the fruit in yogurt or peanut butter or including a slice of string cheese or a few seeds.
Vegetables and Dip. Baby carrots are convenient, tasty, and easy to pack. Cut up your favorite vegetables and dip them in hummus or a low fat dip.
Glass of Milk. Pair your favorite granola bar, graham cracker, a few fig bars, or a piece of toast with a glass of non-fat milk or cup of yogurt.
Fruit Smoothie. Choose your favorite fruit and blend with non-fat yogurt for a protein and carbohydrate boost.
Pita Pocket. Spread a whole wheat pita with hummus and stuff it with your favorite vegetables.
Tortilla Wrap. Wrap your favorite beans or vegetables in a tortilla. Top with salsa.
Bread and Spread. Toast ½ of your favorite bagel or a slice of bread and top with one of the following toppings: 1-2 tablespoons of low or non-fat cream cheese; cottage cheese and a tomato slice; ½ cup fruit yogurt; 1-2 tsp. each peanut butter and favorite fruit preserves.