Watching Your Weight? Fiber Is Your Friend

Healthy Starts Made Simple: Health

Watching Your Weight? Fiber Is Your Friend

Chances are, you celebrated your last birthday with an unwelcome party crasher: an extra pound … or five.

The body’s metabolism naturally slows when adults hit their 40s. Combine that with a drop in physical activity, unchecked stress and maybe less-than-stellar eating habits, and you’ve got the formula for creeping weight gain.

While there’s no magic trick for keeping the pounds off, Harvard researchers showed an association between women who eat more fiber and lower body weight. It may be because fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes help you fill up, making you less likely to overeat. Because the stomach digests fiber-full foods at a slower pace, you’re also less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks between meals. While the mechanism for this association is unclear, it’s smart to incorporate more high-fiber foods into eating occasions throughout the day.

Here are a few simple ways to add more fiber to every meal. Aim for 21 g to 38 g each day.

  • Breakfast: Choose a cereal that’s a good source of fiber (3 g fiber) and top it with fresh blackberries (4 g fiber per 1/2 cup). Two options: Special K Red Berries (3 g fiber per cup) and Special K Multigrain Oats & Honey (3 g fiber per 2/3 cup).
  • Lunch: Build a sandwich starting with whole-grain bread like rye (2 g fiber per slice). Instead of mayo, try a hummus spread — 2 tablespoons have 8% of your daily fiber needs. Then add fresh vegetable toppings, like lettuce and tomato.
  • Snack: Nosh on popcorn (3.5 g fiber per 3-cup serving) or almonds (3.5 g fiber per ounce, or about 23 almonds),  with slices of pear (5 g to 6 g fiber with skin).
  • Dinner: Make a big pot of whole-wheat spaghetti or other whole-grain pasta (about 6 g fiber per cup) and serve it with steamed broccoli (5.1 g fiber per cup). Tip: Steam the broccoli just until crisp-tender; the longer vegetables cook, the more nutrients they lose.
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