- Holly Larson, RD
What do black beans, apples and brown rice all have in common?
All three foods are excellent sources of fiber, an essential nutrient that Americans are struggling to get enough of.
How much fiber does your family need? Women are aiming for about 25 grams each day while men are aiming for 38 grams. Children ages 4-8 need 25 grams. Girls aged 9-18 require 26 grams while boys need 31-38 grams.
Fiber is important for many reasons, ranging from maintaining a healthy weight and colon, to helping maintain satiety in between meals and snacks and helping to prevent low blood sugar meltdowns.
By following the Balance 360 System, getting adequate fiber is easier than you’d think! Fiber is found naturally in fruits and vegetables and if you eat the skin or peel, you’ll get a even more. Fiber is also found in beans and lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Typically, the more a food is refined or processed, the lower the fiber content. For example, an apple has more fiber than apple sauce while apple juice has no fiber.
Every time you choose a whole food instead of a refined food, you’re eating more fiber! At breakfast, choose steel cut oats with nut and berries instead of a sugary refined cereal. For lunch, include brown rice, corn tortillas or whole grain, gluten-free crackers. With dinner, try brown rice or bean based noodles instead of white rice or pasta made with refined, white flour.
When increasing your fiber, be sure that you and your family is also drinking enough water. Fiber in your food is like a new sponge; it needs water to plump up. If you consume more than your usual intake of fiber but not enough fluid, you may become constipated.
I don’t usually recommend fiber supplements. Fiber is found in nutritious, whole foods. If you're missing out on your daily amount of fiber, perhaps you’re trailing in other essential nutrients as well. Your fiber intake is a good barometer for overall diet quality. Keep a tally and try to reach your fiber goal with whole foods. A food tracking app can let you assess fiber intake occasionally.
Our Brain Balance families are charged with a mission to feed their families whole foods. By doing so, not only are they more likely to reach their fiber goal, they are reaching adequacy for other nutrients, too!
To learn why our whole-child approach is the most effective way to help your child overcome their learning, behavior, and social challenges, contact us online or find a center near you.