Did you get your 10 grams of fiber at lunch today?

lunchtrader joe'sOne of the things I stress the most for overall health is adequate FIBER intake. I love fiber. It’s pretty much my favorite topic.

Forget the expensive “cleansing” juices or awkward colonic cleanses, just eat REAL food that is rich in fiber. Fiber is great for weight loss/maintenance because it keeps you full longer between meals. It is also nature’s “broom” for scrubbing your arteries and GI tract clean which means it lowers your bad cholesterol and keeps you regular. Women should consume 25 grams per day of fiber and men need about 38 grams. However, the average person only gets about 15 grams a day. To meet your goal, aim for about 10 grams of fiber per meal (assuming you eat 3 meals daily). Here is a helpful list with the fiber content of different foods.

After going for a run, I needed a nutritious but easy to prep lunch. I always have organic spinach stocked in our fridge for smoothies and salads. Adding half an avocado to a spinach salad adds heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Research indicates that these fats help increase absorption of antioxidants. Plus, the fat provides satiety so you’re not hungry shortly after eating. Avocados and spinach are also great sources of fiber, potassium (important for many functions including building muscle), folate (important for tissue growth and red blood cell formation), vitamin C (has antioxidants and helps with tissue growth and repair), vitamin K (helps with blood clotting), and vitamin B6 (strengthens immune system and maintains normal blood sugars). You can use a vinaigrette but I prefer to dress my salad with a drizzle of olive oil and white balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of sea salt.

With that, I also had 1 cup plain yogurt for protein (to help maintain those muscles and keep me full until dinner) and probiotics (to maintain healthy bacteria in the GI tract). I mixed in sliced dates (4 of them to be exact — thus, 6 grams of fiber!), whole grain cereal (1/3 cup of Trader Joe’s High Fiber cereal for healthy carbohydrates and crunch), and a drizzle of honey (though the dates do add quite a bit of natural sweetness).

I was quite the overachiever with this meal, which was about 18 grams of fiber. Those dates really add up in the fiber tally…

Note: It is important to know that when increasing your fiber intake, it is very important to 1) increase your intake gradually and 2) get enough water in your diet (about 8-10 cups). If you don’t, you will likely have one unhappy, bloated belly and even abdominal cramps. Why? Because fiber absorbs water so it’s important that you get enough of both!

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