This article was originally published on dLife.com—a website dedicated to helping people with diabetes live happier and healthier lives—as “No Cook Ways To Get More Fiber,” and is reposted with permission from the author.
You've probably heard the dire statistic: The average American gets less than half of the daily recommended amount of fiber. Why? Even if you're being "good," It's not that easy to get 25 to 30 grams daily. But we've got some easy ideas that will help.
If the word fiber conjures up a box of brown flakes, it's time to open your eyes to the colorful possibilities of low carb, high-fiber plant foods. Transforming these fruits and veggies into quick and delicious dishes doesn't even require cooking.
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Snack Right with Creamy Avocado
A true health food, the avocado is also so naturally rich and creamy, it's a satisfying snack or side dish. One cup of raw avocado provides an amazing 13 grams of dietary fiber. That's half the recommended daily amount for adults! And it gets you 67 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin C to boot.
But let's face it, sometimes we're so busy that even making guacamole seems like too much. So make it easy. Take one ripe Hass (dark-skinned) avocado. How do you know it's ripe? The flesh will yield to gentle pressure. Cut it in half lengthwise. Remove the pit (directions on next slide). While the avocado is still in its skin, squirt fresh lemon or lime juice on the exposed flesh to prevent the pretty, yellow-green flesh from browning. Now, use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin in one piece.
Place the avocado flesh flat-side down on a cutting board and slice lengthwise. Squirt with lemon or lime and sprinkle with sea salt -- the crystals give a satisfying contrast to the smooth avocado. Steamed or roasted salmon goes great with avocado. Add a cucumber salad, and you've got a scrumptious, light dinner.
How to Remove an Avocado Pit
After cutting the avocado in half, cut the pit side into quarters by cutting through the flesh and skin around the pit. Now it will be easy to lift the pit with a spoon. Another method is to tap the pit with chef's knife to lodge the blade into the pit. Then give it a twist and lift out the pit. To dislodge the pit from the knife, tap it against the edge of a cutting board.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Everyone loves cheese and crackers. But all those cracker carbs are nothing to celebrate. Then again, cheese sometimes just needs something under it. It's a chance to up your fiber quotient for the day. Try whole grain crispbreads, like Wasa crackers (one slice contains 2 grams of fiber and, depending on variety, around 8 to 10 grams of carbs).
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The Best Berries
Add fiber by topping cheese and crackers with fresh raspberries, blackberries, or thin slices of pear. One cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber. One small pear contains 5 grams of fiber (18g of carbs). And it tastes good -- pear's juicy sweetness contrasts well with the salty richness of cheese.
Now, continue bringing more fiber to your day using a variety of flavors (sweet, juicy, salty) and textures (crispy, crunchy, smooth). Keep on hand hummus (a gram of fiber in every tablespoon) and cut carrot and celery sticks. Save on time by buying peeled and cut veggies at your supermarket salad bar.
One a Day
Next, serve up sliced apples on a regular basis. Apples are a good source of dietary fiber, and among their many benefits, they are "heart-healthy." One medium apple contains 4 grams of fiber. Apples are filling and can reduce hunger. Red-skinned apples are sweeter than green- skinned. Don't peel apples; the skin is full of potent nutrients. If they aren't organic, however, scrub them with a soft brush under cold running water.
Ever considered keeping a bowl of nuts out on your counter with a nutcracker? If not, how about a nice, air-tight glass container full of lightly salted almonds? One cup of of whole almonds contains 16 grams of fiber. They also are rich in vitamin E, manganese and magnesium.
Olives are another "countertop snack" you can put out in a bowl and let people nibble on. Olives are jam-packed with phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-
inflammatory properties. A cup of olives provides a little more than 4 grams of fiber, but there's hardly a carb gram to speak of.
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Get Slayed by Slaw
This one requires some prep, but keeps in the fridge for easy snacking and a quick side dish. Traditional cabbage coleslaw becomes an easy rainbow slaw with the help of your food processor. Cut green and/or purple cabbage by hand into wedges that will fit into your processor's feeder tube. Using the processor's grater attachment, grate cabbage, yellow or green squash, red pepper, carrots, and onion. Mix the vegetables into a bowl and dress with mayonnaise and vinaigrette. For an Asian slaw, make a dressing of minced ginger, scallions, cilantro, rice wine vinegar, and oil.
A cup of slaw provides about 3 grams of fiber and almost no carbs, plus a huge dose of vitamins and minerals.
Cole isn't the only word that can come before slaw. Kale, that nutrient-rich cousin to cabbage, is subdued by a vinegar dressing. To make "kale-slaw" from those tough, leathery leaves, pull the leaves from the stems, roll the leaves into "cigars" and slice crosswise into thin ribbons. Dress with a vinaigrette made from apple cider vinegar, mashed garlic, salt, olive oil, and a touch of sweetener. Let the slaw rest a half hour before serving, and know you're adding a few grams of fiber to your meal with this super-healthy side dish.
Look for organic kale and newer varieties like Dinosaur (Lacinato), whose sword-shaped leaves have a more delicate flavor than curly kale.
Although beans can be high in carbs, they're also fiber powerhouses. A cup of black beans contains 15g of fiber. And the great thing about them is you can open a can, rinse, and eat. Try this recipe for a spicy Black Bean Salad. Swap out almost any of the ingredients in this recipe and it will still be a delicious and healthy snack or side. And one serving (about 1/2 cup) gives you 5 more grams of fiber for the day.