It’s funny how sometimes you know you’re on the right track with something because everything around you somehow matches up or brings forth new info or knowledge pertaining to the exact thing you’re already working on. It’s like the universe is saying a big “Yaaaaasssss” to you. I wrote about a couple of different diets (Paleo and Mediterranean) in my last post and decided that I would move forward with the Mediterranean way of eating because it just seems more sustainable for the long term.
When I was scrolling down my Instagram feed this morning I noticed that Cooking Light recently did an article on how much fiber to consume each day. A review was commissioned by the World Health Organization and looked at findings from over 250 studies as well as clinical trials done over the last 40 years. Based on the article it was found that people who ate more fiber had a 15 to 30% decreased chance of death from an all-cause or cardiovascular reason. It’s been found that a diet high in fiber helps reduce your risk of stroke, type II diabetes, heart disease, as well as breast and colorectal cancers.
The study recommended replacing all refined grains, such as white bread, with whole grains like brown rice, barley, and oats. It also said to be sure and include fiber rich foods in your diet like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruit.
What is the recommended fiber intake?
It is suggested that for ideal health you eat between 25 to 29 grams of dietary fiber per day. The article actually suggests that you could take those numbers and bump them up as much as you’d like. The chart below will help you get a better idea of how easy it is to meet, as well as exceed, the recommended grams of fiber per day.
What foods contain fiber?
|Fruits||Serving size||Total fiber (grams)*|
|Apple, with skin||1 medium||4.5|
|Legumes, nuts and seeds||Serving size||Total fiber (grams)*|
|Split peas, boiled||1 cup||16.0|
|Lentils, boiled||1 cup||15.5|
|Black beans, boiled||1 cup||15.0|
|Baked beans, canned||1 cup||10.0|
|Chia seeds||1 ounce||10.0|
|Almonds||1 ounce (23 nuts)||3.5|
|Pistachios||1 ounce (49 nuts)||3.0|
|Sunflower kernels||1 ounce||3.0|
|Grains||Serving size||Total fiber (grams)*|
|Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked||1 cup||6.0|
|Barley, pearled, cooked||1 cup||6.0|
|Bran flakes||3/4 cup||5.5|
|Quinoa, cooked||1 cup||5.0|
|Oat bran muffin||1 medium||5.0|
|Oatmeal, instant, cooked||1 cup||5.0|
|Popcorn, air-popped||3 cups||3.5|
|Brown rice, cooked||1 cup||3.5|
|Bread, whole-wheat||1 slice||2.0|
|Bread, rye||1 slice||2.0|
|Vegetables||Serving size||Total fiber (grams)*|
|Green peas, boiled||1 cup||9.0|
|Broccoli, boiled||1 cup chopped||5.0|
|Turnip greens, boiled||1 cup||5.0|
|Brussels sprouts, boiled||1 cup||4.0|
|Potato, with skin, baked||1 medium||4.0|
|Sweet corn, boiled||1 cup||3.5|
|Cauliflower, raw||1 cup chopped||2.0|
|Carrot, raw||1 medium||1.5|
*Rounded to nearest 0.5 gram.
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Legacy Release
What’s that mean for our Mediterranean way of eating?
It means we have choices! Good, clean, fiber rich choices that I can’t wait to get started on. I sat down and wrote out a meal plan. The main issue I have always had is figuring out what to eat for breakfast. I go to work so early in the morning, that there are literally no food options available because no one is open. Getting up any earlier would be nearly impossible because I’m already the one that wakes the chickens. By the time the clock finally rolls around to a time where I’m able to purchase food, I’m literally surrounded by only bad food options. It doesn’t help that my coworkers and I always take turns buying muffins or cookies and breakfast cakes. I got inspiration from both my Mediterranean cookbook and my Paleo cookbook for my meal plan. A lot of the breakfast ideas in the Paleo book are fantastic, simple to make, and freeze well. They just happen to be Paleo :p.
I’m going to be making one breakfast dish, one lunch, and one dinner course. The dinner course is roasted garlic lemon chicken with brussel sprouts (fiber!) and a sweet potato (more fiber!). The breakfast dish is a paleo recipe made with ground pork, home fries, and fresh kale. I’ll use uncooked kale from this recipe to make a salad that I’ll top with my leftover roasted chicken and sweet potatoes and have for lunch.
My next post will be the full meal plan with recipes included. I can see why it’s called a meal “plan” because most of your time is spent planning what to make and how to cross utilize the ingredients to keep your costs down. I’ve spent a lot of time with my head in cookbooks this week and hopefully, I’ll be taking the work out of the planning part for you. That way you can spend less time planning and more time doing other things!
What’s your experience with meal planning? How do you keep things interesting in your dishes so that you don’t get bored? I’d love to hear any tips or suggestions you may have.