You have probably heard that we should all be eating more fibre in our diets. But most of us are still not getting enough. Here's how to get the daily 30g.
How much fibre do we need per day?
UK government guidelines tell us that adults should be getting 30g fibre a day.
However, 9 in 10 people in the UK are not meeting this with most adults eating an average of 18g a day.
What is fibre?
Fibre can be categorised into two broad types – soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibre dissolves in the fluids in your digestive system to create a gel-like substance, which binds to cholesterol, bad bacteria and other unwanted particles.
As the soluble fibre moves through the digestive system, it takes these substances along, eliminating them from the body with your stool before they are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Insoluble fibre adds bulk and form to your stool, enabling it to pass through your digestive system and out of your body rapidly.
When can I get fibre?
Our lives can be so hectic that selecting food for their nutrients can become an afterthought.
Luckily, including fibre each day should be as simple as making a few tweaks to your existing choices.
How to include fibre in your breakfast
You may crave toast first thing, but it’s time to step away from the white sliced supermarket loaf, which has only around 1g of fibre per slice (and can be low on nutrients too).
This type of bread leaves you feeling unsatisfied and likely to be hungry again by the time you arrive at work.
Wholemeal bread which has 3g fibre per slice is a better high-fibre breakfast alternative. Even better would be rye bread, with 4.4g fibre per slice.
Peanut butter and banana on toast
With this fibre-rich breakfast, you will be well on your way to meeting your 30g daily fibre target.
Toast a slice of wholemeal bread.
Top with peanut butter (8.5g fibre per serving).
Add a small sliced banana (1.4g fibre).
Another great breakfast option for a high-fibre day is oats.
Make a quick pan of porridge on the hob or spin for 3 minutes in the microwave.
Sprinkle with chia seeds, almonds or fresh or dried fruit for an extra fibre boost.
How to include fibre in your lunch
Lunch can be a tricky one where fibre is concerned. Many of us eat lunch during our work break, with errands and life admin often taking priority.
Take the initiative beforehand and prepare a simple pasta and vegetable salad that you can take to the office in a BPA-free lunch container.
White pasta may be delicious but it’s not great in the fibre department – there’s only around 1g of fibre per serving.
Wholewheat pasta has an impressive 8g per serving, or you could try chickpea or spelt pastas which are also fibre-rich compared to white.
How to include fibre in your dinner
You may find that dinner is the time when you can really get creative with your fibre goals.
Many delicious and healthy grains are high in fibre, such as bulgur wheat, quinoa and wholewheat couscous and pulses e.g. lentils and chickpeas.
Use these as the base for stews, curries and robust salads.
- chipotle black bean and quinoa chilli recipe with 12g fibre per serving
- warm green vegetable and quinoa salad with 7.5g fibre per serving
- Moroccan-style salad with butternut squash, chickpeas and couscous with 10g fibre per serving
How to include fibre in your snacks
Forget salty, fatty snacks like crisps or biscuits.
Make sure you’re smashing your daily 20g fibre target with delicious munch-able snacks such as carrot sticks and hummus with 8g fibre per serving or an apple with 3g fibre.
A few dried figs, dates, or prunes are great portable fibre powerhouses that taste amazing.
Beware of the high natural sugar content in dried fruit, however. It’s best to measure out a portion beforehand and keep in a reusable container for when you’re on the go to prevent eating too many.
5 high-fibre foods you won’t hate
If you don’t fancy adding a bowl of bran flakes to your daily routine, then you’re in luck.
These 5 foods are easily available in supermarkets, markets and smaller shops and will add a delicious dose of fibre.
You probably know them as antioxidant powerhouses containing high levels of vitamin C.
But with 8g per serving, raspberries are surprisingly high in fibre.
Raspberries are the perfect snack at any time of day with a handful of almonds (another healthy, fibre-rich food).
Unfortunately, the highly processed packets of flavoured popcorn you will find in the supermarket are not recommended, as any benefit from their fibre content is cancelled out by the high amounts of sugar, fat and additives.
However, plain popped corn is low in calories, fat and high in insoluble fibre with 6g per serving. It might be the perfect snack.
Why not replace crisps with popcorn flavoured with a pinch of salt, or cinnamon for a sweeter taste?
Handpicked content: Popcorn health benefits
If you’ve never tried rye bread, now is the time.
A long-time favourite in Germany and Scandinavian countries, rye bread is gaining in popularity in the UK thanks to its wonderful health benefits.
For a serious fibre boost that will start your day off right, swap your current breakfast for two slices of toasted rye bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter spread on top with a few raspberries.
Or try swapping your usual beans on toast to rye bread. Each slice of rye bread contains around 4.4g fibre.
There is plenty to love about this creamy, savoury Middle Eastern dip.
Hummus is a source of protein and healthy fats and tastes amazing with vegetable sticks or warm flatbread.
Hummus is also one of the best sources of fibre with 15g per serving thanks to its main ingredient, chickpeas.
When choosing hummus, make sure to stick to the traditional type made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt.
Some brands, especially flavoured varieties, add unnecessary sugar and flavourings which offset hummus’ healthy credentials.
If you have time – why not try making your own hummus?
If you’ve written chia seeds off as yet another trendy food fad, then you’re missing out!
Chia are a tiny seed with a huge nutritional profile.
One of the best vegetarian sources of omega-3 fats, they are high in protein, calcium and iron, and have 11g fibre per serving.
The fibre in chia seeds is mainly the soluble type, meaning it slows digestion, helps you feel full and binds to bad cholesterol.
Extremely versatile, chia seeds can be added to both sweet and savoury dishes. Try them sprinkled on Greek yoghurt, oats or over salad for a mildly nutty flavour.
Last updated: 22 September 2021