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Getting More Fibre



For Canadians, getting enough fibre everyday can be a challenge. In fact, many Canadians today only get half the amount of fibre they need. Fibre is an important nutrient that has many health benefits when eaten in the quantities you need.

Fibre can help to:

  • Keep you regular
  • Lower your cholesterol and
  • Control your blood sugar

Research shows that fibre may also help you maintain a healthy body weight and lower your risk of heart disease and some cancers like colon cancer.

Which foods have fibre?

Fibre is found in vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes like beans, peas and lentils and nuts and seeds.

How much fibre do I need?

The amount of fibre you need depends on how old you are and whether you are male or female. Read Focus on Fibre to find out how much fibre you need and the different types of fibre found in foods.

How can I get more fibre in my diet?

Below are examples of fibre-rich foods and the amount of fibre they have. Choose a variety of these foods everyday to get the fibre you need.

Vegetables

Each serving below has at least 2 grams of fibre. 

  • Artichoke (1 medium)
  • Broccoli (1/2 cup cooked)
  • Carrots (1/2 cup cooked)
  • Collard greens (1/2 cup cooked)
  • Kohlrabi (1 cup)
  • Parsnips (1/2 cup cooked)
  • Pumpkin (1/2 cup canned)
  • Spinach (1/2 cup cooked)
  • Sweet potato (1 medium with skin)
  • Taro (1/2 cup cooked)

Fruit

Each serving below has at least 2 grams of fibre. 

  • Apple (1 fruit with skin)
  • Banana (1 medium)
  • Dried apricots, raisins, figs or prunes (1/4 cup)
  • Guava (1 fruit)
  • Kiwi (1 large fruit)
  • Nectarine (1 medium)
  • Orange (1 fruit)
  • Passion fruit (2 fruits)
  • Pear (1 fruit with skin)
  • Raspberries (1/2 cup)
  • Star fruit (1 medium)

Try the tips below for getting fibre with vegetables and fruit:

  • Choose whole vegetables and fruits instead of juice.
  • Wash the skins of fruits and vegetables instead of peeling them when you can. The peel often contains fibre.
  • Add fresh or frozen berries to cereal and yogurt.
  • Add dried fruits to yogurt, salads and homemade muffins.
  • Use frozen vegetables in a stir-fry or a casserole.

Try other new vegetables and fruit like breadfruit, kumquats, sapodilla, tinda, bitter melon, fenugreek, soursop, dragon fruit, palm hearts, nopales, bhindi, baingain, karela and gobi. 

Grains

Each serving below has at least 2 grams of fibre.

  • Barley cooked (1/2 cup)
  • Bran cereals (30g)
  • Multigrain cereal (3/4 cup cooked)
  • Oatmeal (3/4 cup cooked)
  • Rye bread (1 slice)
  • Whole wheat bread (1 slice)
  • Whole wheat pita (1/2 pita)
  • Whole wheat English muffin (1/2 muffin)
  • Whole wheat pasta (1/2 cup)

Try the tips below for getting more fibre with grains:

  • Choose whole grain breads that have at least 2 grams of fibre per slice. 
  • Start your day with a high fibre cereal that has 4 grams of fibre per serving.
  • Crush bran cereal and add it to pancakes, cookies, muffins and breads.
  • Substitute whole grain wheat, teff or sorghum flour in place of white flour when baking bread, chapattis, naan or rotis.
  • Use whole wheat pasta or brown rice instead of white pasta or white rice for dinner.
  • Use millet flours such as ragi (kurakkan), samai, thenai or red rice to make roti, dosa, puttu and idiyappam.

When reading food labels, look for breads, bagels, cereals, pitas, tortillas and wraps with 2 to 4 grams of fibre per serving on the Nutrition Label.

Legumes

Each serving of canned legumes below has at least 5 grams of fibre. 

  • Black beans (3/4 cup)
  • Chickpeas (3/4 cup)
  • Hummus (1/4 cup)
  • Kidney beans (3/4 cup)
  • Lentils (3/4 cup)
  • Peas (3/4 cup)
  • Pinto beans (3/4 cup)
  • Soybeans (3/4 cup)
  • White beans (3/4 cup)

Try the tips below for getting more fibre with legumes:

  • Boost the fibre in your chilli by adding chickpeas and kidney beans.
  • Add lentils or beans to soups, casseroles and salads.
  • When making rice and peas, use more peas than rice.
  • Spread hummus on whole grain flat bread, naan or roti.
  • Serve dahl, sambhar, rasam and sundal with lentils and beans.
  • Add soybeans to soups, stir-fry dishes and casseroles.

Nuts and Seeds

Each serving below has at least 2 grams of fibre. 

  • Almonds (1/4 cup)
  • Coconut (1/2 cup fresh or dried)
  • Flaxseeds (1/4 cup ground)
  • Hazelnuts (1/4 cup)
  • Macadamia nuts (1/4 cup)
  • Peanut butter (2 Tbsp)
  • Pine nuts (1/4 cup)
  • Pistachio nuts (1/4 cup)
  • Soy nuts (1/4 cup)
  • Sunflower seeds (1/4 cup)

Try the tips below for getting more fibre with nuts and seeds:

  • Add ground flaxseeds to cereal, porridge, roti or tortilla dough or dahl.
  • Mix almonds, sunflower seeds and pine nuts and have a small handful as a snack.
  • Add hazelnuts or dried coconut to baked muffins. 

Sample one day menu 

Getting the amount of fibre you need everyday can be easier than you think! Below is a sample one day menu that provides 30 grams of fibre. This menu is only a guide. You may need more or less fibre. Read Focus on Fibre to find out how much fibre you need. 

Meal or Snack

Suggestion

Approximate Amount of Fibre

Breakfast

30 grams of bran flakes

4 grams

1 cup of skim milk

0 grams

1 banana

2 grams

Morning Snack

½ a whole wheat pita

2 grams

1 ½ oz of cheese

0 grams

1 cup of water

0 grams

Lunch

2 slices of whole wheat bread

4 grams

2 ½ oz of tuna

0 grams

½ cup carrot sticks

2 grams

Low fat dip

0 grams

1 cup of skim milk

0 grams

Afternoon Snack

¼ cup of raisins

3 grams

¾ cup of low fat yogurt

0 grams

Dinner

1 cup whole wheat pasta

5 grams

½ cup spinach

3 grams

1 cup garden salad

1 gram

Low fat salad dressing

0 grams

5 oz lean chicken

0 grams

½ cup of raspberries

4 grams

1 cup water

0 grams

Total

30 grams

Bottom line

Many Canadians find it challenging to get enough fibre every day. Choosing a variety of fibre-rich foods throughout the day will help you meet your fibre needs and get all the benefits fibre has to offer.

Last Update – October 18, 2017

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