Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Weight Loss Tip: Eat High Fibre Foods

You won’t see me selling the crash diet mentality…or endorsing some crazy acai cleanse. If you have ever dieted and regained more than once, you know that it is no way to live. The kind of strict lifestyle it requires to get serious poundage off fast kind of sucks the fun out of living. And I bet that the faster you take the pounds off, the faster you are going to run for an extra large pizza to help you put the pounds back on. I am a big fan of the little change…pounds are gained and lost by a hundred calories here, fifty calories there. If you have a lot of weight to lose in order to reach a healthy weight, you will probably want to make more than one change at a time. But if you only have ten or fifteen pounds to lose, why not take the “slow and steady” approach to weight loss and commit to making small, permanent changes?

One of the most important changes we can make for our health is switching to high fibre foods. The average Canadian only eats about 14 grams of fibre per day but a woman needs 25 grams and a man needs 38 grams of fibre each day. Why bother with roughage?

Fibre is like a workout for your gut: it adds bulk to your stools which helps to tone the gut and ensure that all of that gunk moves through your system quickly. Why is that so important? It’s waste, right? What happens if you leave your kitchen garbage sitting too long….now imagine that inside of you. Enough said! Eating fibre is filling and when you are trying to lose weight, you want to feel full so you are less likely to eat more. Fibre also helps keep your blood sugars in check which prevents huge spikes in insulin – a barrier to weight loss.

Here are some simple ideas to increase your fibre intake…try them one at a time and be sure to drink lots of water. Your body needs a bit of time to adjust to additional fibre (and plenty of water to make sure you don’t get constipated!).

1. Switch to a sprouted grain bread like Silver Hills. Sprouted grain bread generally has 5 grams of fibre and 5 grams of protein per slice. Regular whole wheat bread rarely has more than 2 grams of fibre per slice. Sprouted grain bread will really fill you up – a sandwich with sprouted grain bread will ring in at 10 grams of fibre before the side dishes…that is more than 1/3 of a woman’s daily intake.
2. Eat bran buds. Seriously, they’re a dietitian’s best friend. Nature’s Path makes Smart Bran which has 13 grams of fibre but per 90 calorie, 2/3 cup serving. Stir this into some yogurt for a super filling weight loss snack.
3. Eat ½ cup of beans every day. Beans, beans, beans….anyone who knows me is sick of hearing me talk about beans. So why aren’t you eating them? Beans are the richest food source of fibre: a half cup of black beans has 8 grams of fibre. A half cup of chick peas has 6 grams. There are tons of recipes for bean rich main dishes but you can also cheat and add beans to almost anything….salads, premade soups, casseroles or even rice side dishes.
4. Switch to whole wheat pasta. Whole wheat pasta is an easy swap; thin pastas like spaghetti or linguine have an easier-to-love texture than shapes like penne. An 85 gram serving (a quarter of most spaghetti boxes) has 8 grams of fibre….
5. Snack on apples, berries and pears. Not only are they local in many parts of North America…they are also the fruits with the highest fibre (Pears are highest at 5 grams).
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