We all know that fibre forms an important part of our diet. Fibre can curb hunger, lower blood sugar and cholesterol and can also help act as prebiotics, making it important in digestive issues. Most of us need to add more fibre to our meals, but how can you adapt your breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes to include more fibre? The first step is knowing what good sources of fibre are, and then learning how to easily add these to your meals without too much extra time, effort or expense.
Good Sources of Fibre
Fibre can be found in many foods, but some of the best and most readily available sources of fibre include lentils, beans, and green leafy vegetables. Dinners and lunches making use of lots of vegetable recipes are great for adding fibre, especially if those vegetables include kale, spinach, lettuce and broccoli.
How to Add Fibre To Meals
Considering that lentils, beans and green leafy vegetables are all great sources of fibre, here is one way in which to use each of them to add more fibre to your everyday diet. All of these are easy, quick recipes which don’t require a lot of pre-planning or alteration.
Lentils are not only a great source of fibre, but a good source of protein too. For that reason, they are a common staple in vegetarian diets. Even if you’re not vegetarian, lentils make an excellent replacement for meats in a lot of standard dishes, and can be easily added to things like casseroles, stews, curries and mince-based dishes such as cottage pie. To make use of lentils, first rinse a few handfuls briefly in water. Soak them while you brown your meat as usual for your curry, casserole or stew. When you add the stock and other liquids such as tinned tomatoes, puree or wine, add in the lentils. Let the meal cook as usual. The lentils will absorb the flavour of the other liquids, herbs and spices and they will become soft. You can barely taste them when they’re cooked through, but you’ll know you’re getting an extra dose of nutrition!
Beans are another great addition to many simple meals. Pretty much any bean will do, whether your favourite is kidney beans, baked beans, butter beans, black beans or cannellini beans. Even chickpeas count! You can add kidney beans to meals such as chilli con carne or stew, baked beans are great for super quick recipes and can be eaten by themselves on toast, or alongside your fried breakfast. Black beans are now available in most South African stores and make great additions to omelettes, tomato-based casseroles, and are very popular in Mexican food. Uncooked tinned beans are also wonderful additions to salads, whether they’re tuna salads, curried bean salads or avocado salads. Generally, you add most types of beans near the end of cooking as they are already quite soft and don’t require too much time. Be imaginative! There are so many types of beans that you can easily add them to breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes .
Vegetables are possibly the easiest way to increase your fibre intake at your meals, as they’re familiar to most people in terms of taste and texture. The easiest way to ensure you get extra vegetables in your diet is to add them in small amounts to everything. If you’re making a tomato sauce or stew with tomatoes, be sure to add onions and carrots. Spinach has a very mild taste and can be easily added to most meat dishes, and can even be blended up into smoothies if you enjoy a good fruity breakfast smoothie. Experiment with different vegetable recipes and methods of cooking. Broccoli can be boring steamed, but tastes great when roasted with some lemon and garlic. Spinach is lovely if cooked in some butter. If normal spinach is too bitter for you, try baby spinach – it makes a great substitute for lettuce in salad too, and offers more nutrition benefits.