There’s one ingredient that should be part of every meal. There’s no need to make a trip to a special store to find it: Nature has already thoughtfully prepackaged it in a cornucopia of vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts. The special ingredient? Fiber.
It’s famous for improving regularity and helping lower cholesterol. But dietary fiber also performs other key roles that might surprise you, affecting everything from your skin to your gallbladder, heart and immunity. Here’s how to add more of the good stuff to every meal.
- Throw some frozen raspberries or strawberries and a handful of greens (spinach or mixed salad greens), along with half a banana, into your smoothie.
- Instead of pairing your eggs with hash browns and toast, try adding a side of black beans and salsa.
- Cook up a big batch of steel-cut oats over the weekend and reheat some each morning with a little chopped-up apple.
- Seek out legume-based soups.
- Look for healthy prepared salads at the grocery store that use whole grains, such as barley, and layer them over a base of mixed greens.
- Eat at ethnic restaurants, such as Indian and Mexican locales, which are sure to give legumes a starring role.
- Start out dinner with a bountiful raw vegetable salad.
- Replace starchy side dishes with legumes.
- Sautéing some veggies? Start out with a little garlic and onion.
- Pack a small bag of nuts, such as almonds, pistachios or walnuts, or seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, in your bag or car.
- Whip up a big batch of black bean dip to have on hand for tortilla chips and raw veggies.
- Keep it simple: eat a piece of fruit, like an apple, orange or banana.