We all know that fibre is good for us and we should be eating more. But how do we start to think about eating more fibre and exactly how much more should we be eating? We decided to find out….
Why 30g fibre a day?
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) released updated guidelines in 2015 explaining that the general population’s intake of fibre should be 30g/day instead of 18g /day as previously suggested (COMA, 1991; SACN, 2008).
This is as SACN have continually been researching and analysing a strengthening quality of data over time, on the benefits of increasing fibre and have found that, increasing intake of fibre to 30g/day saw a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and colorectal cancers. SACN (2015) also states that a diet rich in foods containing fibre will also be rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals and fibre will help to add bulk to our stools and regulate its type and frequency.
As student dietitians we keep up to date with guidelines and work to provide advice to which is evidenced based and practical. Therefore we gave the new recommendations a go for 5 days so we could provide the best advice for you!
How we did it?
|Breakfast||220g porridge made with semi- skimmed milk , ½ tsp honey , 10 blueberries , 8 raspberries and 1tbsp flaked almonds||Porridge made with semi- skimmed milk , honey , blueberries , raspberries and flaked almonds||Porridge made with semi- skimmed milk , honey , blueberries , raspberries and flaked almonds||Porridge made with semi- skimmed milk , honey , blueberries , raspberries and flaked almonds||Porridge made with semi- skimmed milk , honey , blueberries , raspberries and flaked almonds|
|Lunch||Baked potato (with skin) with 45g tuna, mayonnaise and salad (50g lettuce , 8 slices cucumber , 6 cherry tomatoes and ½ a pepper)|
|2 slices turkey, mayonnaise and salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and peppers) in a wholemeal tortilla wrap|
|45g Chicken, ½ an avocado, 40g lettuce and mayonnaise on 2 slices wholemeal bread1 large slice Ham and 65g wholemeal pasta salad with mayonnaise (lettuce, cucumber , tomatoes and peppers)|
1 yoghurt (added one handful of mixed seeds to yoghurt : pumpkin seeds , flaxseeds)
|1 large slice Ham and 65g wholemeal pasta salad with mayonnaise (lettuce, cucumber , tomatoes and peppers)|
|3 slices cheddar cheese , mayonnaise and salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and peppers) on wholemeal bread
|Evening Meal||1 Salmon fillet covered in 1 tsp pesto and wrapped in 2 slices Parma ham with 100g wholemeal rice , 80g spinach, 1 courgette, 3 spears of broccoli and 5 cherry tomatoes||Chicken Kiev (shop bought) with 80g spinach , 80g peas and sweet potato chips (1 whole with skin)||Added spinach between layers , swapped mascarpone for low fat soft cheese, did not use mozzarella and made with wholemeal tortillas||Thai red Chicken curry (made with shop bought curry paste and 1 400g can light coconut milk) with ½ a pepper, 66g (1 cup) peas, 1 courgette, 20g spinach and 100g wholemeal rice||1 Salmon fillet and 80g prawns 100g wholemeal pasta with 25g spinach and 80g peas|
|Snacks||1 banana , 1 passionfruit with yoghurt||2 medium carrots(not peeled) with 2 tbsp hummus|
4 dried dates
|1 apple||1 yoghurt|
1 25g bag of sweet popcorn
|2 medium carrots (not peeled) with hummus
4 dried dates
Easy Swops To Make To Your Diet
- Swap to wholegrain carbohydrate products (brown rice, brown bread, brown pasta) in order have more fibre in your diet.
- Have at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Snack on dried fruit
- Add beans or lentils to your meals
- Add nuts and seeds to your cereal or snack on them throughout the day
Easy High Fibre Meal Ideas
Practical Solution To Difficulties Following A High Fibre Diet
#1: Difficulty: I found that it was far more food than I was used to eating in order to meet the 30g/day fibre target.
- Practical solution: Having one high fibre snack/ day e.g. fruits or vegetables with skins or two smaller high fibre snacks e.g. carrots and hummus and dates and ensuring I was adding the fibre needed to my current meals without further increasing the portion size e.g. adding 1 handful flaked almonds to porridge, 1 handful of seeds to yoghurts and adding extra vegetables or salad to meals.
#2: Difficulty: Estimating how much fibre was in each meal/snack as this something we don’t usually tract or take notice of.
- Practical solution: I would advise adding up the fibre in your diet as you go along for at least a few days because I really felt that I got used to the amounts in different foods and can now estimate more accurately. You can make use of packets (check the back for details) and mobile phone apps to in order to check amounts accurately.
#3: Difficulty: I found that the days I was out and about and busy were the days I struggled to meet the target for fibre.
- Practical solution: Bring snacks in your bag which you can nibble on which are healthy and high in fibre!
By Bethany Florey & Olivia Done (student dietitians)
Reviewed by Kirsten Crothers RD BSc
Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (2015). Carbohydrates and Health. London, United Kingdom: TSO.