Have you ever felt hungry during class, but you just ate? How about those mid-morning stomach grumbles only a couple hours after breakfast? It’s possible you’re not getting enough fiber – an important nutrient in the diet. Read on to find out what fiber is and how to easily incorporate it into your daily diet.
What is Fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our bodies can’t digest, so it takes longer to pass through our system, which in turn, keeps us fuller for longer.
You may have heard of 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both types have unique benefits to us, but they are both found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, wheat, and oats. Fiber not only helps us stay full, but it also helps control our blood sugar levels that prevent those mid-day slumps when we may not eat enough between lunch and dinner (this is particularly soluble fiber, but it is found in most fiber foods along with insoluble fiber).
You May Not Be Getting Enough
It’s recommended that we eat 28 grams of fiber per day. That’s about 10 grams more than what the average American eats. College students may even eat less due to stress, change in eating habits, and lifestyle changes. 1
What You Can Do
Below are some easy, quick, and tasty ideas you can try at home (or in your dorm!) to help you curb hunger when it strikes!
- NuGo Fiber d’Lish bars
- These pack a whopping 12 grams of fiber in one bar! Made with oats, wheat, and other functional fibers, this will surely knock your hunger away.
- Overnight oats
- This is perfect if you’re crunched for time in the mornings. Just fill a mason jar with ½ – 1 cup oats (how ever much you eat) and pour in milk/soymilk so everything is well covered. Then top with dried fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butter, fresh fruit, and any spices you like. Pop it in the fridge and simply heat it up in the morning.
- Fruits with the SKIN ON
- Many people are surprised to hear that fruit has fiber. Truthfully, it’s all in the skin! Pack an apple or a cup of rinsed berries in your lunch and have it as a snack.
- Veggies & Hummus
- Having raw veggies and hummus as a snack can pack in an extra 5 grams of fiber for the day. Raw veggies have more fiber than cooked ones (heat breaks down the fiber) so keep it crunchy.
- Sandwich on whole wheat bread
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread has whopping 6-12 grams of fiber!
1Hoy MK, Goldman JD. Fiber intake of the U.S. Population: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2009-2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture; September 2014. Available at: https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400530/pdf/dbrief/12_fiber_intake_0910.pdf. Accessed January 23, 2019.
About the Author:
Madeline Hric is a graduate dietetic student and intern at the University of Pittsburgh working to become a registered dietitian. Her passion for Olympic weightlifting and nutrition inspired her to pursue a career in sports dietetics. She has an undergraduate degree in exercise science and hopes to combine her degrees to educate athletes on the importance of exercise, and how different types of exercise impacts individual nutrition needs.