Health

Food hacks to increase your fibre intake

Not fond of veggies or fruit? Try these hacks

Turn veggie scraps into soups, salads, sauces or dips

Save peels, stems or leaves to make a separate fibre-rich appetiser and reduce food waste. Boil and blitz the leftover bits to make soup, blend them with nuts, garlic and cheese to make pesto, toss them with dressing to make a salad, or puree them to make a tasty dip.

Prep snacks for the week

Steam edamame, broccoli or corn, toast nuts, boil chickpeas, cut up veggies or fruits and store them in the fridge for the week.

Boost your breakfast

To further improve heart health and bowel movement, upgrade your oats or yogurt with more soluble fibre.

Good sources of soluble fibre include fruits, wheat bran, flaxseed, psyllium husk, chia seeds and soya milk - all easy additions to your breakfast bowl.

Mix up carbs

Refined carbs like white bread, pasta and white rice have been getting flak for increasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but you don't have to give them up completely. Try replacing a third to half of your regular pasta with whole wheat options. Make your sandwich with multigrain bread, or change out some white rice with the red, brown or black varieties.

Top up meals with nuts

Add crunch, fibre and extra flavour to salads, soups and pasta by topping them with nuts and seeds. You can mix up varieties like pecans, almonds, sesame and sunflower, chopping up the bigger ones while leaving the smaller ones whole.

Blend flours for baking

Consider swapping some of the all-purpose flour in a cake, waffle or cookie with alternatives such as oat, nut or wholegrain flours. If you have a food processor, high-powered blender or coffee grinder at home, you can easily make your own flour by grinding down anything from your favourite nuts to brown rice.

Add fruits, veggies to batter

If you're tweaking the flours in your baking recipe, why not add shredded, dried or pureed fruits and vegetables to your batter?

You could start off with more common ones like raisins, bananas and carrots before experimenting with pumpkin, beetroot, zucchini and dates.

Bulk up meat sauces and dishes with legumes, grains

Replace a third or up to half the meat in a recipe with cooked lentils, oats, root vegetables or wholegrain bread crumbs. These fibre-rich ingredients absorb flavours well without overpowering the dish, and they'll help you save money as well as cut your risk of heart disease and cancer.

Have fruit instead of juice

There's no cooking involved, so this is a bit of a bonus tip. Instead of having fruit juice, where most of the fibre is removed, which can cause spikes in blood sugar, freeze the fruits and turn them into smoothies, sorbets or popsicles. Alternatively, eat the whole fruit instead. You'll feel fuller and get more nutritional benefits.

Food hacks to increase your fibre intake

This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

Food & Drink