Many people enjoy the health benefits of a high-fiber diet. A specialized diet can help address many physical ailments, and eating foods with high fiber content reduces blood-cholesterol levels while aiding in the normalization of sugar levels in the bloodstream. This promotes greater overall health and can be a valuable asset in any weight-loss program. By normalizing your blood-sugar levels, you avoid the crash often felt when eating sugary or greasy foods. This can give you the energy you need to tackle the next workout on your schedule and feel great throughout the day. While the plan may offer some difficulty when it comes to meal planning, it is fairly simple to follow.
High-Fiber Diet Meal Plan
A standard high-fiber meal plan is rich in fruits and vegetables. Whole grains and beans deliver much of the fiber content for each meal, allowing you to enjoy many different food options while still maintaining your high-fiber diet. Other food choices for a standard meal plan include:
- Green peas
These foods are packed with extra nutrition as well as fiber, giving you the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and enjoy an active lifestyle. Brown rice is preferred over standard white varieties, as it contains many more nutrients. Similarly, bran is often separated from whole grains, but it is actually the outer hull of these grains and contains many nutrients that processed varieties lack. Berries are rich in both fiber and antioxidants, making them a great choice for most meal plans. High-fiber meals should deliver around thirty-five grams of fiber per day.
High-Fiber Diet Plan for Weight Loss
Berries and fruits are not usually the best choice when you are following a high-fiber plan for weight loss, however. While they may contain exceptional levels of nutrition and fiber, they are also rich in sugars and high in calories. Instead of making half of your plate consist of both fruits and vegetables, as you would with most standard high-fiber plans, try eating only a single serving or two of fruit per day and adding more leafy vegetables or beans to your meals. These foods are also rich in fiber but much lower in total caloric count. Alcohol and additional sugars should be avoided entirely, as they add no additional fiber and deliver increased calories with little to no nutritional benefit. They can also lead to blood-sugar fluctuations.
High-Protein High-Fiber Diet Plan
Bodybuilders and those looking to add muscle mass as well as trim away body fat may need a combination high-protein and high-fiber plan. Most beans offer a decent source of fiber and protein, making them a staple for plans of this type. Meals should employ a combination of:
- Lean meats
- Seeds (Read about the health benefits of hemp seeds)
All of these food types have extra protein that can help accelerate muscle growth while helping to prevent the low caloric intake of weight-loss diets from causing the body to break down existing muscle tissue. Other great choices for those looking to mix protein and fiber for enhanced muscle growth include:
- Complex breads
As with other diet varieties, increased food intake should be met with increased physical activity for best results.
A Typical High-Fiber Diet Week
Those on high-fiber plans are likely to enjoy a variety of different foods throughout the week. Breakfast may start with a rich whole-grain muffin, cup of vegetable juice, and eggs or a lean meat option along with a side of vegetables. Lunch is likely to be made of at least half steamed or raw vegetables and fruits along with a quarter portion of meat and as a quarter portion of beans, nuts, or a similar high-fiber food. Dinner may focus equally as heavily on vegetables and high-fiber options, with beans including black-eyed peas and lima or pinto varieties taking center stage. As with most meals, a combination of fruits and vegetables should make up about half of dinner to introduce extra fiber and help keep calories in check.
Great Food Choices
While there are many great food choices for this plan, a few stand out due to their exceptional levels of nutrition and fiber. Sprinkle high-fiber garnitures onto your foods to increase fiber intake, these include:
- Wheat germ
- Wheat bran
- Oat bran
Similarly, whole-grain breads are a great choice when it comes time to make toast at breakfast or prepare sandwiches for lunch. Sweet potatoes, spinach, and most leafy greens contain excellent nutrition and high fiber levels. For a light snack, try air-popped popcorn, which contains up to four grams of fiber for each popped cup. Almonds and peanuts are also great snack foods that may be easily incorporated in to different meals.
Recipe for All Plans
Whether your meal plan calls for additional veggies, meats, or even more sources of fiber, this simple recipe is a great choice. You can also easily modify it to create multiple meals. Lightly toast two pieces of whole-grain bread and serve them along with steamed beans and a meat of your choice. Grilled meat offers a healthy alternative to fried varieties. Add leafy green vegetables for added nutrition; available choices include:
Finish the meal with a low-calorie and low-caffeine beverage. Consider creating parfaits made by mixing five parts yogurt to one part fiber-rich berries and sprinkle with bran for a tasty and healthy dessert.
Dangers and Side Effects
You should strive to introduce fiber to your diet slowly. It may take some time for your intestines to get up to speed with the increased digestion of the substance. Eating more fiber than your body can currently handle may cause gas, cramps, and bloating. Ramping up the diet by adding five grams per day may help reduce the gas that commonly accompanies new high-fiber programs. Remember to make healthy choices involving nutrition along with fiber intake. High-fiber food choices may help alleviate the symptoms of many common health issues. Some doctors recommend a specialized high-fiber diet plan for diverticulitis sufferers, for example, but those suffering from health problems should still contact a doctor before making changes to follow instructions found in any diet guide.