5 ways to get more fibre

With so many foods being branded as ‘unhealthy’ it can be easy to make restrictions to your diet but then forget about what you actually do need. Healthy eating has become confusing and over complicated. My aim is to make things simple with some quick and easy tips to show you how you can truly nourish your body with food. It’s time to enjoy healthy eating again.

Why do we need dietary fibre?

Dietary fibre is really important for good digestive health but we don’t get nearly enough of it. There’s evidence that fibre can reduce the risk of bowel cancer [1] and it has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases [2]. Fibre also helps to control weight and makes you feel fuller for longer so you’re less likely to turn to unhealthy snacks.

What foods contain dietary fibre and how much do I need?

The main sources of dietary fibre (both soluble and insoluble) are: whole grain starchy carbohydrates (wholewheat pasta, wholemeal bread, brown rice), nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, apples, bananas, potatoes with skins and root vegetables. It is recommended that you get 30g of fibre per day. For some context – 1 serving of cooked wholewheat pasta can provide 7g of fibre [3]. 30g a day can be easily achieved with a varied, balanced diet and by hitting your 5 a day, but to make things simple here’s 5 easy ways to get more fibre into your everyday meals.

1. Swap to whole grains 

Basing your meals around starchy carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, couscous, noodles and bread will provide you with slow release energy, but swapping to whole grain varieties will boost your fibre intake. Wholewheat pasta is a great choice, but wholewheat noodles, wholemeal bread, brown/black rice, oats, quinoa, and rye all provide fibre too. I was a bit skeptical about brown pasta at first but in all honesty you can’t tell the difference!

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2. Snack on dried fruit and nuts

Carry around a small pot of dried fruits and nuts for a high fibre snack on-the-go. Not only do you get more fibre, but you’re also less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks and sugary treats to keep you going. Most dried fruits and nuts are at least a source of fibre, but I prefer almonds, soft figs, apricots and prunes which are all high in fibre and really delicious too. A portion of dried fruit (30g) also provides one of your 5 a day!

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3. Leave the skin on your potatoes – they’re packed with fibre

When you’re cooking with potatoes you can get more fibre by making jackets, skin-on wedges or choosing new potato varieties. These sweet potato wedges were so easy to make – simply slice a couple of potatoes, toss in 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and 2 garlic cloves then roast for 30 minutes until crisp and golden.

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4. Get more pulses

Pulses includes all beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas. They’re often overlooked but can make a great addition to your meal. I really like the microwavable packs you can buy – they’re so convenient and only take a minute to heat up. Here I’ve served grilled salmon with microwaved mix of haricot beans, bulgur wheat and wholegrain spelt, cherry tomatoes and tender stem broccoli – really simple, delicious and super filling too.

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5. Try to get fibre in at every meal – especially breakfast

A high fibre breakfast is a great start to the day and means you’re more likely to hit your 30g/day. This is my favourite high fibre breakfast – poached eggs and avocado on wholemeal toast (approx 7 g of fibre). You can also opt for porridge, granola and bran cereal – try topping with a sliced banana for an extra boost of fibre.

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