As the weather starts to warm up flowers begin blooming, trees start budding out, and fresh, local produce is right around the corner. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals our bodies need to work correctly. Now is the time to check out local farmers markets to taste and experience fruits and vegetables grown right here in Massachusetts! Click here to find a market near you, or check for locally grown produce at your grocery store. Worried about produce spoiling before you can eat it? Buy frozen– it’s still full of the same nutrients as fresh produce.
Fiber is a weird word, right? You may have heard that eating fiber is good for you and your health, but what foods have fiber and how much do you need each day? Fiber is a carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Our bodies can’t actually break down fiber to use for energy. However, fiber helps us feel full longer which helps keep hunger at bay and blood sugars in check.
Fiber comes in two different forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can help lower blood sugar. Foods with soluble fiber include apples, blueberries, oatmeal, nuts, and beans. Insoluble fiber helps keep your trips to the bathroom regular and prevents constipation. Foods with insoluble fiber include carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, legumes, and brown rice.
Adults and children need 20-30 grams of fiber per day. Increase your fiber intake by:
- Eating whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juice
- Snacking on raw vegetables and fruits instead of chips or candy
- Eating whole grain pasta, bread, and brown rice instead of white bread, white pasta, and white rice
- Eat beans or legumes a few times per week
Try one of these ideas to increase your fiber intake:
- Layer low fat Greek yogurt with ½ cup blueberries and 1 tablespoon chia seeds (7 grams of fiber)
- Dip raw vegetables in ½ a mashed avocado (½ avocado has 6.5 grams of fiber)
- Steam 1 cup of edamame, top with a pinch of sea salt (8 grams of fiber)
- Make peanut butter & banana sandwiches: spread 1 teaspoon of peanut butter between 2 slices of banana (1 banana has 3g of fiber)
- Make an apple donut: core an apple, then lay it on its side and slice in rounds. Top with peanut butter or Greek yogurt, then add chopped nuts, berries, or dried fruit.
- Try a fruit pizza
- Cut 1 head of broccoli into small pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. (1 cup of broccoli has 5 grams of fiber)