Today’s Dietitian I January, 2020 Issue I Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN
High-Fiber Convenience Foods — Can They Bridge the Pervasive Fiber Gap?
It’s no secret to health professionals that fiber is a critical component of a healthful diet, yet, according to national consumption surveys, 95% of Americans don’t meet their fiber goals, despite research conducted by the International Food Information Council showing that two-thirds (67%) of consumers believe they get enough fiber each day.1,2
On average, US adults consume approximately 15 g fiber per day, well short of the recommended intake of 25 to 38 g per day based on the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Even dietitians can find it challenging to consume the required amount of fiber on a daily basis. While they’re not sexy nutrition solutions, it’s well understood that fiber-containing, plant-based foods play an important role in overall health and prevention and treatment of diseases such as prediabetes, diabetes, and heart disease—so much so that the Dietary Guidelines have considered fiber to be a nutrient of concern since 2005. New research also is shedding light on the benefits of fiber in mental health, supporting a diverse microbiome, and beyond. What are dietitians to do when, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 1 in 10 adults meets federal fruit and vegetable recommendations?
Most consumers know that fiber-filled foods are good for them but lack the time, skill, and creativity to design and prepare daily meals and snacks to reach fiber goals while paying attention to total calorie consumption, blood sugar levels, and heart health. Plus, the growing popularity of low-carb and keto-style diets in addition to gluten-free, wheat-free, and grain-free eating patterns tend to limit or eliminate fiber-rich grains, further contributing to the fiber intake deficit.
10 High-Fiber Foods for Clients On the Go
Below are 10 high-fiber convenience foods RDs consume, enjoy, and recommend for their clients as part of a healthful diet. Each snack contains at least 5 g fiber per serving and is made without artificial ingredients or preservatives. The foods are portable, nonperishable, and contain different forms of fiber for variety.
Whole Food and Functional Fiber Snacks
7. F-Factor Protein/Fiber Bars. There’s a seemingly endless variety of protein bars on the market with diverse nutritional values and ingredients. F-Factor Protein/Fiber Bars, developed by Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, an internationally known dietitian and creator of the F-Factor Diet, is a favorite among RDs. They’re plant based, gluten-free, soy-free, and kosher, and contain fiber sourced primarily from prebiotic soluble corn fiber. Kelly Plowe, MS, RDN, a food and health communications specialist based in Los Angeles, says, “I keep F-Factor bars stocked in my pantry. They’re perfect for when you’re on the go. They come in Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownie and have 20 g of fiber and 20 g of protein. I especially love these because unlike other fiber bars, they don’t upset my stomach or make me feel bloated. They’re vegan, too, and taste delicious.”