Let’s face it, how much fiber you eat every day is personal and somewhat private – as it affects your digestive system for better or worse. That’s one of the reasons I love being a registered dietitian nutritionist, I can probe – (only verbally, no worries!), about your fiber intake.  For those not eating enough fiber, I enjoy collaborating on ways to add it into your lifestyle – slowly, but surely.

Disclosure: I am partnering with Sensus, the largest supplier of chicory root fiber inulin in North America, on this post – and I regularly work with Dreamfields Pasta, which contains chicory root fiber inulin, to spread the word about the benefits of fiber-rich foods.   

What is fiber?  It’s the non-digestible parts of plants and it comes in two forms – soluble, which dissolves in water, and insoluble, which absorbs water from the foods you eat in the digestive tract; adding bulk to maintain regularity (all good things!)

Both types of fiber are vital players in health in the following ways:

  • Fend off weight gain by filling you up faster and longer
  • Stabilize blood sugar
  • Decrease colon cancer risk
  • Alleviate constipation
  • Keep cholesterol levels in check

How much fiber should you eat every day? Aim for 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories that you eat.  So, if you eat 2,000 calories, try to get at least 28 grams per day.  If you are not used to eating this much fiber, add it in slowly to avoid upsetting your digestive system – as you can  excessive gas, bloating and pain, if you’re not careful.  Drink plenty of water throughout the day to alleviate discomfort.

With only 1 out of 10 people eating enough fiber daily, the good news is fiber is added to food products like snack bars, pasta, yogurt, and cereal to enhance the health benefits.  Inulin, which is a natural, non-GMO fiber extracted from chicory root plants and produced into powder or syrup forms is added to food products to up the fiber level. (Inulin is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, onions and wheat.)  Many popular products contain inulin/chicory root fiber, such as Chobani Simply 100 Greek Yogurt, Fiber One Oats & Chocolate and Lemon Bars, Udi’s Soft & Chewy Ancient Grains and Cranberry Almond Granola Bars, Dreamfields Pasta and Arctic Zero Frozen Desserts.

By the way, Sensus is the only chicory root fiber inulin producer in the world with FDA GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status.  This means that their inulin has been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use.  Go to the Sensus website,  www.inspiredbyinulin.com, for more information.

Want to know learn how to add more fiber into your day?  Check out my two-week meal plans:

Sensus Meal Plan and Shopping Guide Week 1      Sensus Meal Plan and Shopping Guide Week 2

Let’s get creative with fiber in the kitchen with a tasty treat to enjoy as a snack or dessert. . .start with Udi’s Soft & Chewy Cranberry Almond Granola Bars. Just flatten them into small ramekins to make a crust –  as the name denotes, they are soft enough to mold and shape.  You can even take a rolling pin and flatten the bars, if you desire a thinner crust.

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Next, just whip up the ricotta cheese for the ‘cakes’.  I simply add cinnamon, vanilla and honey to it.  Feel free to add mint, chocolate chips or candied ginger to it for a different taste sensation.  The nice thing about ricotta cheese is it’s a blank slate – so add your favorite flavors to it.

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 Serves 5

 Ingredients

1 box (5 bars) Udi’s Soft ‘N Chewy Cranberry Almond Granola Bars

2 cups ricotta cheese, part-skim

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (optional, for dusting)

Directions

  1. Mash and spread out the granola bars with your fingers in the bottom of five small ramekins to form a crust-like layer.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the ricotta, cinnamon, vanilla and honey until just blended.
  3. With a small ice cream scoop, dollop one or two ricotta cheese balls over the granola crust. Smooth out to fill the ramekin; refrigerate until ready to serve.  If you’d like, sprinkle cocoa powder on top before serving.  Enjoy!

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 289, Total Fat: 12.5 g, Saturated Fat: 5.5 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 163 mg, Carbohydrates: 31 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 12 g, Protein: 14 g

You can connect with Sensus and join the inulin conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Think about it: have you eaten enough fiber today?

Enjoy eating simply,

-Vicki

 

 

 

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