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For a healthy 2014, focus on these nutrition numbers

Rather than falling into the “counting” trap—calories, fat grams, whatever—focus on what you can eat so that food  becomes your friend, not the enemy. To get fit and fabulous in 2014, keep your eye on these nutrition numbers.

25-38 grams fiber per day.

You know that fiber is good for GI and cardiovascular health. You may not know that it is also one of the most important nutrients for satiety, or feeling full long after a meal is over, a key tool to prevent overeating.

The average adult woman needs 25 grams fiber per day and the average man about 38 grams. Another way to calculate needs is 14 grams fiber per 1,000 calories consumed. To determine fiber needs for children, a good rule of thumb is to take their age and add five (e.g., an 8-year-old needs about 13 grams of fiber per day). 

Plant foods—fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains—are the best fiber sources and should be eaten at every meal and snack of the day. Here’s how easy it is to get 25 grams per day.

Breakfast: one serving of oatmeal contains 7 grams fiber; 1 cup berries offers 3 grams = 10 grams total

Lunch: 1 cup leafy greens provides 1.5 grams fiber; 1/2 cup beans is 8 grams = 9.5 grams total

Snack: a medium-sized apple contains 4 grams fiber; 2 tablespoons peanut butter is 2 grams = 6 grams total

Dinner: 1 cup broccoli offers 2 grams fiber; 1 medium baked potato with the skin on is 4 grams = 6 grams total

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