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Wednesdays with Whitney: Winter Veggies and Fiber

I had a doctor once tell me that he saw an increase in gastrointestinal problems in his patients during colder winter months because people eat less fiber and vegetables. Any recommendations for high fiber seasonal fall/winter recipes or diet adjustments?

Most of us would benefit from eating more fiber, all year round. I do often hear people say that eating fruits and vegetables is much easier in the summer. So, I can absolutely relate to the feeling of needing to boost fiber more mindfully during the chillier seasons. Here are five ways to bump up fiber in the fall/winter specifically:

  1. An apple a day, keeps the doctor away—or so they say. Grab an apple and a handful of nuts or seeds for a fiber-packed, balanced and satisfying snack!

  2. Add brown rice, quinoa or whole grain pastas to vegetable-based soups, casseroles, and stews. They tend to have more fiber than traditional pastas and white rice.

  3. Stock up on sweet potatoes, potatoes and other seasonal veggies that store well (parsnips, turnip, and winter squash). Make once and eat twice (or even three times). Make more than needed for one meal. These starchy veggies re-heat well and can be added to eggs (think scrambled, egg bakes or omelets), used as salad toppers, or thrown into the pan for home fries. I love roasting sweet potatoes and then re-using them throughout the week.

  4. Experiment with other types of flour. Whole wheat flour, in most recipes, can substitute at least half of the called for all-purpose flour without sacrificing the flavor. Have you ever heard of oat flour? This can be made by pulsing rolled oats in a blender of food processor. Other flours that rank higher in fiber than all-purpose are chickpea flour, almond flour, quinoa flour and coconut flours. I recommend starting with whole wheat flour for your everyday recipes. Recipes that specifically use the alternative flours will likely taste better than if you randomly swap them out in recipes that call for all-purpose.

  5. Reach for energy balls, popcorn, and smoothies. Sweets and savory foods are in abundance this time of year. Think of ways to curb that sweet touch with options that provide more nutrition and FIBER! Try energy balls (for which recipes are plentiful) that feature flax seeds, wheat germ and/or oats with a hint of sweetness and chocolate. Popcorn can be a great Hallmark movie sidekick when air popped and topped with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt (or hot sauce) and nutritional yeast. Smoothies tend to be a hit during the summer months, but I encourage you to reach in the back of your freezer and use those frozen berries, a banana, milk (or water) and maybe some yogurt and peanut butter to drink up some fiber.

Voila, fiber be cranked up!

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