Starting your day off with fiber is one of the best things you can do to reduce your blood sugar, lower your cholesterol, and give your metabolism a boost first thing in the day. Fiber is also incredibly healthy for your digestive system, your heart, and best of all – it keeps you full! Low-fiber breakfast foods like donuts, bagels, low-quality cereals, and many packaged foods are often filled with sugar and refined ingredients. Sure, they may taste great, but an hour later you’re hungry and you haven’t given your body the nutrients it needs.
When you start your day off with fiber, two things happen. First, you’ll notice you don’t crave unhealthy foods all morning long and second, you’ll notice that you’re less hungry all throughout the day. You’ll also notice your digestive system becomes more regular and you’ll feel more energetic all day long. The best way to get your fiber is from whole, plant-based foods instead of opting for fiber supplements or highly processed foods.
Try some of my favorite fiber-rich whole foods to start your day off with and within one week you’re likely to feel like a new person:
1. Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
Oatmeal is packed with fiber, protein, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron. It’s one of the best foods you can eat for breakfast since it’s low on the glycemic index and it’s lower in carbohydrates than some other grains that might cause you to be hungry more quickly. Use gluten-free rolled oats as the best option, since gluten can irritate some people’s digestive system and oats are often contaminated with gluten during processing. Rolled oats make the best option since they’re less processed than instant. Add some fruit of your choice, perhaps a few walnuts for omega 3’s, and even some cinnamon and flax for additional flavor and nutrients. This delicious Jujube, Raspberry and Hemp Seed Oatmeal is a great way to try oatmeal in a whole new way.
If you don’t tolerate grains or just don’t like oatmeal, try having quinoa instead. Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, so many people find they tolerate it much better than grains. Quinoa is also full of protein, with all essential amino acids, it’s high in fiber and potassium, and it’s also a great source of magnesium. Magnesium keeps your bones strong, keeps stress at bay, and also helps keep you regular. Quinoa can be cooked in just 15 minutes, or you can buy quinoa flakes at the store that cook up just like oatmeal on the stove or microwave as a quicker option. Top your quinoa with berries, nuts, seeds, or even some vegan yogurt if you like. This quinoa breakfast porridge is a great recipe to start with.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Think sweet potatoes are just for lunch and dinner? Think again! Sweet potatoes make a great ingredient to use for a vegan breakfast scramble or you can use sweet potato puree and blend with some almond milk, cinnamon, and flax milk for a delicious breakfast pudding. You can also use it to make muffins or quick bread with. Sweet potatoes contain a large dose of fiber, they lower the glycemic index, they’re packed with water and potassium, and they’re a fantastic source of Vitamin A to keep your skin and heart healthy.
Blueberries, blackberries, acai berries, goji berries, strawberries, and raspberries all make awesome morning meal ingredients. Berries aren’t only packed with a large amount of fiber, but also Vitamin C and potassium. They enhance mental focus and they contain more antioxidant than all other fruits. Acai berries even contain omega 3 fatty acids and goji berries contain 19 amino acids, including the 8 essential amino acids which makes them a great source of protein. Use berries in smoothies, muffins, morning porridge, top some vegan yogurt with them, or just pair them raw with some almonds for an on-the-go breakfast.
Chia is a fantastic grain-free, morning meal option. It’s loaded with fiber, protein, magnesium, omega 3 fats, potassium, zinc, manganese, B vitamins, and it has no sugar or starch. A 1/4 cup serving of chia contains 10 grams of fiber, 10 grams of protein and 10 grams of fat. It’s the perfect filling way to start your day and keep you running strong all day long. There are so many ways to use chia in your recipes whether you make chia pudding, add chia to a smoothie, use it to make your own protein bars, or even add it to baked goods.
Chia may steal most of the superfood spotlight in the seed department but it’s important not to forget about flax seeds. Flax seeds contain more omega 3’s than chia and they’re a better source of lignans, which protect your heart. Flax is also beneficial to hormone function since it contains phytoestrogens. I also like using flax since it has a bit more flavor than chia as well. Remember to use ground flax seeds (also known as flax meal) since whole flax seeds go undigested through the body and you miss out on all the nutrients. Add two tablespoons to some oatmeal, top some vegan yogurt with flax meal, add some to a smoothie, or stir them in some quinoa. You can even use ground flax as a one to one replacement for flour in a recipe if you’d like to make some muffins, quick bread, or pancakes.
Apples are a fruit we hear a lot about, but most of us aren’t eating enough of them. Apples are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and natural carbohydrates that keep us energized. Green apples have less sugar than red apples but any apple is a great choice. Apples also contain a special fiber known as pectin, which is incredible for your cholesterol and digestive system. It soaks up cholesterol and toxins like a sponge to excrete them out of the body and expel them so you can feel more energetic and more healthy around the clock. Pectin also helps keep you fuller longer than some other fibers, which means an apple a day not only keeps the doctor away but also those nagging hunger pangs!
Pair a couple or a few of these whole foods together for a healthy morning meal any day of the week. Check out our breakfast recipes if you need some recipe suggestions too. What’s your favorite high-fiber morning meal?
Image source: Brain Food Porridge
I eat TONS of high phytate foods. I’ve seen information that the OPPOSITE is true of Phytate. I eat grains a lot,no joint problems, no osteoporosis. I do agree however that GMO foods can be problematic. My opinion is that it’s the toxic chemicals eating away at our bodies rather than the wheat itself. I consume organic whole wheat. Organic everything really. Except watermelon. Can’t get organic watermelon where I live. I feel better when I eat more grains, I feel better when I eat more carbs period. But wheat has never steered me wrong. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/phytates-for-the-prevention-of-osteoporosis/
Whats with the assault on gluten? I eat tons of wheat, barley, rye etc etc. I’m just fine. No digestive issues and in good shape. In fact, since the whole anti-gluten movement took off I’ve been purposely eating MORE wheat foods just to see if there’s anything to it. Nothing. I’m not taking anything away from people who have Celiac disease, but the good majority of people in the world tolerate gluten just fine. Empires were built on wheat.
Over time, repeated consumption of any type of food can lead to an intolerance or sensitivity. I see it all the time in my nutrition practice. It doesn’t always show up as digestive complaints. Symptoms of a food intolerance can present as joint pain, headaches, dark circles under the eyes etc.
I agree with you however, the attack on gluten and wheat has gone overboard. The main issues with wheat is that most of it has been genetically modified(a topic all on its own), and that people over consume it, sometimes making it the bulk of their diet. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which in turn weakens the immune system and can lead to a whole slew of other health issues. Gluten can be a difficult protein to digest and break down so if someone does have weak digestion or low stomach acid, they might be more prone to having issues with it.
Grains also contain phytic acid, which bind to minerals and prevent their absorption. Without proper mineral intake, bone strength is compromised. Some studies have shown an overconsumption of grains to contribute to osteoporosis.
Like everything else, I think the key is to have balance. Those who do not have a gluten intolerance need not avoid gluten containing grains, but should try not to make them the main focus of their diet either, which can be done pretty easily. (cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner).