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Registered dietician Maggie Smith offers advice on how to incorporate fibre into your diet and make it a regular part of your day. You'll see how easy it is to add fibre in various meals and snacks by following these tips. Choose whole-grain foods at meals throughout the day. You need six to ten servings each day.

  • Breakfast cereal with bran is a good start.
  • At lunch, choose 100% whole wheat or whole-grain bread for your sandwich. All bread is not equal in fibre, so be sure to check the nutrition label.
  • Brown rice, wild rice, and kasha make great side dishes.

2. Dry beans and lentils are great sources of soluble fibre. They have lots of protein and may be selected as a meat replacement. Aim to include dry beans and legumes at least two to three times each week.

  • Garbanzo beans make a great addition to salads.
  • Mash or chop garbanzo beans in the food processor. Use them to make tasty mock-tuna salad for sandwiches.
  • Rinse and add canned black beans to rice for menus with a South-western flair.
  • Make your salsa and chips more interesting by adding some black beans and corn kernels.
  • Make tacos with fat-free refried beans, replacing some or all of the meat.
  • Add canned beans to vegetable soup.

3. Eat the whole fruit or vegetable. The skin of the fruit or vegetable contains extra fibre.

  • Add corn, onions, and capsicum to your scrambled eggs.
  • Use salsa instead of sour cream on baked potatoes and remember to eat the skin of the potato.
  • Fruit soup made by stewing prunes, apricots, raisins, and other dried fruit is a wonderful Scandinavian addition to breakfast.

4. Select raw fruits and vegetables frequently.

  • Lettuce is not one of the highest sources of fibre, but don't give up; replace some or all of the lettuce with raw spinach leaves.
  • Add lots of carrots and other vegetables to the salad. Beets and chickpeas, raisins, sunflower seeds, and chopped apples are good additions. Make it colourful!
  • .Wash pieces of fruit each day so that they will be easy to grab for snacks and meal preparation.
  • Keep carrot and capsicum strips ready to nibble. Sliced turnips taste great raw and make a nice addition to snack trays.
  • Make your sandwich extra appetising by adding fresh spinach, tomatoes, sprouts, cucumbers, or capsicums.

5. Supplement with Psyllium. The husk of the Psyllium plant, found in the fibre supplement Metamucil, has one of the highest amounts of soluble fibre available in grains.

  • Smoothies are great. Combine in a blender: 1/3 cup lemonade, 1/3 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, 1/3 cup ice, and 1 teaspoon Metamucil Smooth Texture Orange fibre supplement. Blend until smooth. Each dose of Metamucil Powder contains 3.4 grams of fibre.
  • Metamucil Capsules are another great way to add fibre. Six capsules contain 3 grams of fibre.

*Always read the label, use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.

** Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 7 grams of soluble fibre from psyllium husk, as in Meta products, may lower cholesterol levels. Reductions in cholesterol levels may contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease. Consult a doctor if you are planning to take Meta products as part of a cholesterol lowering program.

^ Whorwell Clinical Trial, UK 2006. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jul;101(7):1581-90