Fab fibre

If a rabbit doesn't eat enough high-fibre foods, its teeth may grow uncontrollably, piercing the roof of its mouth and knifing the base of its brain.

Your brain is safe, but we're not so sure about the rest of your body. Forgo the fibre and you extend an open invitation to several different cancers. You also raise your risk of diabetes and heart disease by up to 20 and 40 percent respectively. And in the fate-worse-than-death category, you increase the odds that you'll end up fat and impotent. So while you may not die like a bunny rabbit, you won't be doing it like one, either.

Notice, we haven't even mentioned the c-word (constipation). Even if you have the will to eat more fibre, you almost certainly don't have the way. Especially since the recommended daily intake ranges from 19 to a throat-choking 38 grams. The obvious solution ndash; eating 19 slices of wholewheat bread a day – isn't practical. What you need instead is subterfuge. Dietary deception. In other words, this plan for smuggling more roughage into your life.

At breakfast

  • Fill your juice glass with fruit nectar instead of a watery juice from concentrate. Normally apricot, peach and pear juice contain a fibre-rich pulp. It packs more than a gram (g) of fibre per 250ml glass.
  • Drop a whole orange into the blender to flavour your morning smoothie. (Uh, peel it first.) One orange has nearly three more grams of fibre than even the pulpiest orange juice.
  • Spice up your eggs. A third of a cup of chopped onion and a clove of garlic will add a gram of fibre to a couple of scrambled eggs. Or fold the eggs omelette-style over half a cup of cooked broccoli for two additional grams.
  • Heat up a bowl of oat bran instead of oatmeal; it has nearly two more grams of fibre. And add even more flavour and fibre by stirring in a quarter cup of raisins or chopped dates before nuking it.
  • Sprinkle toasted wheatgerm over your favourite cold cereal, or stir a few spoonfuls into yoghurt. Two tablespoons equals close to two extra grams of fibre.
  • Grab an Asian pear instead of the regular kind. They taste similar, but the Asian variety has significantly more fibre – four grams per pear.
  • Whip up an instant hot chocolate instead of another cup of coffee. Most instant cocoa has up to three grams of fibre per cup.

    At lunch

  • Hate wholewheat? Make your sandwiches with rye bread. One slice has almost two grams of fibre – twice the amount found in white bread.
  • At the Mexican restaurant, opt for burritos instead of tacos. Flour tortillas have more fibre than taco shells. Even better, make the burrito wholewheat for still more fibre per serving. And order that burrito with meat and beans instead of meat alone. Half a cup of beans adds a hefty six grams of fibre to your meal.
  • Stow some microwavable soup in your desk for when you need to work through lunch. Lentil, chilli with beans, ham and bean and black-bean each have between six and 10 grams of fibre per cup.
  • Shower your pizza with oregano or basil. A teaspoon of either herb gives you an extra gram of fibre. Order it with mushrooms and you'll get one more.
  • Build your burger with a sesame-seed bun instead of the plain variety. Sesame seeds add half a gram of fibre per burger.
  • Having a hot dog? Order your dog with sauerkraut. Every quarter cup you pile on adds close to a gram of fibre to your frank.

    In the afternoon

  • Pop a pack of light popcorn instead of popping open a bag of potato chips. There's eight grams of fibre in every bag of popcorn.
  • Drink bottled chocolate milk, not plain milk. The combination of the chocolate and the compounds needed to keep it suspended in the milk provides three grams of fibre in every 500ml.
  • Graze on trail mix instead of a granola bar. Most granola bars have only one gram of fibre, while trail mix with dried fruit has nearly three.
  • Say nuts to chocolate bars. Bars with almonds have almost twice the fibre content of bars without.

    At dinner

  • Toss half a cup of chickpeas into a pot of your favourite soup. They'll take on the flavour of the soup and tack six grams of fibre onto your bottom line.
  • Sweet potatoes have two more grams of fibre per tuber than the regular variety. Not a fan? At least eat the skin of the regular potato – it alone has one gram of fibre.
  • Shake 'n bake some fibre into your chicken by coating it with a mixture of one teaspoon paprika, one teaspoon thyme, two tablespoons ground flaxseed and half a cup of flour. You'll get four grams of fibre, thanks to the flaxseed.
  • Go wild when you make rice. Cup for cup, wild rice has three times the fibre of white.
  • Doctor your favourite jarred pasta sauce with a cup of chopped spinach.
  • The spinach will adopt the flavour of the sauce and pad the fibre count by more than two grams.
  • Prepare wholewheat or spinach pasta instead of the regular semolina kind. A cup of either has five grams of fibre.
  • Cook your broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and you'll take in three to five grams of fibre per serving, up to twice what you'd have gotten had you eaten them raw. (Heat makes fibre more available.)
  • Use uncooked oatmeal instead of bread crumbs in your next meat loaf. Add a quarter cup of oats per 500g of mince meat and you'll boost the total fibre count to more than eight grams.

    At dessert

  • Top your ice cream with sliced fresh berries. Half a cup of raspberries provides four grams of fibre; strawberries and blueberries pack half that amount.
  • Introduce your cake hole to a slice of apple pie and you'll be up a couple of grams of fibre. Cake doesn't have nearly as much fibre – unless you eat the candles.

  • We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
    In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
    Subscribe to News24
    Editorial feedback and complaints

    Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.