Everyone, it’s time again we talk about the F-word. And by that I mean fiber of course. As one of the nutrient darlings, fiber has quite the impressive resume. It makes you feel satiated, revs up your metabolism, and keeps you full between meals. But since it can be hard to squeeze in your recommended 21 to 38 grams each day (that’s a lot!), functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman, MD, has a trick for never falling short again.
Since plants are humankind’s one and only source of fiber, Dr. Hyman points out that they deserve to take up the most room on your plate. “Non-starchy vegetables like spinach, asparagus, broccoli, and kale should make up 50 to 75 percent of your plate with a small portion of animal protein as ‘condi-meat,'” writes the doctor on Instagram. “Think of this as the 3-to-1 rule.” In other words, your plate should be three parts fiber and one part protein. Easy enough, right?
How to eat more fiber using the “3-to-1 rule” at breakfast, lunch, and dinner
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And the average person doesn’t even come close to getting enough. Plants are living pharmacies that dispense natural substances with medicinal powers and chalk full of phytonutrients (phyto meaning plants); a group of chemicals essential to vibrant health that protect us from a long list of chronic ailments. They’re a huge reason why eating our veggies is important. Veggies are also our only source of fiber, which is fertilizer for the good bacteria that make up the internal garden in your gut. Fiber keeps digested food moving smoothly through your system. It prevents cancer and heart disease. It helps you lose weight. You should aim to eat them at every meal. Non-starchy vegetables like spinach, asparagus, broccoli, and kale should make up 50 to 75 percent of your plate with a small portion of animal protein as “condi-meat.” Think of this as the 3-to-1 rule.
A 3-to-1 breakfast might look a breakfast sandwich beloved by Kelly Jones, RD, CSSD, LDN. “Pick a [whole grain] English muffin with 5 grams of fiber per serving and pair with protein-rich hard boiled eggs,” she previously told Well+Good. Add some blueberries on the side, and you’re up to 9 grams of fiber just at breakfast time.
When your midday meal rolls around, you could try Dr. Hyman’s “fat salad,” which involves a heft serving of kale or spinach (fiber!), as well as avocado, a sprinkle of nuts, a can of wild salmon, a few olives, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Dinner is the time of day to get creative with your fiber intake. For example, you can try a garden flatbread topped with veggies like artichokes (a medium-size of which one contains 7 grams of fiber) for yummy finger food that also does work for your digestion.
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