Low Carb Day Tip - Eat More Fiber!
One of the things I hear so often from friends when they hear me mention a low carb day is that there is NO WAY they could do a low carb diet. You’re preaching to the choir friend, because there is NO WAY I could do a low carb diet either!
I do, however, carb cycle. I’ll explain carb cycling another day. Right now all you need to know is two days a week, my goal is to eat less than 50 grams of net carbs per day (net carbs are equal to your total carbohydrate intake minus the total grams of fiber consumed).
So what does that have to do with fiber? Let’s think about it – what is fiber?
Fiber is a carbohydrate, it is the part of a plant that our bodies are not able to digest. Instead of being absorbed by our digestive system, fiber passes right through our bodies. Since your body can’t break it down, fiber doesn’t count towards your daily carb total.
So what does that mean for low carb day?
That means the more fiber you include in the diet, the more carbs you get to eat on low carb day! That’s not the only benefit of a fiber rich diet, though. Fiber also helps prevent constipation, helps regulate your appetite, and contributes to satiety (feeling full). Fiber is great for your digestive system, helps maintain healthy LDL cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and can aid in the prevention of hypertension. Finding foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber may seem tough, however, if you focus on getting some low sugar fruits and non-starchy vegetables in on low carb days, you’ll be on the right track
There can DEFINITELY too much of a good thing, though. Do you remember when those oh-so-tasty Fiber One bars came out a few years ago? They were delicious, but if you enjoyed one too many you’d be dealing with some not so fun gas, bloating, and cramping. Just like everything else with the FASTer Way, it’s all about balance.
That being said, many of my clients are not getting enough fiber in their diets. It’s extra helpful on low carb days (more carbs!) but it’s an important thing to think about on regular and low macro days as well.
Why do we need Fiber in our diets?
Number one for most of us – it will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is the first step in preventing and treating so many health issues. So how does fiber help with weight loss and maintenance? It is incredibly filling. Fiber is like a sponge, it absorbs water and takes up space your belly, meaning you feel full!
Fiber also helps keep your blood sugar level stable, which can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Y’all know that diabetes prevention is a passion of mine. If eating a few extra veggies can lower my risk of developing Diabetes, I am all for it. BRING ON THE VEGGIES!
Ok that sounds great, but what do I eat?
Did you miss the “BRING ON THE VEGGIES” part?? No, well okay.. so you’re not a fan of veggies. I get it, neither are my kiddos. I wasn’t for a long time. I encourage you to try incorporating them into your diet more though. You may be surprised that they’re really not that bad. I even eat Brussels sprouts now! One day my kids will too, I hope.. Until then, here are some of our favorite fiber-rich foods.
Serving Size: 100g
Macros: 9g Protein, .3g Fat, 20g Carbohydrate
I hesitated to list this one first because they are not low carb, BUT in the FASTer Way, we focus on net carbs on our low carb days (remember, carbs – fiber). Lentils come in at 12 net carbs for a pretty big serving, 100 grams. They also have a whopping nine grams of protein. That’s a fabulous low carb day nutrition profile, especially for those of you who eat plant based diets like me. You can buy them pre-cooked for a quick and easy meal.
Serving Size: 120g
Macros: 9g Protein, .4g Fat, 13g Carbohydrate
I get it y’all, artichokes can be intimidating, but they have more fiber than any other vegetable! When they are prepared properly, they’re also delicious. I’m a big fan of artichoke hearts – you can buy them in a can or prepare them yourselves. I sauté them in a bit of olive oil, onion, and garlic and put them in my salads. I also like to roast them in the oven, then top them with lemon juice and parmesan cheese.
Serving Size: 160g
Macros: 8.6g Protein, .3g Fat, 25 Carbohydrate
Green Peas are one of my most favorite foods. As a vegetarian, I struggle to get enough whole food based protein on low carb days sometimes and green peas are definitely one of my go-to protein sources. They’re also LOADED with fiber. Just one cup has 16.2 net carbohydrates and 9 grams of protein!
Serving Size: 100g
Macros: 2.8g Protein, .4g Fat, 6.6 Carbohydrate
I really love broccoli. It’s incredibly filling and if you prepare it properly, it’s delicious too. I like to roast mine in the oven with a bit of olive oil, Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning, and some nutritional yeast. The key to really tasty broccoli for me is to roast it until it starts to turn brown and crispy!
Serving Size: 123g
Macros: 1g Protein, .7g Fat, 12 Carbohydrate
When I want something sweet on a low carb day, I always reach for raspberries. They are LOADED with fiber thanks to those little seeds! A one cup serving has a whopping seven grams of fiber and only five net carbs!
Serving Size: 68g (half an avocado)
Macros: 2g Protein, 14.5g Fat, 8.5 Carbohydrate
Avocados are FULL of fiber and healthy fats, both of which promote satiety (feeling full). My favorite way to enjoy avocado is chopped up in tacos, on top of salads, or mixed up as spicy guacamole!
Which High-Fiber Foods Are You Going to Try?
A big favorite in my house is a big (and I mean HUGE, as in we eat it out of a serving bowl) salad with loaded with a base of leafy greens (spinach, kale, and arugula). Top it off with some flax seeds (be sure to grind them first!), chia seeds, or hemp hearts for an extra boost of fiber and a nice crunch!
Our goal is to get in at least 25g of fiber per day and wash it down with plenty of water! If you’re not close to 25g per day yet, be sure ease into it to help prevent any gastrointestinal discomfort. Let me know your favorites and be sure to share any high fiber, low carb recipes that you love with me!