Jumping into the topic of fiber, we must first recognize that moral fiber is the most important fiber that we have in our lives. Moral fiber(the strength and ability to do what you think is right, even in a difficult situation)is exactly as important to your social, emotional, and mental health as your parents probably told you! However, in this article we’ll deep dive into the second most important fiber in your life – nutritional fiber, and why you need to make sure it’s a consideration in your meal prepping plan.

You may not think fiber is worth thinking about, but most people do not nearly as much fiber as they should for optimal health. Women should be getting approximately 24grams of fiber, while men should be getting approximately38 grams. Without a great meal plan, however, many people fall far short. Just like we need fat and protein, fiber is a vital part of overall wellness.

Fiber is a carbohydrate, so on the nutrition facts you’ll see it listed under carbs. But don’t let that bother you. Carbs sometimes get bad-mouthed in the nutrition/diet world, but dietary fiber carbs are absolutely great! That’s you find the most fiber in fresh and healthy whole foods. Unlike carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugar molecules in the body, fiber passes through the body relatively undigested. Therefore, fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars and movement of materials, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check, as well as a bunch of other benefits.

Some benefits of making sure you’re getting enough fiber include:

●Lower blood sugar and therefore lower risk of type2 diabetes in the long term.

●Fiber reduces hunger so it helps promote weight loss.

●A lower risk of heart disease.

●Fiber has been shown to relieve and/or prevent constipation.●A diet full of high fiber foods has been linked to a reduction in cancer risk.

It’s easier to add more fiber-rich foods to your diet than you may think. The foods with the most fiber are generally ones that need very little prep. Common sources are whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Specifically, some of the most meal-prep-friendly, fiber-rich foods include broccoli, pears, apples, raspberries, carrots, spinach, chickpeas, oats, popcorn, almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, and even dark chocolate. As you can see, those foods all take little to no cooking, so when you are meal prepping all you’ll need is a few containers for portioning!

If you need more inspiration, some specific tips forincreasing fiber intake in your mealprep routine include:

●Meal prep as many vegetables for snacks and side dishes as you can. The bestsources of fiber are raw vegetables, so prepping snacks like raw carrots is simpleand quick!

●Prep and pack whole fruits (and the skins) insteadof drinking fruit juices.

●Replace the white rice, bread, and pasta in your recipes with brown rice and whole-grain products.

●Pick cereals that have whole grain as their first ingredient. Better yet, prepare your own granola or oatmeal. These are both simple and healthy breakfast foods to add to your meal prep routine anyway.

●Substitute beans or legumes for meat when possible in your dishes. For example, try cooking some bean burgers for dinner instead of beef.

Consider tracking your meals for a week and calculate your fiber intake at the end, just to make sure you are getting enough. Fiber is your body’s friend, don’t forget it!