Yesterday (and a lot of days) I found myself at Target for a quick run to get a few necessities. You know, bananas, tampons, colored pencils, a potted plant, new throw pillows, and approximately 67 things from the Dollar Spot.
I’m telling you, that place will suck you in! But I digress…
I had planned to run to Target mid-morning but got caught up in a project for work. By the time I arrived, it was long past time for me to eat some lunch – and I was HANGRY.
Normally, I have an emergency protein bar or something in my purse for just such an occasion but I dipped into my stash and didn’t replenish it last week. So I made a quick trip down the protein bar aisle to see if I could find something to tide me over.
I was really excited to find that Target now carries Quest Nutrition Protein Bars because I’ve been working hard to increase my fiber intake.
Why? Well, the answer is really pretty simple, especially if you’re carrying 3-year-old baby weight that you’ve been working hard to lose.
Fiber Helps You Lose Weight
Fiber is one of those things that most people forget about, and therefore don’t focus on when they’re trying to get healthy. But fiber is super important for a healthy digestive system and sustainable weight loss.
While the calories in fiber count, there’s a debate about whether they should. See, fiber is not broken down in your digestive system. This means that the calories you consume from fiber are not absorbed.
Additionally, fiber has some other awesome benefits:
- Eating a high fiber diet helps with feelings of fullness.
- Fiber has fewer calories per volume of food than other foods.
Most Americans only eat 10 to 12 grams of fiber each day, but the recommended amount is actually 20 grams of fiber (or more!)
What is Fiber?
There are actually two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
- Soluble fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. This slows digestion. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables. It is also found in psyllium, a common fiber supplement. Some types of soluble fiber may help lower risk of heart disease.
- Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. It adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines. source
Eating More Fiber
The fiber flush effect is a
If you’re trying to lose weight, eating more fiber is key. It not only fills you up, but it helps to keep things moving by flushing out waste and toxins (which leads to lower numbers on the scale). As I’ve become more conscious of my fiber intake, I have found that there are a few simple things that I can do to make sure I get at least 20 grams of fiber each and every day.
I love adding flaxseeds or flaxseed meal to my smoothies and even baked goods (it’s a super easy thing to toss a few tablespoons into my gluten free pancake mix on Saturday morning).
Just two tablespoons of flaxseeds contain 3.8 grams of fiber.
I have been on a chia seed kick lately, and now I know why! Chia seeds contain 5.5 grams of fiber per tablespoon. This makes me feel better about the overnight oats that I ate this morning!
You can also use chia seeds to make chia pudding (think tapioca), use them as an egg replacer, or to thicken your smoothies.
When the boys were small I went on a vegetable puree kick. I made pumpkin pancakes, zuchini cakes, carrot cakes and muffins…and while my focus was actually to increase their veggie intake, I was helping them get more fiber in their diet.
You can also add pureed vegetables to just about any recipe from a sauce to a casserole to pizza dough.
Earlier I mentioned Quest Nutrition bars, and for good reason. Quest bars have been some of my favorites for a while now. They come in so many great flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cinnamon Roll, and Smores.
Quest Bars (Now available at Target!) were created from a simple idea: food should taste as good as it is good for you with zero compromises. People eat for enjoyment rather than sustenance. That’s why Quest is driven to make foods that don’t compromise on taste or nutrition.
Plus, they’re high in fiber at 14 grams per bar and low in sugar. Additionally, Quest Bars have 20-21 grams of protein per bar. About a year ago, Quest switched from using IMO (isomaltooligosaccharides) as the fiber in their protein bars to SCF (soluble corn fiber). This switch not only helped to reduce blood sugar spikes and crashes, but it also made their bars stand up to heat better than before.
Do you know what I’m talking about? There are some bars out there that you can tell with every chalky bite are absolutely a “nutrition” bar – not something you actually enjoy eating.
Quest Bars are seriously delicious. You feel like you’re eating dessert but without all the guilt.
So. Back to my Target run. When you’re running around chauffeuring the kids, getting groceries, making meetings, and generally acting like a chicken without their head…how many times have you realized that you totally forgot to eat a meal?
It happens to me literally all the time (hence opening a box of bars in the middle of Target like a wild animal). So I made a small change. I created a mom “emergency” kit.
I’ve found that if I can keep an “emergency” kit with me, these occasions tend to happen far less regularly.
Think about the things that you usually need, but don’t necessarily have.
Make Your Own Kit
For me, the list looks like this:
- Sunscreen (Texas.)
- Band-Aids (Boys.)
- Cough Drops
- Food (Mom brain.)
Because I’m working to increase my fiber intake (see above), it makes sense to keep healthy, fiber-filled protein bars on hand that will not only help keep me from eating something I’ll later regret, but I get over half of my daily fiber easily.
Now, you don’t have to have a special bag to put everything in, you can use the pockets on your purse or even your glove compartment (if you don’t live where it’s sweltering).
Having healthy, fiber-filled snacks consistently available will help increase your fiber intake without causing you to have to think too hard about your food choices when you’re way beyond hangry.
And that’s it! I bet that if you work at it, you can bump up your fiber intake easily and see the benefits on the scale.
How do you make sure you get enough fiber?