May 5, 2021
Handy High-Fiber Recipes Every Older Adult Should Try
Access to a healthy diet is a big topic and absolutely imperative to independent aging. But we wanted to take a moment to focus in on happy bowels, because let’s face it, regularity can make or break your day at every stage in life. The secret ingredient for happy bowels? Fiber. For those over 50 years old, the USDA recommends 21 grams per day for women and 30 grams per day for men.
Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that does not break down during digestion. Found in most fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, it decreases the feeling of hunger, supporting a healthy appetite and weight, and it decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Did we mention fiber keeps bowel movements regular?
We asked Samantha Monks, program assistant for Pittsburgh-based JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, to weigh in with tips and ideas for meeting the USDA recommendations for fiber intake.
According to Monks, instead of overhauling your grocery list, minor changes can have a major impact on gut health, for example:
● When available, choose whole grain products, like whole wheat, corn, and oats, instead of white or enriched products
● Choose cereals and ready-to-eat breakfast grains that have whole grain as the first ingredient, and read the fine print! Double-check the label for at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.
● Choose brown rice over white rice
● Eat fruits and vegetables with the skin
● Add fruit to your cereal in the morning
● Snack on popcorn instead of potato chips
● Choose romaine lettuce and/or spinach instead of iceberg lettuce
“Gradually increase fiber in your diet, because adding too much too quickly can cause uncomfortable bloating and gas,” said Monks. “Also, be sure to drink plenty of fluids when increasing your fiber intake.”
If you need some inspiration, Monks selected some delicious recipes that are super high in fiber and easy to make.
The High-Fiber Breakfast Recipe Every Older Adult Should Try: Apple Cinnamon Oats
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Fiber Per Serving: 7g
● 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
● 1/2 medium Gala or Honeycrisp apple, chopped
● 1 tablespoon raisins
● 1 cup 2% milk
● 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
● Dash salt
● Toasted chopped nuts, optional
1. In a small container or Mason jar, combine all ingredients.
2. Seal; refrigerate overnight.
● When ready to eat, oats can be served cold or slightly warm.
● For even more fiber per serving, include a handful of raspberries.
● For a dairy-free version, use nut milk instead.
The High-Fiber Supper Every Older Adult Should Try: Mediterranean Lentils
Recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Yield: 6 cups
Insoluble Fiber Per Serving: 11g
● 12 ounces (~1.5 cups) marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
● 1 cup lentils (dry)
● 1 cup fresh parsley
● 1 1/2 cups English cucumber, thinly sliced and halved
● 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
● ground black pepper
● 1/2 cup (2 ounces) feta cheese crumbles
1. Cook lentils according to instructions.
2. Strain artichoke hearts over a small bowl, reserving liquid.
3. In a large bowl stir together lentils and parsley. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved artichoke liquid.
4. Stir in artichoke hearts, cucumber, and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Spoon into serving bowls, and top with feta cheese.
Hungry for more? Here are some bonus recipes that come highly recommended by Monk:
● Lentil Salad
● One-Pan Mexican Quinoa
● Favorite Quinoa Salad
● Lentil Stuffed Peppers
If you or your organization is interested in learning more, helpful materials can be found at:
● This printable hand-out from Utah State University
● This five-minute video from Penn State Extension about fiber nutrition facts.
● The USDA’s compilation of nutrition assistance programs and resources specific to older individuals.
Nutrition is scientifically proven to impact independence among older adults. Service providers across the U.S. have adopted PFMIpro to track these and other risk factors, empowering professional caregivers to deliver appropriate support and data-driven updates to care teams and loved ones. With real time reporting capabilities, agency administrators can also track and report critical performance metrics to funding sources. Connect with the experts and request a demo at www.pfmipro.com.
About the JFCS Food Pantry
The JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry offers nutritious, fresh food on a scheduled basis for those who meet income requirements in the 15217 zip code, as well as providing kosher food for those who keep kosher homes outside of 15217. Additional supportive services, such as counseling and employment assistance, are available to help regain and maintain self-sufficiency. Learn more at https://www.jfcspgh.org/services/squirrel-hill-food-pantry/.