By Sara Shipley, RD-to be, Nutrition Student at the University of Central Oklahoma
Yes, it’s that time again and the thought has probably crossed your mind as 2011 comes to a close. The annual New Year’s resolution. And, according to many popular media sources, losing weight tops many people’s resolution list. Yet our nation is in a major health crisis. Something isn’t adding up and though many people realize they should take charge of their health, they are not taking the right approach to fix the problem. If the majority of people continue to ditch their goals by February, we will continue to see the rate of obesity, diabetes and heart disease rise.
If losing weight is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, or even if it isn’t, I am going to tell you about one big dietary change that will yield big results: boosting your fiber intake.
Fiber is the indigestible part of a carbohydrate. We need fiber in our diet because our bodies do not absorb it. Rather, it acts as a vehicle to remove waste products from f our system. Here are three reasons to eat more fiber:
Feel full longer: Fiber provides “bulk” to your diet which helps control hunger, as it takes time to move through your digestive tract leaving you full throughout the day. Eating a high fiber breakfast every morning will start your day off right. Try oatmeal with berries and low-fat milk or whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a banana.
Digestion: Fiber will regulate your bowel movements and this helps keep everything moving out of your system, including some residual toxins.
Lowers LDL cholesterol levels and risk for heart disease: Increasing fiber may contribute to lowering LDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure and inflammation in the body. Controlling these health markers will help protect your heart.
Try this easy, high fiber hors d’oeuvre for your New Years Eve party. I have already made it for several holiday parties and it was devoured.
Bacon Wrapped Dates: Dates are dried fruit with a sweet flavor and chewy texture that will balance the salty bite of bacon. (Try turkey bacon if you want to cutback the fat, but it may not crisp as well.)
Yield: 30 pieces
- 15 slices thick bacon
- 30 pitted dates (Dole brand was perfect bite-size and a bag usually has approx. 30)
Pre-heat the oven to 425 F. Slice each bacon piece in half, short ways. Roll a piece of bacon around each date and pierce with a wooden toothpick. Place wrapped dates on a sprayed baking sheet (set ½ inch apart). Cook for 13-16 minutes, turning once to ensure the bacon crisps on all sides.
Place on a rack to slightly cool and serve warm.
Peas are also a high fiber food and Black Eye Pea dips and dishes are a big New Years Tradition here in Oklahoma. Get your fill of fiber with peas as you ring in the New Year!