You may worry that you're not getting enough fiber in your gluten-free diet. After all, the grains that contain the gluten protein -- wheat, barley and rye -- do provide a fair share of fiber. But there are a number of healthy gluten-free, high-fiber options to help you meet your needs so that you can still enjoy fiber's many health benefits.
Fiber Needs and Tips
Getting more fiber in your diet has several benefits, from aiding in weight control to alleviating constipation to lowering cholesterol for heart health. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men need 30 to 38 grams of fiber daily.
Most people have a hard time meeting their fiber needs due to issues such as an increase in abdominal pain and flatulence, according to a 2008 article published in "Today's Dietitian." To reduce the uncomfortable effects of adding more fiber to your diet, go slowly, increasing your fiber intake in small increments until you reach the recommended amounts, and drink more water to avoid constipation.
High-Fiber, Gluten-Free Grains
While wheat, barley and rye are sources of fiber in many Americans' diets, a number of gluten-free grains may be better fiber sources. Amaranth, for example, contains 6 grams of fiber in a 1/4-cup uncooked serving. Quinoa, oats and teff are also high-fiber, gluten-free gains, as are brown rice and wild rice. Millet is not as high in fiber as other grains, but it can help up your intake with 2 grams of fiber in a 1-cup cooked serving.
Fruits, Veggies and Beans Too
Fiber is found in more than just grains. You can also increase the fiber in your diet with naturally gluten-free fruits, vegetables and beans. To get more fiber in your diet, include these high-fiber options: lima beans, black beans, lentils, blackberries, raspberries, pears, oranges, split peas, greens such as spinach and mustard greens, acorn squash, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.
Meet your fiber needs by including a fruit or vegetable with each meal and replacing some of your animal sources of protein with beans or peas.
High-Fiber, Gluten-Free Packaged Goods
You may also be able to get more fiber in your diet without the gluten using gluten-free packaged goods such as breads and cereals. Use the food label to help you find good sources. A food considered a good source of fiber contains 2.5 grams per serving, while a food considered an excellent source contains 5 grams per serving.
When looking for a good bread option, choose brands that have at least 3 grams of fiber per slice, recommends Helpguide.org.
When you're shopping for packaged foods, stick to ones labeled "gluten-free." Some packaged foods might not contain obvious wheat but use gluten as an additive.
Sample High-Fiber, Gluten-Free Meals
A healthy, gluten-free, high-fiber breakfast might include scrambled eggs with two slices of high-fiber, gluten-free toast and a bowl of fresh blueberries. For lunch, enjoy a kale salad topped with chickpeas, shredded carrots and walnuts with a fresh pear. At dinner, consider grilled tuna with a baked sweet potato and a mix of roasted broccoli and cauliflower. Snack on fresh fruit, vegetables or whole-grain, gluten-free dry cereal.