Americans, now more than ever, recognize the need to change the way they eat. From reducing fat and sugar intake to cutting carbs, many are looking for extra steps they can take in the kitchen to improve their overall health.
In fact, a recent survey administered by Opinion Research highlights this trend, revealing that 86 percent of Americans believe there are dietary changes they could be making to improve their well-being. Despite this desire to take the necessary steps, 63 percent indicated they still struggle with ways to eat healthier.
When it comes to specific reasons behind the difficulty in changing cooking and eating habits, 70 percent of respondents believed eating healthier will prevent them from enjoying their favorite foods, followed by a belief that eating healthy takes too much time (59 percent) and a fear that choosing healthy foods will change the taste of what they eat (51 percent).
“Americans today are really open to advice and solutions on how they can improve their eating habits and live longer, healthier lives. While the majority of us desire improved health and wellness, we all know it’s tough to break everyday patterns that require giving up our favorite foods,” said Crystal Harrell, Ph.D., Procter & Gamble Health Sciences Institute.
Achieving healthy eating is easier than most realize, according to Harrell. Whether picking up food at the grocery store or through the drive-thru, Americans can take simple steps to make their food choices healthier-without sacrificing time, flavor and any other concerns they may have.
One easy way to add more health to your diet is to increase fiber intake. While research indicates fiber may help prevent a variety of health conditions, 95 percent of Americans today are not consuming their daily fiber requirements. The National Fiber Council recommends people receive 32 grams or more of fiber per day; however, according to Columbia University, typical consumption of fiber averages 10 grams to 15 grams daily. That’s less than half the recommended allowance.
Jackie Newgent, a registered dietitian and chef, offers the following tips on easy ways to add more fiber to your diet:
• Next time you order pizza, forgo sausage or pepperoni and create a “salad” pizza instead-choose vegetables like artichokes, onions and tomatoes. Try whole wheat crust, too.
• If you’re more in the mood for Chinese, choose steamed tofu and vegetables over fried meat dishes. Request brown rice in place of white, too.
• Always have some cans of beans on hand. Use them in your favorite soup, salad or pasta sauce for a quick fiber fix.
• Feel like having fruit juice? Drink water to quench your thirst, then enjoy a whole piece of fruit for extra fiber and chewing satisfaction.
• Incorporate a fiber supplement such as Fibersure into your meals. From the makers of Metamucil, it’s an all-natural, clear-mixing powder that’s flavor-free, nonthickening and quickly dissolves in water or most other liquids and won’t change the flavor or texture of your recipe. Whether you add it to your salad dressing, stir-fry or glass of water, each heaping teaspoon instantly adds five grams of fiber.