Ft. Collins chef Linda Hoffman has some great suggestions about how to add fiber to your diet. Writing in her column in the Ft. Collins Coloradoan, Hoffman explains how to feel fuller and be healthier by modifying recipes to include more fiber. Hoffman also offers a delicious, fiber-rich recipe for roasted pear salad with walnuts and blue cheese.
There are two kinds of fiber, explains Hoffman – soluble and insoluble, and each performs different functions in the body. She writes that soluble fiber dissolves readily in water and attracts water to form a gel in stomachs that slows digestion and traps dietary cholesterol before it’s absorbed. It delays emptying the stomach, which may affect blood sugar levels, thereby helping control diabetes. Foods that contain soluble fiber include beans, peas, lentils, oats, nuts, berries, apples, oranges, pears, celery, and carrots.
Hoffman writes that insoluble fiber adds bulk to our diet and has a laxative effect. Many fiber-rich foods contain both kinds of fiber, but whole grains, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, grapes, and the skins of fruits and vegetables contain insoluble fiber.
Fiber increases satiety, or the feeling of fullness, which aids in weight control, according to Hoffman. She notes that the average American diet includes around 15 grams of fiber daily, when we need to consume at least 25 to around 40 grams per day. Hoffman suggests that we increase consumption by routinely adding beans to soups and stews, and nuts and seeds to salads. One cup of black beans adds 15 grams of fiber, while one pear with skin adds 5.5 grams. A medium artichoke adds almost 10 grams. Berries and avocados, added to smoothies, are also good sources of fiber, adds Hoffman.
Dietary supplements like Sunfiber are another excellent source of insoluble fiber, and available in many products.
Fort Collins chef Linda Hoffman teaches cooking classes emphasizing dinners that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Visit www.comebacktothetable.com.
Roasted Pear Salad with Walnuts and Blue Cheese
2-3 ripe pears with skin left on, sliced or cut into chunks
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Sprinkle of cinnamon
3-4 cups of dark leafy greens, like romaine
1-2 cups baby arugula
Crumbled blue cheese
Finely sliced red onion
1 cup toasted walnuts
Roast the pears in a 375-degree oven, tossed quickly with the brown sugar, salt, butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Roast until lightly browned and softened, about 20-30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Toss remaining ingredients together in a large bowl, then toss again with a tarragon vinaigrette.
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
Pinch of salt
1 small shallot, minced fine
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Whisk the mustard with the shallot and vinegar, and add a little salt, which dissolves more readily in vinegar than oil. When combined, slowly add the oil in a thin stream, whisking furiously, to create the emulsion. Taste and correct seasonings as needed. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients and toss gently. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and crumbled cheese, and serve at once.