Let’s talk fiber, shall we?
I don’t know about you but, for me, downing around 25 or 30 grams of fiber each day takes some effort. The big brains over at the Harvard School of Public Health decreed that you can reach your daily allowance by eating three servings of vegetables, three servings of fruit, two servings of whole grain foods and one serving of legumes — think lentils, kidney, black and lima beans.
Now, consider what that means in terms of what lands on your plate.
A single serving of fruit consists of one whole, medium-sized fruit or 1/2 cup. Remember. Three a day.
A serving of veggies is a cup of raw or 1/2 cup of cooked. Also three portions daily.
One serving of whole grains would be 1/2 cup cooked whole wheat pasta or old-fashioned oatmeal, or one slice of whole wheat bread. Twice a day.
And a serving of legumes is 1/2 cup of cooked beans or lentils. Happily, that’s just once a day.
Take a look:
OK, now I’m feeling a wee bit bloated.
While I’m on board with fiber and I know it’s good for me, I also like to break up my high-fiber meals with some protein and a bit of dairy here and there without popping the band on my buffet pants. (My friend, Mary B., jokes about putting on her buffet pants when we talk about going out for a serious meal. The thought always makes me smile.)
And I don’t mean to imply that I’m a delicate flower who couldn’t possibly eat all of that food in one day because there have been moments when I’ve seriously considered eating my weight in pasta.
While I love my fiber-rich foods, there are times when I need a little help. Especially when I travel because I’m certainly not eating oatmeal, a fruit basket and a vegetable patch each day when I’m on the road. And I don’t like chalky tablets, nor do I have the slightest interest in mixing a powder with water or other liquids and calling that fiber.
Several years ago, I had a mad love affair with gummies. Stay with me here. I promise to loop back to fiber. While grocery shopping, I’d buy a small bag of gummy bears or dinosaurs or worms — I didn’t care about the shape — and by the time I got home, that bag was nearly empty. I realized that I had to break up with the gummies because the sugar overload was really stupid. So, I went for years, literally, without any gummies. (Skittles were out, too.) And, after a while, as the scale got friendlier, I didn’t miss them.
But, now, you can’t push your buggy down the vitamin aisle of any grocery store without passing a slew of gummies. Vitamins and Omega3 and fiber. For adults. And they’re good for you.
A few months ago, I caved and bought a bottle of Fiber Advance gummies. When I polished those off (in the appropriate time, not on the way home), I tried vitafusion Fiber Well gummies. I find them both far superior to tablets or powder, and terrific to take on long or short trips. I did, however, love one brand far more than the other.
First look: Manufactured by Northwest Natural Products of Vancouver, Washington, these fiber supplements come as little squishy squares with swirled tops in three flavors: peach, strawberry and blackberry. The suggested serving is two gummies per day and each serving contains 5 grams of soluble fiber, 10 calories, 5 carb grams and 1 gram of sugar alcohol. Ingredients include polydextrose (where Fiber Well gets its fiber), xylitol, gelatin, natural flavors, malic acid, colors (black carrot juice extract, carrot and blueberry juices and annatto extract), sucralose, fractionated coconut oil and beeswax.
Good news: These sugar-free gummies contain no gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts or soy, making them user friendly for those with allergies. They’re soft and easy to chew and they boast pleasant fruit flavors. And if you buy them at Costco, the price is much lower than anywhere else, making them a deal.
Bad news: They remind me of tough fruit Jell-O, and I get a slight artificial sweetener aftertaste.
Last words: They’re good-for-you gummies, so I can’t complain much.
Fiber Advance Gummies, mixed berry, $9.83 for 90 gummies at Walmart stores.
First look: These gummies are made by Santa Cruz Nutritionals in Santa Cruz, California. Fiber Advance Gummies look just like Dots gumdrops. You can select from regular fruit flavors as well as the mixed berry flavors – strawberry, cran-raspberry and blueberry. Two gummies offer 4 grams of soluble fiber, 15 calories, 6 carb grams and 1 sugar gram. Ingredients are chicory root fiber (inulin), gelatin, citric acid, natural flavors, colors added (black carrot juice concentrate, purple berry extract), fractionated coconut oil, carnauba wax and lo han fruit concentrate.
Good news: Sure, they might look like Dots but they taste much better. Not only do they provide a fiber boost, but they taste like real candy. Fiber Advance Gummies have a slightly firm chewy texture and vibrant fruit flavors. I prefer inulin as a fiber source over polydextrose.
Bad news: Fiber Advance Gummies offer less fiber than Fiber Well but more calories. And they’re not as widely available.
Last words: How sweet it is to be supplementing my fiber needs with gummies.