If you’ve had bariatric weight loss surgery, you’ll know that it can be difficult to fit in all the healthy foods you need to eat every day due to your smaller stomach size. It’s essential to get good nutrition each day so eating a varied diet filled with nutritious foods is necessary. Getting enough dietary fibre each day can be a struggle for some but more difficult post-surgery due to smaller food intake. The recommendations for fibre intake is 25-30g per day.
According to the Dietitian Association of Australia: ‘Fibre or dietary fibre is the part of food that is not digested in the small intestine. Dietary fibre moves largely unchanged into the large intestine or colon where it is fermented by friendly bacteria that live there.’
Why is it so good?
Getting sufficient fibre each day had many health benefits. Other than keeping your digestive system healthy, eating sufficient fibre each day can help prevent constipation, diverticular disease, haemorrhoids, bowel cancer and keep help lower cholesterol and keep blood sugars down. More information on fibre on the Dietitian Association of Australia website here.
How to get sufficient fibre?
Fibre is found in fruits and vegetables especially in their skins, grains and cereals, very grainy bakery products e.g. very grainy breads, brown or wholemeal rice and pasta, quinoa, seeds like chia seeds and linseeds and legumes e.g. chickpeas.
While including all these foods can boost your fibre intake, how about if you just can’t seem to get enough of them post surgery? Here are 6 tips to boost your intake:
- Supplement with high fibre supplements like psyllium husks, oat bran, rice bran. Add these to your cereal, yoghurt, in place of flour in some bakery products, in smoothies etc.
- Add some high fibre seeds to your meals or snacks each day. Seeds like chia seeds, flaxseeds and linseeds are very high in fibre and can be added to cereal, salads, smoothies, yoghurt or simply over your vegetables for lunch or dinner. You can also make a chia pudding from chia seeds which makes a great breakfast or snack. Here are some recipes: Vanilla Chia Pudding and Mango & Coconut Chia Pudding
- Add some legumes to meals or eat as a snack. Legumes like chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, 4 bean mix are very high in fibre and also a great plant based source of protein and low glycemic index carbohydrates. They can be added to salad, made into a mash (recipe for Garlic & Lemon Black Bean Mash), added into soup, made into hummus, made into a vegetable patty etc
- Choose high fibre fruits e.g. pears, apples, banana, oranges. Try and include 2 fruits each day and eat them with skin for aded fibre
- Work on increasing low kilojoule vegetable intake. The recommendations is to have 5-6 serves of vegetables or salads each day, 1 serve being ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw. While you may not be able to achieve this quantity post surgery, you may be able to increase the amount of vegetable you do have.
- Choose higher fibre cereals, breads and grains. Just a few good choices here and you can do wonders for your fibre intake. Always choose very grainy breads, choose wholemeal pasta, choose breakfast cereals that are higher in fibre or add psyllium husks or seeds to it, choose brown rice or quinoa (high fibre grain) etc.