Last week I had my annual health physical. The good news: I’m six feet above ground. The bad news: I might not be if I don’t get my cholesterol under control. I can’t rely on medication alone. So, needless to say, it will take some initiative on my part that includes both exercise and additional fiber in my diet. These will be my front-line weapons in bringing down the enemy (that being high cholesterol).
Most of us have seen a pre-printed handout listing high fiber foods. It typically includes grains, fresh fruit, vegetables and bran cereals. But there are many other foods and snacks never suggested. If you’re like me, you sometimes need a break from traditional high fiber foods. I’d like to share three snack foods you probably won’t find on a high-fiber diet handout.
Roasted Chickpeas (pictured above)
The sole ingredient is chickpeas which are low in calories, high in fiber and zero cholesterol. Not to mention they are downright filling. I find it hard to finish an one ounce serving, which is roughly a scooping handful. Oh, and let’s not forget the iron and calcium you find in these little guys. Toss some in your salads instead of croutons, or add to roasted red pepper soup for a little crunch.
I will get a recipe posted soon for soup along with a Mediterranean arugula and roasted chickpea salad (Yum!) that pairs wonderfully. BTW, a one ounce serving of roasted chickpeas is just 102 calories with 18 fat calories.
You can roast your own or purchase pre-roasted. I like the pre-roasted because they are always on hand. Nuts.com sells a one pound bag for around $4 bucks.
Here’s an awesome roasted chickpea nacho recipe from Becca over at Amuse Your Bouche blogspot. Shes uses cilantro which I am not fond of so I substitute with chopped spinach leaves. You can also use parsley or basil.
Veggie Chips or Veggie Sticks
Who would have thunk dried veggies could taste this good! But they do. In my opinion, they claim the upper-hand over potato chips because they are made with hydrogenated canola oil rather than shortening or lard.
Calories are slightly lower than baked potato chips and usually contain less salt. Veggie chips or veggie sticks, particularly carrot (10% RDA of Vitamin A), are a healthy snack food choice when eaten in moderation. I purchase mine from Nuts.com and the fiber per serving averages between 8-12%. That’s not bad for a snack food. Plus, zero cholesterol.
Nuts.com has one of the best selections of veggie chips/sticks and at reasonable prices. And no, I don’t work for them
Sun Dried Tomatoes
It’s best to stay away from oil soaked sun dried tomatoes, especially if you’re calorie counting. Minus the oil, you save 40 calories per serving and 45 fat calories.
Once again, Nuts.com gets my vote. A yummy one pound of sun dried tomatoes (no oil) is around $5 bucks. A serving size is 0.5 ounces which is 3 nice size pieces. The tomatoes are flavorful, wonderfully chewy (think beef jerky) and a mere 30 calories per serving with zero fat and 10% of RDA Dietary Fiber. Each serving contains 32% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C and 6% iron. That’s one heck of a healthy snack.
So, when you’re looking for high-fiber options, here are three easy snacks to consider. Of course none of these snacks should replace raw vegetables, but they are a nice alternative when you need a change from carrot sticks, broccoli/cauliflower florets, or celery.