According to the Mayo Clinic, women should eat 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should eat 30 to 38 grams. Not all fiber is the same, though. Soluble and insoluble fiber both have health benefits. Insoluble fiber works like a broom that sweeps the intestinal contents along. Eating appropriate amounts of insoluble fiber can help with digestion and elimination. Find insoluble fiber in a variety of nutritious foods.
Whole Wheat Flour
According to Dr. Sears, author of the "Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood," insoluble fiber is found in the natural covering of whole grains. You won't find this insoluble fiber in white, processed flour, as the processing removes this valuable covering. If you're used to white, processed flour, then slowly add whole-wheat flour into your diet. When baking, start by adding just a bit of whole-wheat flour. For instance, you can add 1/4 cup of whole-wheat flour to 3/4 cup of white flour to equal 1 cup. Do the same for pasta. Start by mixing white and wheat pastas. After a while, up your intake of whole-wheat ingredients until you're no longer eating white flour. One slice of whole-wheat bread has 1.9 grams of fiber.
Find insoluble fiber in wheat bran. This byproduct of wheat processing can easily be added to muffins and cereals. When you're baking muffins, add about a 1/2 cup of bran in place of 1/2 cup flour. Also, try wheat bran on salads, cereals and soups. Wheat bran has 5.3 grams of fiber in a 3/4 cup serving.
Nuts and Seeds
The outer shells of nuts and seeds also contain insoluble fiber. Add nuts to snack mixes, or have a small handful as a snack. Put the seeds on salads or on top of soups. You may also grind up seeds and use them as a binding agent in foods, such as meatloaf. One-quarter cup of sunflower seeds contains 3.9 grams of fiber, and 1 oz. of nuts can contain anywhere from 2.7 to 3.5 grams of fiber, depending on the nut.
Leafy vegetables contain high amounts of insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is found in the stringy parts of leaves. Try adding broccoli to a large, leafy salad. Turnip greens and artichokes are other vegetables that contain high amounts of insoluble fiber. One medium artichoke contains 10.3 grams of fiber. Take the greens from these vegetables and make a green smoothie. Add the greens, fruit and a sweetener of your choice, such as honey or agave nector, to milk, juice or water. For added insoluble fiber, you can also add ground sunflower or flax seeds.
While the insides of fruits contain soluble fiber, you'll find insoluble fiber in the peel of fruits, such as apples and pears. When cutting fruits, keep the peel intact. If your child doesn't prefer the peel when he eats an apple, then hide the peel in a green smoothie drink. See the Vegetables section above for ideas on green smoothies.