Fibre Up* Your Family!

Fibre Up* Your Family!

Fibre is good for us and we know we should be eating more of it, but why exactly is fibre so important to your health? How do your fibre habits stack up compared to recommendations? Find out more about fibre and use the tools created by The Mission Nutrition* team to help you see how much fibre you eat today and look for our Fibre Up* tips to help your family reach their fibre intake goals.

What is fibre and where do we get it?

Fibre is the part of plant foods that is not broken down completely by your digestive system. Fibre is found in cereals, bread, grains, fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Fibre is not naturally found in milk, cheese or meats.

Why increase the fibre in your family's diet?
Eating fibre containing foods daily is important to help you and your family to better health. Having a diet high in fibre has been linked to many health benefits1:
  • Helps maintain digestive health, promote regularity and reduces constipation.
  • Supports overall well being and immunity.2
  • Can help children and adults maintain a healthy weight.
  • May reduce risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.
1 Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids. Institute of Medicine (U.S.). Panel on Macronutrients, Institute of Medicine (U.S.). Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes 2005.
2 Guarner, F. et al. (2003). Gut flora in health and disease. Lancet 361:512-519
The different types of fibre: Soluble & Insoluble

Soluble fibre – dissolves in water and forms a gel. This helps provide a feeling of fullness and also plays a role in lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Where can you find it? Examples of foods that contain soluble fibre include: psyllium, oat bran, barley, apples, oranges, beans and lentils.

Insoluble fibre – does not dissolve in water, rather it expands and provides roughage and bulk. This helps promote regularity and a feeling of fullness.
Where can you find it? Examples of foods that contain insoluble fibre include: wheat bran and bran cereals, corn bran, some whole wheat foods, vegetables and fruit.

Tip:Including both types of fibre each day is important for your health.

See how your fibre intake compares to recommendations Family Fibre Planner

Learn about Whole Grains and Fibre - Are They the Same Thing?

Try these tasty Fibre Up* Recipes.

Get more information about fibre from FIBRE-pedia.

Whole Grains and Fibre - Are They the Same Thing?

A whole grain contains all three parts of the grain kernel:

BRAN: The outer shell that provides fibre, B vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

ENDOSPERM: The middle part that primarily contains carbohydrates and protein.

GERM: The inner part that provides vitamin E, minerals, B vitamins, unsaturated fats and phytonutrients

Whole grains include foods such as brown rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), cornmeal, whole oats or oatmeal, whole rye, whole grain wheat, wild rice and quinoa.

Whole grains are ingredients, providing vitamins and mineral and sometimes fibre to foods. Because of this, you will find whole grains listed in the ingredient list, not the Nutrition Facts table. Fibre on the other hand is a nutrient itself and is found listed on the Nutrition Facts table on food labels.

Each whole grain provides different amounts of vitamins and minerals, including fibre (see chart below). Some fibre food sources, such as wheat bran, are not whole grains but still provide a high source of fibre. It's important to check the Nutrition Facts table for the grams of fibre per serving.

Cereals Serving Size Fibre (g)
Very high fibre bran cereal 125 ml (1/2 cup) 12
Bran cereal with raisins 250 ml (1 cup ) 6
Whole wheat biscuits cereal 20-27 biscuits 5-6
Oatmeal, cooked 175 ml (3/4 cup) 3
Breads and other grain products
Muffin, bran, oat bran 1 small 3
Bread or pita bread, whole wheat, pumpernickel, rye 1 slice 2
Oatmeal, cooked 175 ml (3/4 cup) 3
Grains
Wheat bran, raw 125 ml (1/2 cup) 14
Wheat germ, raw 125 ml (1/2 cup) 8
Wheat flour, raw 125 ml (1/2 cup) 7
Cornmeal, raw 125 ml (1/2 cup) 5
Bulgur, cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup) 3
Wild rice, cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup) 2
Brown rice, cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup) 2
Barley, cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup) 2
Quinoa, cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup) 1

Flip for Fibre Tip:Compare product labels and choose the product with the higher amount of fibre:
  • A "source of fibre" products must provide at least 2 grams of fibre per serving.
  • Products that are "high in fibre" contain 4 grams of fibre per serving or more.
  • A food product that is "very high in fibre" provides 6 grams of fibre per serving or more.

Use the nutrition information on Food Labels to help you make wise choices.

Get more information about fibre from FIBRE-pedia

Fibre - Are you getting enough?

Most Canadian adults and children consume only about half of the fibre recommended for them each day. To see how much you need check out the chart below.

Daily Fibre recommendations by age and gender*:

AGE (years)
Gender 1-3 4-8 9-13 14-18 19-50 50+
Male 19g 25g 31g 38g 38g 30g
Female 19g 25g 26g 26g 25g 21g
*Adequate intake levels from the Institute of Medicine (2005). Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients). National Academies Press.

Use the Family Fibre Planner to see how your fibre intake compares to the recommendations.

Five simple ways to help you and your family get more fibre into your day:
  1. Eat more vegetables and fruit – Have vegetables and fruit more often and choose whole fruit or vegetables over juice to get more fibre. Follow Canada's Food Guide recommendations for the number of servings of vegetables and fruit you need each day:
    1. – 5 to 6 servings - girls and boys aged 4 to 11
    2. – 7 servings or more - girls and women aged 14 and older
    3. – 8 servings or more - boys and men aged 14 and older
  2. Flip for Fibre! Compare product labels and choose the product with the higher amount of fibre.
    1. A "source of fibre" products must provide at least 2 grams of fibre per serving.
    2. Products that are "high in fibre" contain 4 grams of fibre per serving or more.
    3. A food product that is "very high in fibre" provides 6 grams of fibre per serving or more.
    4. The higher the % Daily Value for fibre the more you get. Use the nutrition information on Food Labels to help you make wise choices.
  3. Go for more whole grains – Look for foods that are made with whole grain and provide at least a source of fibre. Canada's Food Guide recommends that you make at least half of your grain products whole grain eat day. Whole grain foods include products made with whole grain whole wheat flour, whole oats, oatmeal, whole rye, whole corn, bulgur, barley, brown or wild rice, and quinoa. But remember, not all whole grains are high in fibre so you need to check product labels. Also, some foods not made with whole grains may provide fibre. For example, wheat bran is not a whole grain but is very high in fibre. Learn more whole grains and fibre - are they the same thing?
  4. Use meat alternatives such as legumes, nuts and seeds to increase your fibre intake. Legumes include canned beans (black, kidney, chickpeas) and lentils and soybeans and edamame (green soybeans in a pod). Add legumes, nuts and seeds to soups, salads, stews.
  5. Try adding some new foods to your family's usual meals or recipes. You might find a new family favourite! Use the list on the Family Fibre Planner as your guide.

Try these tasty Fibre-Up* Recipes.

Looking for Ways to increase your Fibre?

Use these tasty, high-fibre tips to guide you:

  • It's Raining Fibre! Sprinkle your favourite high fibre bran cereal on yogurt, fruit or even ice cream to add crunch.
  • Fibre Snack Medley: Create your own snack mix with a fibre punch. Combine equal parts high fibre bran cereal with other high fibre cereals. Mix in your favourite dried fruits and nuts.
  • Fibre Flour Switch: Substitute ½ cup of the flour in recipes with crushed very high fibre wheat bran cereal. Use in pancakes, muffins, banana bread, you name it!
  • Fruit Crumble Topping: Add very high fibre bran cereal with psyllium to your fruit crumble topping to add crunch and fibre.
  • Baked Fibre Apples: Make baked apples stuffed with chopped dates or raisins, honey and walnuts with a sprinkle of crunchy high fibre bran cereal on top.
  • Fibre Croutons: Replace the croutons on your salad with a crunchy very high fibre bran cereal.
  • High Fibre Casserole Topping: Substitute half the bread crumbs with crushed bran flakes and use as a topping on casseroles or vegetable dishes.
  • Fibre Shake: Make a tasty smoothie by mixing a high fibre cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, and a little milk or juice - blend away!
  • Fruity High Fibre Parfait: In a fancy drink or parfait glass, layer yogurt, fruit and honey, and high fibre bran cereal mixed with granola, repeat layers and finish with yogurt on top. Yummy!

Flip for Fibre Tip:Look in the Nutrition Facts table to ensure the foods you choose have at least 2 grams of fibre per serving.

Use the nutrition information on Food Labels to make wise choices.

Learn more about how to Fibre Up* Your Family!

Learn more about the difference between Whole Grains and Fibre

Try these tasty Fibre-Up* Recipes