How to Find the Fiber

This past month we’ve been talking all about fiber! Christine and Justine shared about the health benefits of fiber and how we can include high fiber foods in our meals and snacks. Today I’m going to share with you how to find high fiber foods using the food label.

The Nutrition Facts Label is found on food and beverage packages and is a helpful tool for increasing the amount of dietary fiber you eat. It shows the amount in grams (g) and the Percent Daily Value (%DV) of dietary fiber in one serving of the food. You can see on this label for brown rice that there are 2g of dietary fiber in ½ cup (or 2/3 cup after it is cooked). That is 8% DV. A good tip to remember is that:

  • 5% DV or less of dietary fiber per serving is low
  • 20% DV or more of dietary fiber per serving is high

When comparing foods, choose foods with a higher %DV of dietary fiber.

Another place to look is the ingredient list. Look for whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, rolled oats, whole grain corn, quinoa, barley, or bulgur. The ingredients on a Nutrition Facts Label are listed by weight, so the ingredients that make up more of the product are listed first. Look for products that have whole grain ingredients at the top of the list.

To get more fiber:

Choose: Instead of:
Whole-wheat bread White bread
Whole-wheat pasta Regular pasta
Brown rice White rice
Oatmeal Sugary cereal
Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Approach your football tailgate with a game plan!

Football season is back! With football comes tailgating and lots of yummy foods. Between the sour cream dip with chips and brats on the grill, I find it quite difficult to plan healthy menu options when rooting on my team. It always seems more convenient to run to the store shortly before you leave for the game to grab some treats for the tailgating party. With a little planning and prep work, you can make some quick, easy, and healthy recipes the night before to bring with you.

Here are two nutrition labels comparing our Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Mango Salsa recipe and a store bought Peach Mango Salsa.


When comparing the two recipes you notice that the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipe offers roughly 50% less sodium per serving than the store bought brand. Although 160 mg per serving is low, that is only for 2 tablespoons of salsa. I know when I am attending a football tailgate I’m not always conscious about the amount of food or even sauces I am consuming so would likely consume more than 2 tablespoons. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Most people consume 3,000 or more milligrams per day. Preparing food at home is one way to keep your sodium intake down. Making the homemade salsa with fresh mangos will also give you 25% of your needed vitamin C intake. The store bought salsa only provides you 4% of your daily Vitamin C needs.

So, this fall when you are planning for your weekend football tailgate party, create a game plan to make some dishes from scratch. This will provide a more healthy option for the rest of your party and a cheaper option for you as you cheer your team on to victory!

Written by Cassie Pappas, ISU Dietetic Intern

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Three Tips for Easy Back to School Meals

Asian Family Sitting At Table Eating Meal TogetherWith the school year started, families are settling into a new routine. If your family is like many, coordinating school, work, and activities can make it difficult to find time to prepare meals. Here are three tips to help you make mealtime a breeze!

  1. Have a plan.
    Creating a budget and menu for your weekly meals can save time, money, and stress in the long run! Utilize grocery store ads, foods that are in season, and a specific grocery list to get the best bang for your buck while shopping. To save time and eliminate stress, plan out when to cook around other activities. This will also keep you from resorting to eating out (which can be expensive and less nutritious) because you will have food ready when you need it! Spend Smart. Eat Smart. has meal planning tools to help you get started!
  1. Meal Prep.
    Prepare food ahead of time so that meal time is stress free! Cleaning and cutting fresh veggies for the week is an easy way to make sure healthy snacks are always on hand. You can even pre-portion them into containers or bags so they are ready to take on the go! Another way to make sure healthy food is on hand is to batch cook. Cook enough of a main or side dish to last for several meals. Freeze them or store them in the refrigerator for up to four days. Here are some recipes that freeze well. Give them a try and see how easy mealtime can be!
  1. Create “Planned-Overs”.
    Preparing a family dinner can be very satisfying! It can also make following meals a breeze! Casseroles and slow cooker dishes are easy to make for dinner and store for meals throughout the week. If you are making a dish with a whole cut of meat, poultry, or fish for dinner, cook extra to use in salads or sandwiches for lunches. Side dishes like cooked vegetables or grains can also be saved and used for later meals. See (link to my meal plan) for a few examples of how to plan leftovers into a menu.

What has worked for you? How do you plan meals, meal prep, or utilize leftovers at home? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Emily Wisecup, ISU Dietetic Intern

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Shopping at the Meat Counter (Part 2)

Shopping at the supermarketLast week, I shared what I do at home to prepare for a visit to the meat counter at the grocery store.  This week, I have a few other ideas to share that will (hopefully) make your future trips to the meat counter a little easier.

  1. First, and most important, is to talk with the staff at the meat counter. They are very knowledgeable and can help you make the best decisions to fit your needs.  Some grocery stores sell only pre-packaged meat, while others have a combination of a meat counter and pre-packaged meat.  In some cases, the pre-packaged meat may be more affordable.  If you are looking for help, but do not have a full service meat counter, click here for an interactive butcher counter that can help you make selections.
  1. Second is to choose your cooking method. Cooking methods fall into two categories, dry heat and moist heat.
    • Dry heat cooking is to grill, broil, or pan-fry meat. This method uses high heat, little or no liquid, and is quicker.  Dry heat cooking is best for tender cuts of meat.
    • Moist heat cooking is to pot roast, braise, or stew meat. This method uses low heat, liquid is added, and it takes a longer amount of time.  Moist heat cooking is best for less tender cuts of meat.
    • Here and here are some great tips for cooking meat many different ways.
  1. Third is to choose your cut of meat. The cut of meat you choose is dependent on the cooking method.  Here is a great resource on cooking different cuts of beef.  In general, cuts with more marbling (fat threaded through the meat) are more tender and cost more.  These cuts are best with dry heat cooking methods.  Leaner cuts are typically less tender and cost less.  These cuts are best with moist heat cooking methods.

I wish you luck with your next trip to the meat counter!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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