Chef Steve: High-Fiber

Delicious answers to your cooking questions
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After my last physical check-up I decided to make a conscious effort to eat foods that have more fiber, but I want foods that taste great, are easy to prepare, and relatively low in calories...any suggestions?

Beans, legumes, and grains all fit the bill here. They are extremely versatile and work well in many ethnic recipes, such as Italian and Mexican. They are easy to make, and can be very flavorful without lots of work.

Canned beans are wonderful in salads, chilies, soups, and fillings for burritos and quesadillas. Grains such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, and millet make great pilafs that go well with chicken and fish, and also work well in stir-fried dishes. One of my favorites is a stir-fried rice—a healthy fried rice, if you will—with shrimp, chicken, green onions, and chili pepper. I can eat it five nights a week. Many grains come in fast-cooking varieties, but try to stick to whole grains for the best taste and health benefits.

Chef Steve Petusevsky, a graduate and former instructor of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, is a nationally syndicated columnist whose writing appears in Natural Health, Fine Cooking, the Los Angeles Times, Food & Wine, and the Chicago Tribune.