15 Creative Ways to Add More Fiber to Your Diet
The benefits of eating more fiber
Dietary fiber can help improve digestion, prevent chronic inflammation and lower risks of certain types of cancer and arthritis. Fiber-containing foods are also naturally healthy, so men and women, start counting your grams for a few days to see if you need a fiber boost! Your needs are 38 grams for men and 25 grams a day for women.
How to eat more fiber
- Keep a jar of wheat germ or oat bran in your refrigerator (it can spoil faster than flour). Sprinkle some on hot cereal, yogurt, cottage cheese, or fruit, or add some to smoothies.
- Stock ground flaxseeds or chia seeds. Use them the same ways as the tip above. Chia seeds can also be used to make a delicious chia pudding by soaking them in milk. Add a tbsp. of chia seeds to iced tea or water to get a fiber boost and interesting texture while also getting your fluids in.
- Cook a batch of beans or have some cans on hand. Mix them with brown rice or other foods when cooking to sneak in some fiber. Beans also freeze well if you cook them in bulk. You can even snack on high fiber bean dishes!
- Spinach is a great source of fiber, and it cooks down to almost nothing. Add some fresh spinach leaves when cooking eggs, stir-fry, or at the end when simmering soups to add fiber, antioxidants, and a bright pop of green.
- Berries pack a ton of fiber into a small package. Frozen berries are great because they don't spoil nearly as quickly as fresh berries. Keep a bag on hand to throw them into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or eat alone as a tasty, refreshing snack.
- Hate the long cooking time of dried beans? Try lentils! These little powerhouses pack up to 10 grams of fiber in a half cup cooked portion and cook up in only 20 minutes, a much speedier process than the hours required for beans. They also come in a variety of colors, and are super inexpensive! Try adding cooked lentils to salads, rice, soups, stews, and casseroles (meatloaf!).
- Fruit is always a healthy sweet choice, but some fruits have more fiber than others. Try picking apples, pears, or berries over lower-fiber (but still good for you!) grapes, peaches, and melon. Remember to eat the peel! It's important to choose a variety of fruit in a healthy diet, but if you like lower-fiber fruits, simply increase your fiber from veggies or other sources.
- A spiralizer is a great tool to make high fiber "noodles" or "zoodles" out of veggies like carrots or zucchini that are lower in carbs than regular pasta but make just as delicious of a dinner. Top with your favorite tomato or pesto sauce.
- Keep the peel and other parts on the veggies too! The stalks of broccoli are even higher in fiber than the florets, but they're usually discarded.
- Sneak veggies into meals. Cooked cauliflower makes a delicious, neutral flavored substitute for potatoes. Spinach can be folded into eggs and casseroles. Zucchini can be grated into pasta and casseroles also.
- Branch out from just brown rice or oatmeal. Try experimenting with ancient grains like quinoa, wheat berries, or millet. Instead of eating them as a hot side, try them in a cold salad. Make a switch from sweet oatmeal to savory by adding sauteed veggies and a poached egg on top. You'll get all of the benefits of whole grains in a tasty new package.
- Add a couple of slices of avocado to your eggs, sandwich, chicken or salmon dinner, or other meals.
- Keep a snack bag of mixed, unsalted nuts on you in case you get hungry between meals. It's a healthy snack, and it contains fiber, protein, and healthy fats to keep you full and regular!
- Some companies have begun to make pasta, chips, crackers, and other products out of beans. These can be great high fiber alternatives to your favorite entrees and snacks. Have fun trying something new!
Did you know that diabetes is a risk factor for developing chronic kidney disease?