Recipe in the photo: Raspberry-peach-mango smoothie bowl
While it may not seem like the most glamorous nutrient, fiber is important for a variety of reasons. It can help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve gut health, and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend taking 25 to 30 grams per day to meet your needs. They also report that over 90% of American adults don’t reach that mark. Yes, you read that right: A staggering 90% of adults don’t eat enough fiber every day.
Fortunately for us, there are plenty of high-fiber foods that can be easily and flavorful additions to your diet. And a little goes a long way, even just adding 5 grams more represents about 20% of your daily requirement. Regardless of your dietary preferences, there is sure to be a high-fiber ingredient on this list that can help you meet your needs. Here are 7 ways to add 5 grams of fiber to your meals.
1. Sprinkle with chia seeds
A 2 teaspoon serving of chia seeds contains about 5 grams of fiber.
When it comes to high-fiber foods, chia seeds top the list. While small, they pack a nutritional punch with ample fiber, calcium, iron, and omega-3s. They can also help reduce inflammation, promote weight loss, and improve digestion (and help keep you regular). Another reason chia seeds are so good is because they are versatile. They can be added to smoothies, folded into baked goods, and sprinkled over oats or yogurt. Adding chia seeds to your day is a great way to help meet your fiber needs.
2. Add the leafy greens
A cup of cooked cabbage (And 5 cups raw) contains about 5 grams of fiber.
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, kale, and chard are nutrient-rich foods, which means they contain a lot of nutrients for relatively few calories. Research has shown that eating dark green leafy vegetables can help reduce cancer risk, build healthy bones, and keep your brain functioning at its best.
Chopping vegetables means you can get more nutrients in a smaller serving size, making them an even more powerful source of some nutrients, such as fiber. Try adding them to foods you already make, like pasta, scrambled eggs, and french fries. Vegetables are just as versatile and delicious raw. While 5 cups might seem like a lot, adding half a cup here and there throughout the day is a great way to increase your intake. Try blending raw leafy greens into smoothies (you won’t even taste them), blending them into sauces, and using them as a salad base.
3. Snack on fruit
One medium apple, one medium pear And 1/2 cup of berries each contains about 5 grams of fiber.
Fruits come in many different shapes, sizes and flavors, but there is one thing that unites them: they all have fiber. Add fruit to meals like smoothies, oats and salads for a touch of natural sweetness and flavor, or simply enjoy them as a snack on their own. Adding even one serving of fruit a day can help increase fiber intake. Pro tip: keep the leathers (after washing them well) for even more fiber load.
4. Swap the beans
A 1/3 cup serving of beans contains about 5 grams of fiber.
Here at Eat well, we love beans for many reasons. Their combination of fiber and protein will help you feel full and satisfied for longer, plus research attributes bean eaters to lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower risk of diabetes.
Beans are also very affordable, whether they are canned or dried. And because they’re shelf stable, keeping a can or two on hand means you’ll always have a fiber-rich, plant-based protein source ready to complement your meals.
And with so many different varieties available, from cannellini beans to kidney, there are many dishes you can incorporate beans into. Try adding beans to a dish you already enjoy, such as a cheesy casserole, satisfying salad, or laden sandwich. Check out our flexible bean dinners for more inspiration.
5. Top it with the avocados
Half an avocado contains about 5 grams of fiber.
Your daily avocado toast is a great way to start the day on a high fiber note. There are so many healthy reasons to eat avocados, even beyond their impressive fiber content. They can help improve heart health, raise good cholesterol levels, and protect the skin and eyes. Add them to smoothies, blend them into our avocado paste, or use them to flavor anything from tacos to sushi.
6. Eat oats for breakfast
A 1/2 cup serving of oats (measured raw) contains about 5 grams of fiber.
If you’re looking to increase your fiber intake, improve your heart health, or protect yourself from diabetes, oats are the breakfast for you. They’re quick to make and can even be pre-made in the form of overnight oats for something you can grab and carry on the go. In addition to oatmeal, oats are also a great addition to baked goods and smoothies. Adding a serving of oatmeal to your day can help you meet your fiber needs and improve your overall health.
7. Choose whole grains
Two slices of wholemeal bread contain about 5 grams of fiber (compared to less than 2 grams for white bread).
What makes whole grains different from refined grains is their structure: whole grains contain all parts of the grain, while their refining removes most of the micronutrients, fibers and proteins, leaving carbohydrates behind. Whole grains are important to your health for many reasons, from reducing cancer risk to helping manage diabetes, and we consider them some of the best foods you can eat for your heart health. Fortunately for us, wholegrain products like wholemeal pasta, brown rice, wholemeal bread, and other whole grains like quinoa, spelled, and barley make your intake easier.