The 30 Best Foods for Fiber
By Tiffany Gagnon
It helps fill you up, can clean you out, and makes achieving your weight loss goals a whole lot easier—we're talking about foods with fiber.
Thanks to the highly-refined, modern American diet, many people aren't getting enough of one of the most important nutrients. Without enough fiber, you'll experience dips in energy, difficulty losing weight, and also have a greater risk for heart disease.
According to the Institute of Medicine, women need around 25 grams per day while men require closer to 38 grams. Luckily, just a few smart swaps and intelligent additions can help get you there! Here are 30 foods to look to and then check out these 30 Fascinating Weight Loss Tricks You Haven't Tried while you're so motivated!
Believe it or not, this Bugs Bunny favorite can actually increase feelings of fullness post-snacking—much more than any pretzel sticks can. Throw a bunch in a small baggie and pull them out mid-afternoon when the munchies kick in. For more healthy snack ideas, try these 40 Healthy Snack Ideas to Keep You Slim.
Fruit, in general, is a great source of this macronutrient. And with 8 grams in one cup, raspberries steal the sweet spotlight. Mixing this antioxidant-rich berry in with your morning oats or cereal will fill you up, carry you through your morning, and push you to hit that daily 30 grams in no time.
With 5 grams of fiber per serving, starting your day with a hearty bowl of oatmeal is sure to set you on the right track. A study published in the Nutrition Journal found that participants who consumed oatmeal on a regular basis experienced a drop in bad cholesterol (and waist size!) due to their increased fiber intake.
"Although salad has a lot of antioxidants and vitamins in it, they usually don't have that much fiber," says Jessica Crandall, a Denver-based RD, Certified Diabetes Educator, and National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Salad add-ons like bell peppers, cucumbers, and celery are much better sources."
Anything with greater than 5 grams of fiber per serving is considered high. One ounce of chia seeds has double that amount! Sprinkle a spoonful of these nutrient-rich seeds into smoothies, yogurt, or on top of salads to boost your fiber intake and reap the digestive benefits. We've also curated the Best Chia Seed Recipes on Instagram for even more ideas!
Although they're not quite at chia seed status, whole flaxseeds offer up 5.6 grams per two tablespoons—which is actually more than those two bites of broccoli can claim. Use them just as you would chia seeds by sprinkling over salads or mixing into yogurt for a super-satiating snack.
Incorporate this healthy grain into soups and stews, or even feature it as a side dish with some added spices. One cup of cooked barley has 6 grams of the gut-filling nutrient, which can help fight heart disease. "Dietary fiber helps you extract and remove cholesterol, which is correlated with heart disease," explains Crandall. On the flip side, be sure to avoid these 30 Worst Foods For Your Heart!
As a general rule of thumb, it's almost always best to steer clear of white, processed foods. One cup of cooked white rice contains a measly half gram of fiber versus it's brown counterpart, which clocks in at over three times the amount with an average of 3.5 grams of fiber per cup.
Unfortunately, spinach artichoke dip will never make it onto any diet-friendly list—but some of its main ingredients certainly do. One medium artichoke boasts an impressive 10.3 grams of fiber and incorporating it into your diet may aid weight loss efforts. "I believe the weight loss benefits associated with greater fiber intake are tied to feelings of fullness and satiety," says Crandall. That's why you better get the inside scoop on the 25 Foods That Make You Hungrier!
Beans and legumes will always be standouts in this category. One cup of lentils serves up a massive 15.6 grams of fiber, which can help keep your energy steady throughout the day. "Fiber helps to keep our blood sugars more stable, so that we're not feeling highs and lows in our energy levels," says Crandall.
Yes, the grammar school rhyme is right—beans are great for your heart, thanks to their 15 grams of fiber per cup, which work to lower bad cholesterol and fight against heart disease. "Beans are a great source of nutrition—they're high in protein and fiber, so don't forget about them! Add them to your salad at lunch or add them to a dish at dinner," says Crandall. They're also on celeb trainer Mark Langowski's list of 15 Favorite Foods for Flat Abs and a component of his new book Eat This, Not That! For Abs.
You may have pushed them around your plate as a kid—but that stops now. These little green poppers contain a hefty 7 grams of fiber per cup! "I highly suggest trying to micromanage your meals so that you get 7-10 grams of fiber at each meal," says Crandall. 7 grams? Easy, pea-sy.
Like it's pretty little sister, raspberries, blackberries contain 8 grams of fiber per cup, towering over strawberries and blueberries (which contain less than half that amount). Make sure to keep these dark-hued berries where you can see them; you'll be more likely to reach for them when sweet cravings kick in. "I store all my fruits and vegetables at eye level to make sure that i'm consuming them on a regular basis," says Crandall. Keeping healthy foods in sight (and unhealthy ones out of sight!) is on our list of The 50 Best Weight-Loss Tips.
One medium pear contains around 5.5 grams of fiber, but in order to get all those grams you need to keep the skin in tact because that's where most of the nutrient is concentrated. This same rule applies to apples, potatoes, and even that white stuff you love to pick off of oranges after you've peeled the outer layer off!
It's not the spinach leaves that are going to fill you up, but rather that creamy avocado you slice on top of them. On average, one medium avocado contains around 10-13 grams of filling fiber and adding it to your meals or finding a few awesome avocado recipes can increase satiety tremendously.
Sugar Snap Peas
Rather than grabbing a bag of chips or pretzels, spend a few minutes at night throwing together a small bag of portable and affordable veggies. Cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and mini bell peppers are all great snack options but the satisfying, crunchy snap peas contain 5 grams of fiber per one cup serving.
Whole Wheat Pasta
Not all pastas are created equal; some are actually pretty good for you! "I really have people look at their brands and read their labels to determine what is considered a good source of fiber because it really is going to vary from brand to brand," says Crandall. On average, whole wheat pastas contain 6.3 grams of fiber per one cup cooked serving but find out The #1 Best Pasta for Your Body before your next trip to the supermarket.
Dried or whole, figs are a very portable and very palatable source. One little, dried fig contains nearly one gram of fiber and about 20 calories. Mix a few in a bag with some nuts, and you've got yourself a healthy and wholesome snack for when you're on-the-go and starting to run out of fuel.
One quarter-cup serving of chickpeas contains nearly 9 grams of fiber. So, pouring some over your salad will help you hit your daily requirements with minimal effort. Just be sure to keep portions small so that you don't overload on calories, especially when they are not the main event of your meal; a ¼ cup serving contains close to 200 calories in total. And don't miss these 20 Amazing, Surprising Ways to Eat Chickpeas for more ways to get your fiber from these garbanzo guys.
While these small, squishy treats may not make a regular appearance on your grocery list, perhaps it's time they start. One medjool date offers your body an average of 1.6 grams of energy-boosting fiber. Like figs, you can mix this dried fruit with some nuts (like almonds or walnuts) for a filling afternoon snack that's rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
When you think of whole grains, chances are this movie theater favorite doesn't come to mind—although it should. Since popcorn is considered a whole grain, it consequently is relatively decent in fiber with around 5 grams per four-cup serving. Just be sure to stick to air-popped to avoid unwanted calories and scary chemicals. We recommend these 20 Delicious Ways to Dress Up Popcorn.
This wintery squash not only features a subtle, sweet taste, but one cup mashed provides your body with 6 grams of satiating fiber. Plus, acorn squash is also an excellent source of vitamin C—one serving provides about 20 percent of your daily needs—which is important for your immunity.
"Fiber has no magical fat-burning properties; simply put, it helps you feel full without adding a lot of extra calories to your diet," explains Crandall. "When you have a baked potato (with skin) instead of a bag of potato chips, for example, you're not only eating fewer calories, but you're less likely to feel hungry again an hour later." Sweet potatoes, in particular, boast around 6 grams of fiber per large baked potato for only 160 calories.
They may be unfamiliar to you now, but this root vegetable is worth getting to know. Parsnips are closely related to the carrot family and one cup (sliced) of this mildly sweet veggie contains a steady 7 grams of fiber. Try roasting parsnips as you would potatoes, or dice up and toss into a veggie stew to help kill off hunger pangs.
Apples may trail behind pears in this category, but they're still a good way to sneak more fiber into your day—as long as you don't peel them! One medium apple contains around 4.4 grams of the belly-friendly nutrient and can help ward off junk food cravings between meals. Bonus: Apples are one of the 30 Healthiest Foods for Women!
If you're not a warm porridge person in the morning, fear not. A bowl of bran flakes can provide you with nearly 6 grams of fiber. Skip the raisin bran and add-in your own fruit to keep sugar counts under control and fiber totals even higher.
Yep, they're different than green peas even when they look the same! With over 16 grams of fiber in one cup, a serving of split peas will get you to that recommended 10 gram meal mark and then some. You can stick with the age-old classic split pea soup, or use this as an opportunity to look up some fun new recipes and experiment in the kitchen.
Nuts and seeds are always great while you're on the go and usually pretty affordable. Snack on almonds, which have an average of 3.5 grams of fiber per one-ounce serving and are a convenient way to supplement your fiber intake slowly throughout the day.
Yes, fiber is one of the benefits of bananas, but a medium banana only contains 3 grams versus one large orange with 4.4. If you can resist picking off every last bit of that pesky white stuff on the orange segments, you'll retain more of the waist-whittling nutrient.
Whole Grain Bread
One slice of a true whole grain bread can contain around 5 or 6 grams of fiber. Recently, though, brands are doubling up on fiber content and boasting over 10 grams per slice in some cases! "When you're looking at your bread, look for that first ingredient that says whole grain," Crandall recommends. "You want to stick with whole grain, not multigrain, which simply means that there are different types of grains present." For more tips like that, find out 17 Processed Foods Nutritionists Approve Of.
MORE FROM EAT THIS, NOT THAT!
MELT UP TO 10 POUNDS IN ONE WEEK!