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15 High-Fiber Swaps for Faster Weight Loss

RDs explain how you can make easy fiber swaps to help meet your health goals.
FACT CHECKED BY Samantha Boesch

Fiber is a form of non-digestible carbohydrate and has piqued interest in recent years because of its benefits. Research indicates fiber can positively influence your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer, and can also regulate appetite and support gut microflora. With such powerful outcomes, there are plenty of reasons to increase your intake of fiber. If weight loss is your goal, the satiety fiber provides is a great reason to incorporate it into your meals and snacks.

Unfortunately, the Western diet tends to be low in fiber, leading to an inadequate intake for most adults in the U.S. In fact, one study noted that only about 5% of the population meets their recommended intake.

Adult women should consume at least 25 grams of fiber daily while men should aim for 38 grams. Plant-based foods are where you can find dietary fiber. This includes fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Many processed foods are void of fiber, so while trying to boost your intake, swap packaged foods for less processed alternatives, or look for manufactured foods that have added fiber.

For more specific ideas on how to increase your fiber intake, here are the 15 best high-fiber swaps for weight loss. Read on, then check out 44 Best High-Fiber Foods for a Healthy Diet.

Use bean-based pasta instead of white pasta.


Fiber gain: 27 grams

A hearty serving of white-enriched pasta only packs a few grams of fiber. Relative to the more than 50 grams of carbohydrates in this same serving, this is a low amount of fiber.

To create a more filling pasta meal, trade your white noodles for a bean or lentil-based option. The same serving size of lentil pasta, for example, provides a whopping 30 grams of fiber, which translates to an additional 27 grams of fiber. This trade will also boost the plant-based protein in your meal.

 Here's Exactly How Much Fiber You Should Eat Every Day To Lose Weight

Trade cereal for oatmeal.

oatmeal blueberries chia seeds bananas

Fiber gain: 3 grams

A bowl of cereal is a popular breakfast for kids and adults, but it may be lacking fiber. To create a more filling meal that can encourage weight loss, trade your cereal for oatmeal.

You can enjoy this whole grain cooked or cold, like muesli. A half-cup serving of oatmeal provides 5-6 grams of fiber while the same serving of popular sugary cereals may provide only 1 gram of fiber. If you don't want to give up the cereal, look for options with fewer than 5 grams of added sugar and at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.

 10 Best High-Fiber Cereals for Weight Loss

Swap out the protein shake for a fresh fruit smoothie.

banana berry and spinach smoothie

Fiber gain: 6+ grams

Packaged protein shakes aren't known for packing much fiber. Some options have zero grams while others may contain upwards of 5 grams. With such inconsistency in fiber content, try skipping your packaged protein shake for a homemade smoothie.

Two cups of fresh or frozen fruit can easily contain 6 grams of filling fiber, not to mention the extra fiber you can get from additions like hemp and chia seeds, and a adding in a handful of leafy green veggies.

 20 Best-Ever Weight Loss Smoothies

Swap out chips for popcorn.


Fiber gain: 2 grams

A handful of salty, crunchy chips makes for a satisfying snack, but those chips don't offer many valuable nutrients. Chips aren't known for being a concentrated source of fiber, and most options are going to provide you with one gram or fewer of fiber per serving.

Popcorn, on the other hand, provides valuable fiber for relatively few calories. One cup of air-popped popcorn provides a little over 1 gram of fiber for only 31 calories and 6 grams of carbs. This means you could have 3 cups of popcorn for under 100 calories and still get over 3 grams of fiber!

 10 Best & Worst Bagged Popcorns

Eat avocado instead of mayo.

mashed avocado

Fiber gain: 4 grams

Mayonnaise adds a nice creaminess and savory flavor to a sandwich or chicken salad, but it doesn't contribute much in the way of nutrients. In fact, mayo provides zero grams of fiber and can pack upwards of 100 calories per serving.

A healthier alternative is avocado. A 100-calorie portion of avocado, which is about ½ of a fruit, packs more than 4 grams of filling fiber. Not to mention, avocado is also loaded with healthy fats. The combination of fiber and healthy fats allows avocado to be a great food for weight loss as these nutrients increase satiety.

 Are Avocados Good for You? 10 Science-Backed Effects of Eating Them

Try quinoa instead of white rice.

cooked quinoa

Fiber gain: 5 grams

Whether you are using white rice in a stir-fry dish, as a side to a grilled protein, or as the carbohydrate in your salad, you could be getting more fiber from other grains.

In a 1-cup portion of cooked white rice, you'll get fewer than 0.5 a gram of fiber. Quinoa, on the other hand, will provide over 5 grams of fiber for a similar serving. This grain will also provide over 8 grams of protein in this serving, another benefit when looking for foods that will aid in weight loss.

 The 7 Best High-Protein Grains To Eat

Use whole-grain bread in place of white.


Fiber gain: 2 grams

White bread may be soft and fluffy, but it doesn't provide much in the way of fiber. Most commercially prepared options will contain zero to one gram of fiber, making it a poor source of nutrients.

Instead of white bread, choose a whole-grain option. The fiber content will differ from brand to brand, but you can count on whole-grain bread providing at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. You'll also get three to four grams of protein per slice and a slew of vitamins and minerals.

 9 Best Whole Grain Breads on Grocery Shelves

Use mashed berries instead of jam.


Fiber gain: 5 grams

If you enjoy a PB&J or fruit spread on your toast, this is a great opportunity to introduce more fiber. While most jams and jellies won't provide any fiber, you can make your own simple jelly at home that can provide more than 2 grams of fiber per serving.

Start by allowing frozen berries to thaw out. Next, combine a half cup of thawed berries with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and mash with a fork. A half cup of strawberries will provide more than two grams of fiber and the chia seeds pack over three grams of fiber per tablespoon. Spread your jam and seed mixture over bread for an additional 5 grams of fiber with natural sweetness.

Snack on trail mix instead of crackers.

hands cupping trail mix, concept of what to eat after workout for weight loss

Fiber gain: 5 grams

If you are looking for a crunchy snack, crackers may be your go-to. Sure, they are convenient, but not all options are created equally. Many varieties will pack zero grams of fiber and can also contain added sugar.

Instead, grab a portion of trail mix. The mixture of nuts and dried fruit makes for a crunchy snack that combines sweet and savory flavors. A half-cup portion can provide up to 5 grams of fiber! Just make sure to choose options without added sugar to further support your weight loss goals.

 5 Healthiest Trail Mixes—and 5 to Avoid

Eat sunflower seeds instead of granola.

sunflower seeds

Fiber gain: 3 grams

When topping your Greek yogurt parfait or acai bowl, granola may be your topping of choice. However, granola can be loaded with added sugar and lacks fiber. Instead, grab a quarter cup of sunflower seeds to add to your meal. This portion will add 3 grams of fiber to your meal while the same portion of granola may provide only a gram of this important nutrient.

Trade your flour tortilla for corn.


Fiber gain: 1 gram

A tortilla wrap loaded with lean deli meat, cheese, and veggies can make for an easy and satisfying meal, but a 6-inch flour tortilla will only provide you with one gram of fiber. Next time you make a lunch wrap or quesadilla, trade your flour tortilla for corn. For a similar number of calories, you can get two corn tortillas that will pack more than double the fiber.

 9 Best & Worst Store-Bought Tortillas and Wraps

Eat peas instead of corn.

Green peas

Fiber gain: 4 grams

Corn may be a popular side vegetable because of its firm texture and mild flavor, but it doesn't offer much in the way of nutrients. While one cup of corn provides 4 grams of fiber, peas contain more than double that amount. Both vegetables have a lightly sweet flavor, firm texture, and are easy to prepare and incorporate into a meal. Next time you are looking for a heat and eat vegetable, go with peas over corn.

Eat banana "nice cream" instead of ice cream.

Nice cream banana

Fiber gain: 2 grams

Ice cream may be one of the most popular dessert options, but it is not a source of fiber. You're unlikely to find any fiber in traditional ice cream, but with a little planning and prep work, you can make an ice cream alternative at home that packs flavor, natural sweetness, and fiber.

Simply combine peeled, frozen bananas in a blender with a couple of tablespoons of your milk of choice, and blend until smooth. A single banana contains 2 grams of fiber and only 100 calories. You can even top your "nice cream" with chia seeds or chopped nuts for a boost of fiber and healthy fats.

 38 Best Store-Bought High-Fiber Snacks

Add roasted chickpeas instead of croutons.

roasted chickpeas

Fiber gain: 5 grams

Veggies are a great source of fiber, so your salad is likely providing several grams of this filling nutrient. However, to boost fiber a bit more, consider swapping croutons for roasted chickpeas.

Croutons add a nice crunch but typically don't provide more than one gram of fiber. Roasted chickpeas, on the other hand, provide about 5 grams of fiber per ounce. You'll also get about 5 grams of satiating protein along with the high fiber content.

Eat a black bean burger instead of beef patty.

black bean burgers

Fiber gain: 3 grams

Animal products, like ground beef, don't contain any fiber. While they are high in protein, a nutrient that may be beneficial for weight loss, alternatives are available to create a higher-fiber meal. A black bean burger is a great swap that can pack more than three grams of fiber per patty. You can boost fiber in this meal by using a whole grain bun and topping your burger with avocado and veggies.

Kelsey Hampton, MS, CSSD, RDN, LD
Kelsey is a Texas-based dietitian and professor who specializes in sports nutrition. Read more about Kelsey
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