Last week I found out from a nutritionist that 1 gram of fiber cancels out 7 calories. So if you got the recommended 30 grams of fiber per day, you’d erase about 210 calories from your diet, or about the amount you’d burn on a 40 minute walk – just by eating! Of course there are other benefits, like a healthy digestive tract and more regular bowel movements (yes, I said it), which is great for your overall health and will leave you less bloated.
But upping your fiber intake is tough. That’s why most Americans aren’t getting nearly enough. I shoot for just 25 grams a day and fall short quite a bit. So I culled some advice from nutritionists, my beloved Dr. Oz, and my own experience. Then I gathered it here to help you get to the magic number.
Switch to whole grains
I say this a lot but there’s probably no better way to incorporate fiber into your diet than to replace the white, processed carbs you’re already eating with whole grains. They contain more fiber and are better for your overall health.
Of all the fiber additives, I like Benefiber the best. My doctor recommended it and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s colorless, odorless, tasteless, and leaves no discernible texture when dissolved in liquid. I add it to all of the water I drink. One serving of Benefiber is 2 teaspoons, which equals 3 grams of fiber. I add that to 4 16-ounce servings of water per day so it shakes out to 12 grams of fiber per day. That means I get almost half a days’ worth of fiber for 45 calories and I didn’t have to choke down a pound of granola to do it. You can also mix it in when you cook or bake, or dissolve it in foods like applesauce.
Green, leafy vegetables usually have high fiber content, especially darker greens like collard, kale, and turnip greens. Other high-fiber veggies include tomatoes, artichoke, and peas.
For some reason I didn’t really think of fruits as being high in fiber but when I researched it, there are several that have some of the highest fiber content of anything on this list (even higher than vegetables). Avocado, bananas, berries, apples, pears and prunes are just some fruits with high fiber content. Just remember to leave the skin on the berries, pears, and apples.
There are a lot of high fiber cereals. Look for varieties with bran. While it may not have the most fiber out of any cereal, I like Kashi 7 Whole Grain Flakes because in addition to 6 grams of fiber it has 6 grams of protein, is low in sugar, and is only 180 calories per serving. Plus it tastes great and has a satisfying texture.
Bran flakes, oat bran, oatmeal, & granola
Whole Foods has half an aisle dedicated to granolas, legumes, dried fruits, nuts, bran, rice, and more. Mix and match to make your perfect fiber-filled snack. Add in raisins and dried cherries for a touch of sweet. And when it comes to oatmeal, steel-cut is still the best. Good old fashioned Quaker has variations for hot and cold breakfasts. They also make tasty bars with protein, omega-3, and up to 9 grams of fiber.
Legumes, nuts, & seeds
Split peas are a fiber all-star. One cup of split peas is about 16 grams of fiber! Lentils are right behind them at about 15 1/2 a cup, along with black and lima beans.
With all these options, you should be pushing 30 grams of fiber in no time. Have tips, products, and recipes of your own? Comment below!