15 Easy Ways to Eat a Little More Fiber Every Day

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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It seems like everyone talks up the benefits of protein, but there’s another just-as-important nutrient that tends to fall by the wayside: fiber. This often overlooked type of carbohydrate does a ton of essential jobs in your body—from promoting gut health to maintaining regular digestion—but the hard truth is that most of us are only eating a fraction of the amount we should each day.

According to a 2021 study in Current Developments in Nutrition, only 7% of people in the US meet the daily recommended amount of it, which is about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories in your diet. There are a bunch of reasons for this, but a biggie has to do with the fact that lots of us don’t really know how to make fiber-rich foods palatable and appetizing—or have the free time to experiment ways to make it happen, Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, of Street Smart Nutrition, tells SELF.

We’re here to tell you: Getting your fiber fix absolutely can be delicious, and it doesn’t have to be complicated either. There are actually a bunch of low-effort ways that’ll help you start eating more of the nutrient. (No cardboard-y cereal or bland bars necessary, we promise.) We’ve got you covered with some practical ways to fill up on fiber below. Just remember to take it slow: Try a couple tips at a time rather than going right to full-on fiber mode—that’ll help prevent GI symptoms, like bloating, cramping or gas, or even diarrhea, that can come when you increase your intake suddenly, says Harbstreet. So shoot for just a couple more grams from your baseline each day to keep your belly happy.

1. Leave the skin on fruits and vegetables.

If you’re not sure how to begin eating more fiber, start by doing less: Give up peeling. Leaving the skins on produce like apples, potatoes, carrots, or cucumbers—whether you’re throwing them in a salad or soup or snacking on them whole—is a win-win because it reduces your cooking workload and, in some cases, can double your intake of this essential nutrient, says Harbstreet.

2. Swap traditional pasta for higher-fiber versions.

Choosing fiber-rich whole grain and legume-based pasta is another easy way to automatically add more fiber without drastically changing what you eat, Jessica Jones, MS, RD, CEO and co-founder of Diabetes Digital, a virtual nutrition counseling platform for people with diabetes and prediabetes, tells SELF. Traditional angel hair pasta, for example, contains just three grams of fiber per serving, whereas the same shape made from red lentils has twice that amount.

3. Choose crunchy and fun whole-grain snacks.

Fiber is already abundant in a lot of popular snacks, so you don’t have to look far for a solid afternoon bite, says Jones. Take air-popped popcorn for example—which has roughly four grams in a one ounce serving—and make it even tastier by sprinkling on your favorite spices or some gourmet salt. Want something on the sweeter side? Trail mix and granola also contain at least a few grams of fiber and can satisfy those kinds of cravings.

4. Skip juices and make smoothies instead.

Unless it’s fortified afterward, juicing can strip fruit of some nutrients, says Harbsetreet, since the process removes everything but the liquid. But smoothies retain fiber because they use pretty much all the fruit—you generally just throw it straight into the blender. “Some of the fiber may be broken down, but not to a significant degree,” she explains. Plus, these drinks are a great way to get the nutrients you need quickly or if you have a low appetite for meals like breakfast.

5. Or add chia seeds to your juice for a boba-inspired libation.

Of course, if you love your juice, you gotta have it—but you can make a small tweak to boost its fiber: Add chia seeds. Just one tablespoon contains three to four grams of the nutrient, so sprinkling them in your juice can be a good way to offset the fiber they might lack, says Harbstreet. Because chia seeds have a neutral flavor, you can try this trick with just about any kind of juice you like—it all comes down to preference. Pro tip: Let the chia seeds soak in your juice overnight for a treat reminiscent of boba or bubble tea.

6. Stock your pantry with nutritional yeast.

Nutritional yeast tastes great on anything you’d normally sprinkle with Parmesan cheese—so pasta, soup, salad, you name it—but packs way more fiber, at about three grams of fiber per tablespoon, Rhyan Geiger, RDN, owner of Phoenix Vegan Dietitian, tells SELF. Add it onto popcorn to increase the fiber count even more, or mix in a dash to creamy pasta sauces and salad dressings for a nutrient-dense umami boost.

6. Add a crunch to soups and salads with toasted legumes.

No salad or soup is complete without something crunchy, but you don’t have to stick to classic croutons. Using roasted chickpeas instead is just as tasty—if not more so—and can add up to five extra grams of fiber, Geiger says. (Here’s an easy recipe that’ll walk you through making your own.) Not a fan of that particular legume? All kinds of beans, from white to black, will take on a crispy texture from roasting at high temps.

7. Blend veggies into pasta sauces.

Just because this trick is great for kids doesn’t mean you can’t use it, too. Classic tomato-based pasta sauces already have such a strong flavor that any vegetables added—whether that’s kale, spinach, carrots, or zucchini—will likely go unnoticed, says Geiger. That way, you’ll get a bit more fiber to boot, without changing up the flavor to something you’re not as jazzed about.

8. Doctor up your oatmeal.

Adding just a tablespoon of chia or flax seeds to oatmeal will automatically boost its fiber count by a couple of grams and barely affect the overall flavor, Jones says. (It also packs some healthy fat, too.) Not a seeds fan? There are tons of other ways to make your oatmeal more interesting and fiber-full, including mixing in some hearty veggies, sprinkling on some nuts, or topping with frozen berries.

9. Stock your pantry with canned beans.

No hate to dried beans, but let’s be honest: A long cooking time can be a barrier to entry, making you less inclined to prep (and eat) such ingredients. But canned beans are ready to go as soon as you pop them open, and can take just a matter of minutes to turn into a meal, says Harbstreet. Toss them in chilis, salads, sandwiches and wraps, or anywhere you need fiber on demand.

10. Bulk up plain rice with fiber-rich add-ins.

The difference in fiber between white and brown rice is marginal, so making the swap isn’t necessary if you don’t like the taste or texture of the latter. Instead, Harbstreet suggests fortifying traditional white rice with high-fiber add-ins like lentils and quinoa for a pilaf-style side. “This provides some of the familiar sensory aspects like a softer texture while boosting the nutrition,” she explains. Not sure how much to put? Start small with a few tablespoons and work your way up until you find a combo that works for you.

11. Experiment with high-fiber flours in your baking.

There are so many delicious baked goods that use a mix of traditional flour and higher-fiber options, like whole grain, almond, chickpea, or hazelnut. The next time you’ve got a hankering for a treat, look for a recipe that uses one of these alternatives for a few extra grams of fiber. We’re loving these apple and oat muffins with almond flour and these vegan chickpea brownies.

12. Aim to eat at least one vegetable in every meal.

Eating more veggies to increase your fiber intake is good advice, but can be pretty tough to put into practice. Instead of going from zero to 60, start small by aiming to include at least one veggie in every meal, says Geiger. “Eating one more vegetable than before is an excellent step to achieving a larger goal,” she explains. Here are 21 great ways to add some in.

13. Load your freezer with frozen berries.

Berries—and raspberries in particular—are another food that’s bursting with fiber. But berry season only comes once a year, and the out-of-season offerings leave much to be desired taste-wise. Frozen berries don’t sacrifice flavor for nutrients, allowing you to have the best of both worlds, says Geiger. Plus, they’re usually more affordable than their fresh counterparts, too.

14. Sub mayo for hummus in sandwiches and wraps.

Adding a schmear of hummus to any bread-based meal, whether a sandwich, wrap, or toast, is a good way to add a gram or two of fiber, along with the moisture and flavor that you might normally get from mayonnaise. Although it won’t drastically move the needle on overall fiber consumption, Harbstreet says it’s a good way to boost it a little and create a more fiber-focused mindset in general. “When paired with whole grain bread, fiber-rich salad toppings, or side dishes that contain extra fiber, the overall effect can be compounded and nudge you closer to your fiber goal for the day,” she says.

15. When in doubt, add avocado.

Avocado tastes great with just about everything, from breakfast to dinner (and even with dessert!). While it’s most famous for being rich in healthy fats, just one medium-sized fruit contains a whopping 10 grams of fiber. That means that adding only half or even a quarter of an avocado to a salad, soup, sandwich, or yogurt bowl will instantly increase the fiber count by a couple grams or more—plus boost the creamy goodness too.

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