- 10 Healthy and High-Fiber Foods That Are Also Low Carb
- What Is Fiber?
- Why Eating High-Fiber Foods Matters
- 1. Leafy Greens
- 2. Flaxseeds
- 3. Cabbage
- 4. Coconut
- 5. Chia Seeds
- 6. Avocado
- 7. Cauliflower
- 8. Broccoli
- 9. Hemp Hearts
- 10. Nuts
- Which High-Fiber Foods Are You Going to Try?
- Diabetic diet: 20 healthy foods for diabetics
- The Right Diet for Prediabetes
- Morning snack
- Afternoon snack or appetizer
- Evening snack
- High Fiber Diet Plan For Beginners
- Make it a Slow Transition
- Soluble Fiber
- Insoluble Fiber
- Meal Planning: The High-Fiber Factor
10 Healthy and High-Fiber Foods That Are Also Low Carb
Reading Time: 7 minutes
“Eat more fiber” is a common piece of advice for people who want to improve their nutrition habits. But when you’re following a low-carb eating plan, getting your daily dose of fiber can be easier said than done.
Fiber and carbohydrates often go hand-in-hand, but even if you’re following a nutrition plan that has you watching your carbs, you still have plenty of high-fiber foods available to you. Keep reading to learn more about what dietary fiber is, why it’s an important part of a healthy diet, and how you can meet your daily fiber goals without going over your carb limit.
What Is Fiber?
Dietary fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods. It passes through your body instead of being absorbed. Dietary fiber is technically a carbohydrate, but since your body can’t break it down, fiber doesn’t count towards your daily carb total.
Fiber is not found in animal source foods like meat and cheese. This can be a problem for people who are eating low-carb, especially because many high-fiber foods — such as beans, whole grains, and fruit — are loaded with carbohydrates. But it’s still important for people on a low-carb diet to work high-fiber foods into their meals. Here’s why.
Why Eating High-Fiber Foods Matters
Fiber is not technically considered an essential nutrient. Your body doesn’t absorb it, so you can’t go into a state of fiber deficiency. But if you don’t eat enough fiber on a daily basis, you can still develop health problems. Most people know that fiber helps with constipation (and that in itself is a good enough reason to eat it), but you can also reduce your risk of more serious problems simply by eating enough fiber.
Fiber is known for helping people reach and maintain a healthy weight, which cuts down on the risk of all kinds of health complications. This is because fiber is filling — it absorbs water and takes up space in the stomach. If you want to lose a few pounds without feeling hungry all the time, fiber-rich foods are your friend.
Fiber also slows down your body’s absorption of digestible carbohydrates, which keeps your blood sugar levels stable. This, in turn, reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Most people on a low-carb eating plan don’t have to worry about their blood sugar spiking, but if you’re still in the process of reducing your carb intake, high-fiber foods can help you avoid the mood swings and energy crashes that come with dips in your blood sugar levels.
Fiber is also great for gut health. It reduces your risk of developing colorectal cancer, and it’s a food source for the good bacteria in your gut. As fiber ferments in your digestive tract, the friendly bacteria in your gut eat it. They then produce compounds called short chain fatty acids, which protect the lining of your colon. Researchers have found that short chain fatty acids reduce your risk of developing many inflammatory diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and heart disease.
The Institute of Medicine recommends women aim to get 25 grams of fiber every day, while men should aim for around 38 grams. If you’re currently eating a low-fiber diet — i.e. a diet without many green vegetables or other foods on this list — work your way up to this goal gradually. Increase your daily fiber intake by several grams (about the equivalent of a handful of almonds) a week. Your body needs time to get used to the extra fiber, or you might end up feeling bloated and uncomfortable. In addition, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water every day to prevent constipation.
So, if you’re eating low carb, what are the best high-fiber foods for you?
1. Leafy Greens
Veggies should be a major component of any low-carb diet, and leafy greens are among the best choices you can make. They’re low in calories, packed with nutrition, and endlessly versatile. There are so many varieties of leafy greens that you’re sure to find one you like. Collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens all boast 5 grams of fiber per cooked cup. Kale, spinach, and chard are also great sources.
Try our recipe for Spicy Kale and Cauliflower Rice.
Flaxseeds deliver a big dose of fiber in a small package. Two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds provide 2 grams of dietary fiber for only 37 calories. Flaxseeds are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Make sure you grind your flaxseeds before eating them so your body can access the nutrients inside them, and avoid eating more than five tablespoons of raw flaxseeds a day — they can be toxic in large doses.
Cabbage may not be the most glamorous veggie out there, but when it comes to boosting your fiber intake and adding healthy bulk to a meal, it’s hard to beat. One cup of raw, chopped cabbage contains 2.2 grams of fiber for 22 calories. You’ll also get a healthy dose of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate.
Coconut, which can technically be considered a fruit, a nut, and a seed, is a great low-carb source of fiber. One cup of raw coconut meat contains an impressive 7.2 grams of fiber. And if you like to bake, coconut flour is a guilt-free alternative to traditional wheat flours — it packs 5 grams of fiber per tablespoon.
Try our recipe for Blueberry Coconut Muffins.
5. Chia Seeds
Like flaxseeds, chia seeds are small, easy to add to other foods, and rich in fiber. An ounce of chia seeds (about two tablespoons) contains 11 grams of fiber, as well as 4 grams of protein and 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids — all for 137 calories.
Try our recipe for Coconut Milk Chia Seed Pudding.
Yet another reason to love avocado: it’s full of fiber. One medium-sized avocado (or one cup of cubed avocado) contains ten grams of fiber. Avocados are also full of heart-healthy fats, which promote satiety.
Try our recipe for Guilt-Free Dairy-Free Avocado Chocolate Pudding.
Cauliflower is similar to its cousin broccoli in terms of nutrition: one cup, raw, delivers 2.7 grams of fiber for 27 calories. Cauliflower can be an excellent low-carb replacement for rice, pasta, and even pizza crust.
Try our recipe for How to Roast Vegetables the Quick and Easy Way.
Like most vegetables, broccoli is a good source of fiber, but won’t add many calories or carbs to your daily count. A cup of raw, chopped broccoli gives you 2.3 grams of fiber for 30 calories.
9. Hemp Hearts
Hemp hearts are the seeds of the industrial hemp plant. Like chia seeds and flaxseeds, hemp hearts are extremely nutrient-dense. You can buy hemp seeds whole or shelled. Whole seeds contain more fiber, but many people find them too crunchy to eat. Shelled seeds are easier to eat and still high in fiber — a two-ounce serving (about a quarter cup) contains 5 grams.
Nuts are a tasty way to add fiber (as well as good fats) to your diet. Almonds are a particularly high-fiber type of nut, with 3.5 grams of fiber per ounce (or about 23 almonds). Pistachios are another good choice, with 2.9 grams of fiber per ounce.
Which High-Fiber Foods Are You Going to Try?
No matter what kind of eating plan you’re following, it’s important to pay attention to your fiber intake. Eating plenty of fiber every day can lower your risk for many health problems, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If you’re trying to manage your weight, eating more fiber will help with that, too.
And while some high-fiber foods are also high in carbohydrates, there’s no need to sacrifice fiber if you’re sticking to a low-carb diet. By incorporating a wide variety of vegetables, seeds, and nuts into your diet, you’ll have no trouble meeting your fiber goals and carb goals at the same time.
Becca earned her MFA in Cinema-Television Production at USC’s famed film school, and her first career was as a music editor. Becca found her way to career number two through martial arts. She trained in BJJ and muay Thai and worked with professional MMA fighters, building websites, organizing fight promotions, and producing videos.
In 2005, she became a student at CrossFit Los Angeles where she met WLC co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck. In only a couple years, she became CrossFit Level III Certified, left her entertainment career, and dedicated herself full time to coaching, serving as the Program Director of CFLA and founder of the CFLA CrossFit Kids program. After seven years as a music editor and then eight years as fitness instructor, Becca segued to her current career — full-time editor and writer.
May 10, 2000 — Diet can contribute to developing type 2 diabetes, but it can also help keep it under control. Diabetics who eat more high-fiber fruit, vegetables, and grains can improve their blood sugar control and may reduce their need for additional diabetic medicine, researchers report in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine.
Lead author Manisha Chandalia, MD, tells WebMD that the high-fiber diet reduced blood sugar levels as much as an additional dose of diabetes drugs taken by mouth called hypoglycemic agents.
But a healthy diet doesn’t have to equal boredom. Chandalia also says that this can be done by following a very tasty menu that includes lots of cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges, papaya, raisins, lima beans, okra, sweet potatoes, winter squash, zucchini, granola, oat bran, and oatmeal. Chandalia is assistant professor of internal medicine in the VA Medical Center in Dallas.
Chandalia tested the new diet in 13 people who have type 2 diabetes. Each spent six weeks following the standard American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet that includes 24 grams of fiber per day. They then followed a high-fiber diet, which includes 50 grams of fiber per day, for another six weeks.
During the high-fiber weeks, the study subjects had major improvements in the levels of sugar in their blood. They also had improvement in their cholesterol levels.
Chandalia tells WebMD that her study shows that diet should still be the centerpiece in managing diabetes. She says that simple things can be done to increase daily fiber intake, such as “eating whole wheat instead of white bread, or eating an orange instead of drinking orange juice.”
Vladimir Vuksan, PhD, who was not involved in the study, tells WebMD that paying more attention to fiber may also increase the effectiveness of other diabetic treatments. “This is a very fine, well-controlled trial that clearly demonstrates the efficacy of dietary fiber in controlling type 2 diabetes. Other studies, including our own, have shown comparable effects, and we think that fiber could be an effective therapy.” Vuksan is associate director of the Risk Factor Modification Center at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
One of Chandalia’s colleagues involved in the study, Abihymanyu Garg, MD, tells WebMD that adopting the high-fiber diet requires some changes in thinking about meals. Garg says that some patients were initially intimidated by the large servings of fruits and vegetables that are needed to bring dietary fiber up to 50 grams per day. “They quickly got used to it, and nobody dropped out,” he says. “One patient even became quite fond of papaya, although he had never eaten it before.” Garg is associate program director of general clinical research at the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center in Dallas.
Diabetic diet: 20 healthy foods for diabetics
A diabetic diet consists of foods that are healthy for a controlled diabetic diet. This comprises a list of foods for diabetics that is high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals. The list of foods that we have included in this diabetics diet slideshow are also familiar and easy to find. These are not the only food for diabetics, but including them in your diabetes meal plan will help improve your overall health.
High fiber foods are known to lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Whole grains, oats, channa atta, millets and other high fiber foods should be included in foods for diabetics. Maida, sooji, noodles, pasta should be avoided. If one feels like consuming pasta or noodles, it should always be accompanied with vegetable /sprouts.
Beans Beans have always been the undervalued protein that could work best when used as a substitute for meat. They stay in your digestive system longer and add to the feeling of fullness and a satisfied feeling, aiding weight management, a very good example for food for diabetics. To save time cooking beans, use a pressure cooker. Soaked beans are tender in just 10 to 15 minutes.
Barley is great for a healthy diet. Barley includes both soluble and insoluble fiber in abundance. It can be added to soups, cereal and salads.
This food for diabetics reduces the rise in blood sugar after a meal by almost 70 per cent, and hence keeps your blood sugar lower and steadier for hours.
While the type of sugar they contain is transformed into blood sugar quickly, the amount of sugar in carrots is extremely low. This food for diabetics are one of nature’s richest sources of beta-carotene, which is linked to a lower risk of diabetes and better blood-sugar control.
Scientists have found regular intake of the increasingly popular vegetable keeps blood sugar levels under control and boosts the body’s production of insulin, the hormone that helps it to absorb glucose, the Daily Mail reported.
Milk is the right combination of carbohydrates and proteins and helps control blood sugar levels. Two servings of milk in a daily diet is a good option as a fod for diabetics, however other product like curds, butter milk and or cottage cheese are also good substitutes. But, one should ensure that low fat milk is consumed, as fat in milk is not healthy and also adds to extra calories.
Vegetables and pulses
Vegetables are a good source of vitamins and fiber. High fiber vegetables such as peas, beans, broccoli and spinach /leafy vegetables should be included as food for diabetics. Also, pulses with husk and sprouts are a healthy option and should form a part of the diet.
Good quality fat
It is important to choose fats wisely as some fats are healthier for the body than others. One should carefully choose cooking oils that are high in MUFA (Monounsaturated Fat) as these fatty acids control bad cholesterol and control diabetes as well. High N3, with low saturated fatty acid content is another good property of oil. Canola is the right option as a food for diabetics with all these healthy properties for diabetes and heart health and is a good recommendation as cooking oil.
Unlike butter, the good fat in olive oil won’t increase insulin resistance and help reverse it. A touch of olive oil also slows digestion, so your meal is less likely to spike your glucose. As a food for diabetics use them in salads, pastas and starters.
Fruits high in fiber such as papaya, apple, orange, pear and guava should be consumed. Fruits contain fructose which does not let the blood sugar levels rise immediately and thus can be easily consumed as food for diabetics. However, calories from excess intake remain.
Apples are naturally low in calories, yet their high fibre content. This food for diabetics fills you up, battles bad cholesterol, and blunts blood-sugar swings. Eat them whole and unpeeled for the greatest benefit, or make a quick baked apple.
Berries are full of fibre and antioxidants. The red and blue varieties also contain natural plant compounds called anthocyanins. Scientists believe these may help lower blood sugar by boosting insulin production.
Broccoli is filling, fibrous, and full of antioxidants. It’s also rich in chromium, which plays an important role in long-term blood sugar control. Use this food for diabetics in soups, pasta dishes, and casseroles, or sauté it with garlic, soy sauce, or for a taste you’ll fall for.
They’re rich in protein, fibre, and good fats similar to the kind found in fish. They’re also a source of magnesium, a mineral that’s key to blood-sugar control because it helps cells use insulin. The best way to have this food for diabetics in in the morning as soon as you get up. A tablespoon of it works wonders.
Oatmeal is loaded with soluble fibre which, when mixed with water, forms a paste. Just as it sticks to your bowl, it also forms a gummy barrier between the digestive enzymes in your stomach and the starch molecules in your meal. So it takes longer for your body to convert the carbs you’ve eaten into blood sugar. This dieter’s food can be best used as a food for diabetics in breakfasts, porridges, soups and casseroles.
According to a Harvard School of Public Health study eating fish just once a week can reduce your risk of heart disease by 40 per cent. The fatty acids in fish reduce inflammation in the body—a major contributor to coronary disease—as well as insulin resistance and diabetes. Grilled fish is a good food for diabetics
Small frequent meals
A large meal gives rise to higher blood sugar in one’s body, therefore it is essential to take small frequent meals to prevent both higher and very low blood sugar values and keep them constant. Food for diabetics should consists of small in between snacks can be dhokla, fruit, high fiber cookies, butter milk, yogurt, upma/poha with vegetables etc.
Yogurt is rich in protein and another weight loss powerhouse: calcium. Several studies have shown that people who eat plenty of calcium-rich foods have an easier time losing weight- and are less likely to become insulin resistant.
Choose yogurt as a food for diabetics by including it in your breakfast, add fruits to it or sprinkle a low-fat granola for extra nutrients.
Nuts are full of ‘good’ fats that fight heart disease. These fats have even been shown to help reduce insulin resistance and make blood sugar easier to control. Nuts are also one of the best food sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells and may help prevent nerve and eye damage. They are rich in fiber and magnesium, both of which may help regulate your blood sugar.
The right breakfast cereal is the absolute food for diabetics, it’s the best opportunity to pack more fiber into your day.
Read more Personal Health, Diet & Fitness stories on www.healthmeup.com
The Right Diet for Prediabetes
You can’t control all risk factors for prediabetes, but some can be mitigated. Lifestyle changes can help you maintain balanced blood sugar levels and stay within a healthy weight range.
Watch carbs with the glycemic index
The glycemic index (GI) is a tool you can use to determine how a particular food could affect your blood sugar.
Foods that are high on the GI will raise your blood sugar faster. Foods ranked lower on the scale have less effect on your blood sugar spike. Foods with high fiber are low on the GI. Foods that are processed, refined, and void of fiber and nutrients register high on the GI.
Refined carbohydrates rank high on the GI. These are grain products that digest quickly in your stomach. Examples are white bread, russet potatoes, and white rice, along with soda and juice. Limit these foods whenever possible if you have prediabetes.
Foods that rank medium on the GI are fine to eat. Examples include whole-wheat bread and brown rice. Still, they aren’t as good as foods that rank low on the GI.
Foods that are low on the GI are best for your blood sugar. Incorporate the following items in your diet:
- steel-cut oats (not instant oatmeal)
- stone-ground whole wheat bread
- nonstarchy vegetables, such as carrots and field greens
- sweet potatoes
- pasta (preferably whole wheat)
Food and nutrition labels don’t reveal the GI of a given item. Instead make note of the fiber content listed on the label to help determine a food’s GI ranking.
Remember to limit saturated fat intake to reduce the risk of developing high cholesterol and heart disease, along with prediabetes.
Eating mixed meals is a great way to lower a food’s given GI. For example, if you plan to eat white rice, add vegetables and chicken to slow down the digestion of the grain and minimize spikes.
Good portion control can keep your diet on the low GI. This means you limit the amount of food you eat. Often, portions in the United States are much larger than intended serving sizes. A bagel serving size is usually about one-half, yet many people eat the whole bagel.
Food labels can help you determine how much you’re eating. The label will list calories, fat, carbohydrates, and other nutrition information for a particular serving.
If you eat more than the serving listed, it’s important to understand how that’ll affect the nutritional value. A food may have 20 grams of carbohydrate and 150 calories per serving. But if you have two servings, you’ve consumed 40 grams of carbohydrate and 300 calories.
Eliminating carbohydrates altogether isn’t necessary. Recent research has shown that a lower carb diet (less than 40 percent carbs) is associated with the same mortality risk increase as a high carbohydrate diet (greater than 70 percent carbs).
The study noted minimal risk observed when consuming 50 to 55 percent carbohydrates in a day. On a 1600-calorie diet, this would equal 200 grams of carbohydrates daily. Spreading intake out evenly throughout the day is best.
This is in line with the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic’s recommendation of 45 to 65 percent of calories coming from carbohydrates daily. Individual carbohydrate needs will vary based on a person’s stature and activity level.
Speaking to a dietitian about specific needs is recommended.
One of the best methods to manage portions is to practice mindful eating. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Sit, and eat slowly. Focus on the food and flavors.
Eating more fiber-rich foods
Fiber offers several benefits. It helps you feel fuller, longer. Fiber adds bulk to your diet, making bowel movements easier to pass.
Eating fiber-rich foods can make you less likely to overeat. They also help you avoid the “crash” that can come from eating a high sugar food. These types of foods will often give you a big boost of energy, but make you feel tired shortly after.
Examples of high-fiber foods include:
- beans and legumes
- fruits and vegetables that have an edible skin
- whole grain breads
- whole grains, such as quinoa or barley
- whole grain cereals
- whole wheat pasta
Cut out sugary drinks
A single, 12-ounce can of soda can contain 45 grams of carbohydrates. That number is the recommended carbohydrate serving for a meal for women with diabetes.
Sugary sodas only offer empty calories that translate to quick-digesting carbohydrates. Water is a better choice to quench your thirst.
Drink alcohol in moderation
Moderation is a healthy rule to live by in most instances. Drinking alcohol is no exception. Many alcoholic beverages are dehydrating. Some cocktails may contain high sugar levels that can spike your blood sugar.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, women should only have one drink per day, while men should limit themselves to no more than two drinks per day.
Drink servings relate back to portion control. The following are the measurements for an average single drink:
- 1 bottle of beer (12 fluid ounces)
- 1 glass of wine (5 fluid ounces)
- 1 shot of distilled spirits, such as gin, vodka, or whiskey (1.5 fluid ounces)
Keep your drink as simple as possible. Avoid adding sugary juices or liqueurs. Keep a glass of water nearby that you can sip on to prevent dehydration.
Eat lean meats
Meat doesn’t contain carbohydrates, but it can be a significant source of saturated fat in your diet. Eating a lot of fatty meat can lead to high cholesterol levels.
If you have prediabetes, a diet low in saturated fat and trans fat can help reduce your risk of heart disease. It’s recommended that you avoid cuts of meat with visible fat or skin.
Choose protein sources such as the following:
- chicken without skin
- egg substitute or egg whites
- beans and legumes
- soybean products, such as tofu and tempeh
- fish, such as cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, tuna, or trout
- lean beef cuts, such as flank steak, ground round, tenderloin, and roast with fat trimmed
- shellfish, such as crab, lobster, shrimp, or scallops
- turkey without skin
- low fat Greek yogurt
Very lean cuts of meat have about 0 to 1 gram of fat and 35 calories per ounce. High-fat meat choices, such as spareribs, can have more than 7 grams of fat and 100 calories per ounce.
Drinking plenty of water
Water is an important part of any healthy diet. Drink enough water each day to keep you from becoming dehydrated. If you have prediabetes, water is a healthier alternative than sugary sodas, juices, and energy drinks.
The amount of water you should drink every day depends on your body size, activity level, and the climate you live in.
You can determine if you’re drinking enough water by monitoring the volume of urine when you go. Also make note of the color. Your urine should be pale yellow.
Prevention readers say one of their top health goals in 2018 is to eat better. Fact is, foods high in fiber will help you do just that, as well as help you lose weight and prevent disease. Don’t just take my word for it.
A 2016 study found people who reported higher fiber intake from eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables had an almost 80% greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up period. That is, they were less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability. It could be that these people made better food choices overall or were more physically active, but it’s definitely worth eating more foods with fiber.
What is fiber?
Found in beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, fiber is the stuff our bodies don’t digest—which is part of what makes it so beneficial. While some fiber is changed by intestinal bacteria into products that are absorbed, most of it travels all the way through your digestive system, basically grabbing and pushing other things through. Unfortunately, many of us fall short on fiber, and because low intake is associated with a range of health concerns, it is considered a nutrient of public health concern.
MORE: 4 Things That Happen When You Don’t Get Enough Fiber
Fiber is a superhero with powerful benefits. Foods with more fiber help you get regular and bring healthy dividends in the vitamins and minerals they contain. Here are some of the ways fiber can boost your health:
- Fiber helps you feel full longer, which helps with weight control. Bye-bye, snack attack.
- Fiber helps fight heart disease by carrying cholesterol compounds out of the body and reducing cholesterol production.
- Fiber helps slow digestion, which keeps blood sugar stable. (Here are 7 sneaky signs your blood sugar is too high.)
- Fiber helps your gut health. Researchers at the University of Nebraska found that eating fiber-packed whole grains, such as barley, brown rice, or especially a mix of the two, altered the gut bacteria to reduce inflammation.
- Fiber acts like a broom, promoting regularity and reducing constipation. It can also help prevent hemorrhoids.
How much fiber do you need?
To know where you’re going, you need to know your goal. Fiber recommendations vary by age and gender. Fiber requirements decrease with age because calorie requirements go down as we age. And women generally need fewer calories than men so general guidelines are 14 grams fiber per 1,000 calories. (Here are 5 signs your body wants you to eat more fiber.)
Use this chart to check your personal fiber needs:
- Women 19 to 30 years old = 28 grams per day
- Women 31 to 50 years old = 25 grams per day
- Women 51 and older = 22 grams per day
- Men 19 to 30 years old = 34 grams per day
- Men 31 to 50 years old = 31 grams per day
- Men 51 and older = 28 grams per day
The winning strategy is to have fiber-rich foods on hand. When they’re in the kitchen or fridge, they become meals and snacks. Make a couple high-fiber recipes each week to help you meet your goal. As you add more fiber, do it gradually to let your digestive tract adjust. Let’s take a look at how to do that at each meal, deliciously.
Make Berry Cardamom Baked Oatmeal on Sunday to reduce some Monday morning chaos. Oats, berries, flaxseeds, and walnuts contribute about 4 grams fiber per serving. Don’t want to bake? Overnight oats are a grab-and-go option you can prep ahead. (You can also make these slow cooker oatmeal recipes.)
The soluble fiber in oats, as well as barley, lentils, beans, and in some fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, and carrots is like a “sponge.” It attracts water and turns to gel during digestion, which slows down the rate your stomach empties. This helps you feel full longer, keeps blood sugar levels stable, plus allows more time for nutrient absorption and helps keep stools soft.
MORE: 6 Types Of Food That Are Making You Constipated
Because soluble fiber attracts water, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. Enjoy coffee, tea, or water in the morning, and always keep a water bottle at your desk or in the car while running errands. End physical activity with a drink of water, too.
Most offices aren’t flashing a “Fiber Here” sign. Stash these to help keep things moving.
No need to miss out on fiber at lunch. With about 6 grams of fiber per cup, this Black Bean Quinoa Salad is a make-once, eat-all-week recipe. Enjoy it plain or wrapped in flatbread with lettuce or spinach and a schmear of hummus. Or stuff it in mini peppers for an appetizer. Pack a pear for 5 more grams of fiber, or a small banana for 2 grams.
With 8 grams of fiber in a half cup, beans are one of the best sources of fiber. Use them in smoothies, casseroles, soups, salads, pasta, and rice dishes. (You can even try them in sweets, like these 7 incredibly rich desserts using a can of beans.)
Afternoon snack or appetizer
Power your snacks with fiber, and they’ll actually hold you over until dinner. Both edamame (8 grams fiber per cup) and avocados (10 grams fiber per cup) are packed with it. Culinary nutritionist and registered dietitian Julie Harrington of RDelicious Kitchen combines the two in this Edamame Avocado Hummus for nearly 4.5 grams of fiber per serving. Short on time? Harrington suggests buying frozen, shelled edamame to blend with pre-portioned, store-bought guacamole for a quick-to-fix substitute. Dippers add even more fiber. For 4 more grams, spread your hummus on six whole-wheat Triscuit crackers.
Appetizers for parties can also be delish, nutrish, and fiber-ish! In her Buffalo Cauliflower Wing Dip, registered dietitian Kara Lydon swaps out chicken for roasted cauliflower. The vegetarian-friendly dip has 12 grams of fiber, even more when you dip with a cup of carrots and celery to add 3 more grams. Use pre-cut cauliflower to save some chopping time.
MORE: 5 Ways To Sneak More Fiber In Your Diet
13 ways to take your hummus up a notch:
You know fiber is in whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. This recipe combines them all. Pumpkin Lentil Quinoa Chili by registered dietitian Kaleigh McMordie of The Lively Table has almost 14 grams of fiber per 2-cup serving. A meatless chili makes it a great option for a Meatless Monday and Tuesday lunch. Need something quicker? Consider a couple of prepared options: Amy’s Black Bean Chili or Grainful’s Vegetarian Chili.
Registered dietitian Kara Golis of Byte Sized Nutrition says her Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs are a hit with vegetarians and carnivores alike. Walnuts, beans, and eggplant add meatiness and boost the fiber to about 5 grams per 4 “meatballs.” But fiber’s not the only thing going for them. They’re also packed with plant-based protein to keep you feeling full for hours. Serve over whole-wheat pasta or vegetable noodles to increase the fiber content even more. Golis makes a large batch and stores some in the freezer for busy nights. But, if you’re in a pinch, you can find vegetarian meatballs in the freezer section of most large grocery stores. (Want to go vegetarian? Here’s your guide to doing so, while still getting all the nutrients you need in your diet.)
Judy Barbe, Christy Brissette
Good enough for movie night or a party, this popcorn snack mix is studded with dried apricots, coconut, raisins, walnuts, and almonds—and it has almost 6 grams of fiber in 2 cups.
Looking for a sweet somethin’, somethin’? Registered dietitian Christy Brissette of 80 Twenty Nutrition has just the thing. Her Frozen Greek Yogurt Berry Bark is sprinkled with shaved dark chocolate and sliced almonds. Raspberries and blackberries have 8 grams of fiber per cup, giving this bark a big fiber bump. The 1/4 cup of sliced almonds adds 3 more grams of fiber. If you don’t have time to make a frozen yogurt bark, get the health benefits in seconds by mixing 3/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt with 1 cup of mixed berries and 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds. All you need is a spoon.
Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker, and author of Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being. Visit her website, www.LiveBest.info, for everyday food solutions.
High Fiber Diet Plan For Beginners
If you’re looking to kick-start your diet plan, or make your current plan more effective, you should seriously consider increasing your diet intake. Our high fiber diet plan for beginners makes it easy to do so! If you’re not convinced yet, you should definitely read on to learn why it’s so important to increase your fiber intake.
Research shows that fiber is a weight-loss powerhouse. It improves your gut bacteria and decreases your risk of heart disease and diabetes along the way. If you don’t know how to get more fiber in your diet, you’re in the right place. We explain the different types of fiber. In addition, we also make some great recipe recommendations below!
Make it a Slow Transition
In short, fiber isn’t digested by your body. Rather, it is passed through your body, cleaning it up as it goes along. Some fiber is soluble – that means it dissolves in water – but other fibers are insoluble. These insoluble fibers promote the movement of materials through your digestive system. If you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, this type can quickly build up in your system.
In this case, we definitely recommend you move slowly in increasing your fiber intake. Increase your fiber intake slowly to prevent stomach cramps and difficulty passing stool. You should also increase your water intake, especially if you’re trying to take it slow.
Soluble fiber attracts water and dissolves, forming a gel that creates bulk in your digestive system. This type of fiber is really well known for keeping you feeling full. That’s because the gel takes up so much space, you don’t have room for more food!
This type of fiber is found in oats, nuts, seeds, barley, beans, peas, and lentils. Here are some great recipe ideas for increasing your soluble fiber:
- No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Energy Balls
- Chai-Spiced Candied Nuts
- Blackberry and Chia Breakfast Pudding
- Sunflower Lentil Dip
- Herb Barley Salad
- Pearl Barley and Vegetable Minestrone
- Healthy Refried Beans
- Lime Rice and Beans
- Easy Baked Beans
- Honey Roasted Chickpeas
- Salmon Teriyaki with Snow Peas
- Spaghetti with Cauliflower & Peas
- Stir-Fried Snap Peas
- Lentils and Pea Risotto
- Penne Pasta with Lentils & Kale
- One-Pot Meal Balsamic Chicken, Carrots, and Lentils
Insoluble fiber helps move material along in the digestive system, so it’s great at aiding in elimination. It’s not only eliminating foods you eat, but it’s also ridding your body of toxins, too.
This type of fiber is mostly found in vegetables (there are a lot of them, but the highest fiber vegetables are turnips, green peas, okra, sweet potatos, corn, kale, beets, and asparagus). It’s also found in whole grains, and wheat bran. To increase your insoluble fiber, try some of these recipes:
- Banana-Walnut Bran Muffins
- Tabouleh Salad with Whole Wheat Pita Crisps
- Clean Eating Whole Wheat Tortillas
- Strawberry Rhubarb Buckwheat Bars
- Buckwheat Crepes with Fruit Filling and Yogurt
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
- Easy Whole-Grain Pita Chips
- Wild Blueberry, Mint, and Flax Seed Smoothie
- Flax and Apple Raisin Oatmeal
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Turmeric and Cardamom Recipe
- Sweet Potato and Zucchini Casserole
- Slow Cooker Gumbo with Okra
- Turnip, Kiwi, and Pomegranate Salad
- Loaded Southwest Corn and Zucchini Skillet
- Instant Pot Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Sauce
- Baked Kale and Eggs with Ricotta
- Sauteéd Beets & Greens
- Endive Salad with Roasted Beets and Pistachios
- 30-Minute Lemon Basil Shrimp and Asparagus Recipe
Our beginner plans don’t stop with this high fiber diet plan for beginners! We have a guide for almost everything on our Facebook and Pinterest pages, and our newsletter will keep you in the know about what’s coming up next. Check it out!
Meal Planning: The High-Fiber Factor
We’ve all heard that eating more fiber is good for us. The American Heart Association recommends a healthy dietary pattern that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, fish, skinless poultry, nuts, and fat-free/low-fat dairy products, and limits sodium, saturated fat, red meat and added sugars. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, so you have lots to choose from!
Here are some ideas for upping your fiber:
- Eat the whole thing. Choose breads, crackers and cereals made from whole grains. Refined grains are stripped of their outer coat (bran), which removes some of the important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including fiber. Enriched grains have some of the vitamins and minerals added back. Brown rice is a whole grain; white rice is not. Similarly, removing the skin from fruits and vegetables decreases their fiber content. It’s better to eat an apple than to drink apple juice.
- Try something different. Whole-grain pasta may sound unusual, but it’s delicious and doesn’t take any longer to cook than white pasta. Bulgur, quinoa and barley are good side dishes or chilled in salads. Add fresh or frozen vegetables to soups and sauces. For example, mix chopped frozen broccoli into prepared spaghetti sauce or toss fresh baby carrots into stews. Add chopped fresh spinach or frozen spinach to soups. Or make a pesto from spinach and walnuts. Try adding crushed bran cereal or oat bran to muffins and cookie recipes.
- Add some beans. Tuck beans into whole-grain tortillas or pita bread. Add them to soups, salads, and pasta dishes. Toss beans into sautéed veggies or mix them with cooked greens and garlic.
- Rise and shine (and snack.) Start your day with a whole grain cereal or oatmeal. Add some bananas, berries or other fruit. Or, crush up that tasty cereal and mix it with yogurt. Whip up a breakfast smoothie in your blender with frozen fruit and low-fat milk. Fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables, and low-fat popcorn and whole-grain crackers are all good snack choices. And a small handful of unsalted nuts or pumpkin seeds is a portable, healthy snack star!
Article copyright © 2016 American Heart Association. This recipe/article is brought to you by the American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking with Heart © Program. For more articles and simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit heart.org/simplecooking.
Last reviewed 1/2015