10 Easy Tips to Boost Fiber
Most Americans don't get nearly enough, but it's easier than you think.
Eating enough fiber is important for helping to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Research also suggests that consuming fiber-rich foods might boost weight loss by helping you to feel fuller after you eat. But most of us eat only about half as much fiber as we should. Nutrition guidelines recommend 25 to 38 grams per day; the average American consumes only about 15 grams. It's not hard to boost your fiber intake. Do it easily with these 10 simple tips.
1. Choose Whole Fruits
Pure fruit juice, though often rich in the same vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals as the whole fruits it's made from, doesn't contain fiber. Most fruits contain between 2 and 8 grams of fiber.
2. Eat Beans
Beans are a terrific source of fiber: a half cup of cooked navy beans packs a whopping 7 grams of fiber, while the same amount of lentils and kidney beans provide 8 and 6 grams, respectively. Much of this fiber is the soluble kind that benefits blood cholesterol levels. Add beans to soups and salads; serve them as a side with dinner.
3. Buy A Better Breakfast Cereal
There are plenty of tasty fiber-rich cereals out there. Shop around until you find one that you enjoy that also provides at least 8 grams of fiber per serving.
Pictured Recipe: Spring Pizza
4. Go For Whole-Wheat Pizza Crust
You'll boost your fiber intake by 50 percent. Many pizza joints are offering to serve their pies on whole-wheat dough. Also, whole-wheat pizza dough-fresh or frozen-and premade whole-wheat crusts are widely available in large supermarkets.
Pictured Recipe: Summer Vegetable Pasta with Crispy Goat Cheese Medallions
5. Switch To Whole-Wheat Pasta
Or, if you're reluctant to make the switch directly to whole-wheat pasta, transition over by starting with a whole-wheat/white blend.
6. Trade White Potatoes In For Something Sweeter
Sweet potatoes deliver double the fiber of white potatoes. Roast them with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt; add them to stews.
7. Choose Your Daily Bread Wisely
Look for whole-grain breads that provide at least 3 grams of fiber per slice.
Pictured Recipe: Amazon Bean Soup with Winter Squash & Greens
8. Eat From An Edible Bowl
All squash varieties are rich in fiber; some make perfect serving bowls. Hollow out a buttercup squash half and use it to serve a veggie-rich soup or stew. Once you've reached the bottom, you can dig into the fiber-rich bowl for "dessert."
9. Snack On Popcorn
The crunchy whole-grain snack satisfies a "salty" tooth. Four cups of air-popped corn (120 calories) delivers 5 grams of fiber.
10. Bring On Berries
Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are all great sources of fiber (8 grams per cup). Off-season, frozen berries are more widely available and less expensive than fresh ones. Keep a bag or two in the freezer for a quick, healthy snack. Spread the frozen berries on a baking sheet to thaw for half an hour before adding a handful to fat-free yogurt or stirring into your oatmeal.