Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.
May 18, 2011
Tomato-Basil Zoodle Salad

Pictured Recipe: Tomato-Basil Zoodle Salad

If you're looking forward to your beach vacation and want to look and feel your best-forget dieting and focus instead on eating more fiber. Fiber helps us lose weight and prevent weight gain-no dieting necessary. Fiber-rich foods not only fill you up faster and keep you satisfied longer, they also prevent your body from absorbing some of the calories in the foods you eat. Chances are, you aren't getting the recommended amount-the average American gets a measly 17 grams of fiber a day. Women should aim for at least 25 grams of fiber each day, while men should shoot for at least 38 grams.

Here are 5 fresh, in-season summer foods that will help you get your fill.

Strawberry-Chocolate Greek Yogurt Bark

1. Strawberries

A cup of halved strawberries offers 3 grams of fiber and about 50 calories. You'll also get more than a full day's recommended dose of vitamin C-an antioxidant that helps keep your skin looking younger. Use strawberries in smoothies, yogurt parfaits and salads.

Garlic-Parmesan Hasselback Zucchini

2. Zucchini

A cup of cooked zucchini delivers 3 grams of fiber, but only about 30 calories. Plus, zucchini contains lutein and zeaxanthin-two antioxidants that help prevent age-related macular degeneration. Zucchini can be spiralized into veggie "noodles", grilled and added to summer casseroles.

Tomato & Green Bean Casserole with Spicy Herb Pesto

3. Green Beans

One cup of cooked green beans has 44 calories and boasts 4 grams of fiber. It's also an excellent source of vitamin K, an important for maintaining strong, healthy bones. Add green beans to soups, stir-fries and bean salads.

Garlic Butter Campfire Corn

4. Corn

You'll get 5 grams of fiber (and 177 calories) in a cup of cooked corn. Or in a large ear of corn, 3 grams and 127 calories. Besides helping with weight loss, the insoluble fiber in corn feeds good bacteria in your gut, which aids in digestion and helps keep you regular. Enjoy corn in salsas, as a pizza topper and in salads.

Easy Smoothie Bowl

5. Raspberries

A cup of raspberries has a whopping 8 grams of fiber-and for only 64 calories. Another boon: some of the fiber is soluble-which helps lower cholesterol.

Watch: How to Make Garlic-Parmesan Hasselback Zucchini