Making sure we have enough fiber-rich foods in our diet can be difficult. We hear terms like “water soluble fiber” and “non-water soluble fiber” and have no clue what it means. Plus, food manufacturers market half of their products as having “added fiber”, but then the food inside the package tastes like cardboard. It’s enough to make you want to dump Metamucil in your morning OJ just so you don’t have to think about it. However tempting it may be to take the easy way out; there are much more appetizing ways to create a high fiber diet.
What exactly is fiber? It is the element in plants that our bodies do not absorb. It passes quickly through the digestive tract, mostly intact, and isn’t broken down like other foods. As it travels through the body, it removes harmful waste and toxins. Eating a low-fiber diet causes constipation, bloating and inflammation.
The amount of fiber you need depends on various factors, but the daily recommended intake is 14 grams per 1000 calories. Use the following list of fiber-rich foods and suggested recipes to help plan your meals:
1. Navy Beans; 19 grams per cup
Serve navy beans as a side dish to most any meal, or try this delicious Quick Vegetable and Navy Bean Stew.
2. Split Peas, cooked; 16.3 grams per cup
3. Pinto Beans, cooked; 15.4 grams per cup
4. Kidney Beans; 13 grams per cup
5. Pumpkin, canned; 13 grams per half cup
Add pumpkin to your morning oatmeal, smoothie or yogurt. For a savory flavor try this Pumpkin Ravioli recipe.
6. Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), cooked; 12.5 grams per cup
7. Artichokes; 10.3 grams
8. Soybeans, cooked; 10.3 grams per half cup
9. Avocado; 10 grams
Holy guacamole, avocados are a yummy ingredient in recipes, or when used as toppings for sandwiches and salads.
10. Fava beans, cooked; 9 grams per cup
11. Green Beans, cooked; 8.8 grams per cup
Green beans are excellent in casseroles or as a side dish. For something different, try a Pizza with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans.
12. Raspberries; 8 grams per cup
Raspberries are a yummy addition to smoothies, lemonades and vinaigrettes. For a super fiber meal, try this Raspberry, Avocado and Mango Salad.
13. Lentils, cooked; 7.8 grams per half cup.
14. Prunes; 7.7 grams per cup
Prunes are not just for your grandmother anymore. They are quite delicious in both sweet and savory dishes. Instead of basic chocolate chip cookies, bake these sophisticated Brandied Prune and Chocolate Chunk Cookies. And, unless your grandma is Julia Childs, she wasn’t making this gourmet French Duck with Prunes recipe for Sunday dinner.
15. Black Beans, cooked; 7.5 grams per half cup
16. Lima Beans, cooked; 6.6 grams per half cup
Lima beans, also known as Butter beans, are a staple in Southern cooking. They are excellent when used as a side dish or added to soups, but in “The South” a dinner of Butter Beans and Cornbreadis a slice of heaven here on earth.
17. Brussels Sprouts, frozen, cooked; 6.4 grams per cup
20. Shredded Wheat Cereal; 5.7 grams per cup
Of course you can simply eat this as a bowl of cereal for breakfast, or you can find other fun ways to incorporate it into recipes, such as Grab ‘n Go Peanut Butter Bars; Shredded Wheat Blueberry Muffins or Cinnamon Raisin Shredded Wheat Cookies.
21. Summer Squash, cooked; 5.7 grams per cup
22. Turnip Greens, cooked; 5.6 grams per cup
Turnip greens are a Southern dish, normally boiled, with ham hock or bacon and served with cornbread. (The secret to removing the bitter taste of greens is to add a bit of sugar while cooking.) You can also make Stuffed Turnip Greens; Mashed Turnips and Potatoes with Turnip Greens and Spaghetti Squash with Crispy Bacon and Turnip Greens.
23. Rye Bread; 5.6 grams per 2 slices
Rye bread is bread made from a mixture of flour and rye. You can bake homemade bread using this New York Deli Rye Bread recipe.
24. Broccoli, frozen, cooked; 5.5 grams per cup
Broccoli can be prepared in a variety of ways. For more flavorful options try Cheesy Roasted Broccoli Patties or Broccoli Salad with Sunflower Seeds and Cranberries.
25. Pecans; 5.4 grams per 2 ounces (40 halves)
For an alternative to pecan pie try vegan Healthy Pecan Pie Bites. You can also use this flavorful nut for more than just desserts. This Cajun Pecan Crusted Catfish recipe uses crushed pecans for the crust.
26. Raisins, seedless; 5.4 grams per cup
27. Tomato Paste, canned; 5.4 grams per half cup
Instead of buying pre-made sauce loaded with unhealthy ingredients, make your own Tomato Sauce for pasta dishes.
28. Bran flakes; 5.2 grams per cup
Use cereal to bake your own Bran Muffins.
29. Wheat Bread; 5.2 grams per 2 slices
When choosing bread, look for “whole wheat” as opposed to simply “wheat”. Whole wheat indicates the grain is still intact and cannot be absorbed by the body.
30. Baked Beans, canned; 5.2 grams per half cup
Don’t just grab a can of baked beans and pour them into a bowl. Instead add some extra veggies and yummy goodness.
31. Spinach, canned; 5.1 grams per cup
Serve this super-easy Spinach Dip at your next party.
32. Pears; 5.1 grams per medium-sized fruit
For healthier Baklava, try this recipe that replaces filo dough with sliced pears.
33. Quinoa, cooked; 5 grams per cup
Use quinoa [keen-wah] in place of rice, couscous or risotto, like in this Tabbouleh recipe.
34. Low-fat Granola with Raisins Cereal; 4.8 grams per half cup
Eat as a healthy breakfast, or make your own granola bars with this recipe.
35. Carrots, frozen, cooked; 4.8 grams per cup
For an impressive and healthy meal try this Sesame-Honey Tempeh and Quinoa Bowl.
36. Peanuts; 4.6 grams per 2 ounces (56 nuts)
Peanuts are a great way to add fiber, cut down on calories and provide a satisfying crunch to any dish. For something new and different, try this Sesame Peanut Noodle Salad.
37. Frozen Peas, cooked; 4.4 grams per half cup
38. Potato, flesh and skin, baked; 4.4 grams per medium spud
Tired of boring baked potatoes? Here are 23 new options for you to try.
39. Sweet Corn, canned, cooked; 4.2 grams per cup
40. Frozen Mixed Vegetables; 4 grams per half cup
Make a big batch of comfort food with this Vegetable Soup recipe using frozen mixed veggies.
41. Oatmeal; 4 grams per cup
Embrace your inner-child with this PB&J Oatmeal recipe.
42. Okra, cooked; 4 grams per cup
43. Walnuts; 4 grams per 2 ounces (30 halves)
Replace breadcrumbs with crushed walnuts for a healthy crunchy chicken recipe.
44. Sunflower Seed Kernels; 3.9 grams per quarter cup
45. Raw Blackberries; 3.8 grams per half cup
For a decadently healthy breakfast try this Whole-grain Banana Pancakes with Blackberry Syrup recipe.
46. Almonds; 3.5 grams per ounce (24 nuts)
Soak almonds in water for a super healthy snack.
47. Brown Rice; 3.5 grams per cup
48. Popcorn, air-popped; 3.5 grams per 3 cups
49. Sauerkraut; 3.4 grams per half cup
50. Mango; 3.3 grams per medium-sized fruit
Get more fiber in your kids’ diet with these Fruity Mango Roll-Ups.
51. Apple; 3.3 grams per medium-sized fruit
52. Strawberries, raw; 3.3 grams per cup
53. Oranges; 3.1 grams per medium-sized fruit
54. Bananas; 3.1 grams per fruit
For a refreshing treat make these frozen Vegan Banana Split Fruit Bars.
55. Wild Rice, cooked; 3 grams per cup
56. Barley, cooked; 3 grams per cup
When the weather gets cold, warm up with this Beef and Barley Soup.
57. Pistachios; 3 grams per ounce (47 nuts)
58. Kale, cooked; 3 grams per cup
59. Corn, fresh, cooked; 2 grams per ear
For the easiest way to cook corn-on-the-cob, use this genius man’s microwave method.
60. Figs, dried; 1.6 grams per 2 medium
As you can see, there’s no excuse for the average American to only get an average of 15 grams of fiber a day. There are so many delicious recipes using fiber-rich food. Even if you’re not ready to change your diet completely, simply add fiber to your regular meals and recipes. Your taste buds will never know and your body will thank you.