21 Easy Ways to Get More Fiber in Your Diet

Medically reviewed by Mary Ahern MS, RDN, RYT March 04, 2024| Written by Zenda Nel

21 Easy Ways to Get More Fiber in Your Diet

Most people are aware that their diet should provide them with protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. But only a few people give a second thought to fiber. According to the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), only7% of Americans eat enough fiber

Fiber is the indigestible part of vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts, and seeds.

Not consuming enough fiber puts one at risk for several chronic illnesses. In contrast, high dietary fiber intake is linked to numerouspositive health outcomes, including lower body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Such a diet is also reported to offer protection against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal as well as breast cancer.

Fiber also improves digestive health as it regulates bowel movements and prevents constipation.

So, for anyone who struggles to maintain a healthy weight, fiber is good news.  Fiber can assist in weight regulation because fiber makes one feel fuller and eat less food, thereby, preventing weight gain.

Health authorities recommend that men and women consume 38g and 25g of fiber per day, respectively.

One way to ramp up your fiber intake is by addingfiber powder from plant-based sources. This will also help you keep count of how much fiber you’ve ingested. Below are several more simple ideas for you to increase fiber through your diet. 

However, before we begin listing ways to increase fiber in your diet; we advise you to increase your fiber intake gradually. It’s because a sudden increase in fiber may cause some GI tract discomfort. After all, the body needs time to adapt to a new diet, and this is especially true with increases in fiber intake.

Now, let’s get you 21 easy ways to get more fiber in your diet: 

1. Eat Whole Grains

Milled grains like white flour, white rice, and pearl barley have the fiber and germ removed leaving only the starch. In other words, processed grains are refined carbs that flood the bloodstream with sugar, triggering an insulin surge – a potential recipe for weight gain.

In contrast, whole grains are minimally processed and packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber-rich bran. Fiber makes you feel full faster. Also, this feeling of satiation lasts longer than when you eat bread, pasta, and pastries made from white flour. 

Here is a list of grains you can try, provided they are not processed:

  • Oats 
  • Barley 
  • Spelt
  • Buckwheat
  • Rye
  • Bulgur Wheat
  • Millet
  • Quinoa

2. Eat More Lentils and Less Meat 

Try replacing some of the meat in your diet with lentils and beans. They are high in fiber and packed with protein, minerals and vitamins. Studies show that lentilsreduce the incidence of diseases like diabetes, obesity, cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. 

Lentils are quick and easy to prepare. They’re also very filling and so, you don't need a lot. 

A 100g portion of cooked lentils containsbetween 9-17 grams of protein. So, an average serving of lentils will give you more than 15 grams of fiber.  

3. Discover that Beans, Legumes, and Pulses are Comfort Food

There is nothing like a bean stew on brown rice to heat your frozen body in winter. 

You can easily find cans and jars of beans in supermarkets. Alternatively, you can buy them dried which costs far less - making these ideal for families on a budget. They’re also very economical as when you soak dried beans, they double in size. 

You can even soak dried beans overnight, making it easier to cook on weekends - especially if you don't have a lot of time during the week. 

Beans are very versatile and you can use them in stews, tacos, soups, and even patties. There are loads of great recipes online to try out.

Most legumes are high in plant protein, minerals, and fiber.

4. Don't Forget Your Veggies

Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. Apart from soluble fiber, vegetables and fruits also contain loads ofbioactive compounds including phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. 

Scientists suggest that eating more plant-based foods helps to prevent chronic diseases, including heart disease,cancer, stroke,diabetes, andAlzheimer’s disease.

Non-starchy vegetables like spinach, green beans, and broccoli are low in calories and high in fiber. So, eating them can help with weight maintenance. 

5. Dig into Salads

While well-prepared, cooked vegetables are comforting; eating them raw in salads can be equally satisfying and filling. Salads are very versatile – with a little imagination and proper seasoning, just about any raw or cooked vegetable can be turned into a delicious, nutrient-rich salad. 

Combine your salad with a cooked whole grain like bulgur wheat or unpolished rice and add in a few pieces of cheese and, you have got a complete and filling meal packed with goodness. 

Eating salads can also help you lose weight as eating salad before the main meal canreduce overall calorie intake.

6. Eat Fruit Every Day

Unless you hate all fruit, this may be the easiest way to get more fiber in your diet. Fruit tastes delicious and is easy to carry anywhere. Fruit also makes a very satisfying snack - especially if you combine it with high-fat food like cheese or nuts.

All fruit has fiber. But certain fruits are more fiber-rich than others. For instance, berries are particularly high in fiber due to the seeds (like raspberries) and outside “skin” layer (such as blueberries.

However, keep in mind that most fruits are high in sugar. And so, if you have a blood sugar problem, ensure that you are eating high-fiber fruit and not too much at one time. 

Also, choose raw versions of these fruits and not dried ones because dried fruits have more sugar concentrated in small pieces. For instance, one serving of apricot can be 15 g of sugar raw and 69 g dried.

But depending on the fruit; even raw fruits may have a lot more calories. So I present to you fiber-rich options with relatively limited calories to add to your diet:

  • Berries
  • Apricots
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Guavas
  • Grapefruit
  • Green pears

7. Go Nuts for Nuts 

Nuts have a reputation for being high in fats and therefore, are often mistaken as fattening food. Surely, people are beginning to see nuts as healthy snacks but it’s all about portion size. 

After all, nuts can be fattening if you are eating like 2 cups of cashews a day because they are very calorie and fat-dense. But one handful a day is a great addition to your diet.

Nuts don’t contain dietary cholesterol and they’re also a good source of:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Plant protein
  • Healthy fats (most nuts contain monounsaturated fats but walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fats).
  • Phytochemicals 
  • Vitamins especially vitamin E, B6, niacin, and folate.
  • Minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, and potassium.

You can have a few nuts as snacks between meals or you can sprinkle them on salads. 

8. Seeds are not Only for Birds 

Seeds are tiny, but they have a colossal nutritional impact. All seeds provide protein, healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Seeds are nutrient-dense powerhouses that, like whole grains, nuts, legumes, cocoa products, and coffee, protectagainst cardiovascular disease.

Take chia seeds, for instance. They are a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that the human body can't make. 

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain about 11 grams of fiber. 

You can increase your intake of seeds by sprinkling them on your cereal in the morning and on your salads. You can also make them an ingredient in anything that you bake, like biscuits, or pies.

9. Snack on Popcorn 

This is an easy way to get more fiber in your diet. Popcorn is made from corn kernels, and corn is a whole grain. So, you will get about 4 grams of fiber from 3 cups of popcorn.

Popcorn is quick and easy to make on the stove, in the microwave, or using an air popper. You can finish this treat off with a sprinkling of cinnamon, cayenne pepper, or paprika. Just be careful when choosing store-brand popcorn, as they add a lot of butter and salt to it. It is best to buy the plain popcorn and add your own butter or salt at home because whatever you add will definitely be less than what they add!

10. Grab a Handful of Trail mix

Trail mix is a snack that hikers and athletes typically depend on to sustain them during long hikes or long-distance running. It typically consists of a combination of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, raisins, cranberries, coconut chips, and granola.

Trail mix makes a highly nutritious snack and provides ample fiber. You can prepare such a mix according to your taste and grab some whenever you feel like having a sweet treat.

11. Tuck into Tacos

Tacos are a super healthy meal. If you choose wholegrain tortillas and combine them with fresh vegetables and beans, you have a great source of dietary fiber. 

Beans and cheese provide a good amount of protein, and beans are also high in fiber.

In addition, the vegetables that typically go with tacos, like avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions add a range of vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are crucial for a healthy immune system and supporting overall well-being.

Besides, tacos are quick and easy to put together and you can experiment with different flavors.

12. Breakfast on Fruit Yogurt Nuts, Seeds, and Oats

By incorporating fruit, yogurt, nuts, seeds, and oats into your breakfast routine, it is a delicious way to add fiber to your diet. All of these ingredients are fiber-rich. Nuts provide a fair amount of fiber. Oats are a good source of quality protein, carbs, and soluble fiber.

The fiber in oats dissolves in water and forms a thick, gel-like solution in the intestine. The soluble fiber in oats has a component called,beta-glucan which helps reduce cholesterol in the blood and can regulatetype 2 diabetes.

Scientists have also found that beta-glucan fiber plays an important role in gut health.

Fruit, especially berries are known for their high fiber content. You can choose berries according to your taste e.g. blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, loganberries, cranberries, raspberries, and many more. They also add a splash of color and flavor to any dish.

As mentioned earlier, nuts and seeds are good sources of dietary fiber. All in all, this is a breakfast that will set you well on your way to a fiber-rich day.

13. Enjoy a Hearty Bowl of Soup

You may not think of soup as a good source of fiber, but some soups are. Think about it, all vegetables and beans are high in fiber. 

You can make a vegetable soup from your choice of vegetable combinations, or choose to make a specific vegetable soup like tomato, mushroom, onion, or pumpkin.

Beans make hearty soups and add protein, fiber, and minerals to the meal. Use canned beans if you don't have time to soak dried ones. 

You can flavor your soups with loads of dried or fresh herbs and spices. You can further increase your fiber intake by enjoying this soup with a loaf of wholegrain bread. 

Don't forget America's favorite - corn chowder which is easy to make and is high in dietary fiber. 

14. Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

Here is a summer favorite that's migrated from Asia to the rest of the world. This healthy, flavorful meal is super easy and quick to throw together.

Noodles take virtually no time to get cooked. While that is happening, chop some fresh vegetables in small pieces – you can choose from red cabbage (buy already shredded), spring onion, bell peppers, grated carrot, cilantro, fresh basil, and jalapenos. Make the peanut sauce, and toss everything together.

You will get your fiber from the vegetables. 

Though peanuts add protein; you can also add meat, shrimp, tofu, or chicken for more protein.

15. Add Chickpeas to Your Meat Stews

Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans and are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, and vital minerals like iron, copper, and manganese. One cup of chickpeas delivers 12.5 grams of fiber.

Adding chickpeas to your favorite beef stew helps to stretch your stew further without missing out on protein. For families on a budget, adding beans to meat dishes is an economical way to get enough protein at a more affordable price.

And it certainly helps that chickpeas don't have such a strong flavor that it spoils the desired meaty taste of any dish. 

Many pulses, including chickpeas, contain soluble and insoluble types of carbohydrates, which act asprebiotics for beneficial microorganisms in the gut. 

Scientists have linked eating pulses like chickpeas to a reduction in cholesterol, increased satiety, and lower blood glucose levels, whichlower the risk of metabolic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes. 

16. Discover Hummus - the Healthy Condiment

While we are on the topic of chickpeas, let's take a closer look at hummus. Hummus is made by combining chickpeas, garlic, tahini (sesame paste), olive oil, and lemon juice. You can also add a ton of other ingredients including jalapenos, cilantro, roasted red peppers, and so much more! This bean dip originates from the Middle East and has found enthusiastic acceptance around the globe - even before globalization shrunk the world.

As you can see from the ingredients, hummus is high in fiber. In addition to fiber, you will be adding a good dollop of protein and healthy fats from the sesame paste and the olive oil.

Hummus is eaten as a dip, but you can add it as a side to any meal. 

As an afternoon snack, hummus is a healthy alternative to treats like granola bars and potato chips. Compared to eating granola bars,snacking on hummus and pretzels keeps people fuller for longer and leads to a greater reduction in blood sugar levels.

17. Have a Healthy Sandwich for Lunch

Don't think for a moment that you can't enjoy a sandwich when you are trying to increase your fiber intake. All sandwiches aren't created equal. There is the white bread grilled cheese and bacon sandwich and then there's a healthier choice.

You can make or buy, a brown bread or whole-wheat sandwich filled with fresh vegetables, cheese, and a healthy dressing. Vegetables that work well are tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, cucumber, grilled eggplant, raw or grilled onions, and avocados. 

Top with fresh herbs, olive oil, and lemon dressing, and you have yourself a healthy, fiber-dense meal. 

18. Don't Forget Dessert – Enjoy Your Apple Pie

I bet you never imagined that apple pie could be anything other than a sweet treat that's bad for your health. It's not, when made intentionally!

Apples are high in fiber and packed with vitamins, phytochemicals, and minerals. Use whole-wheat flour or oats for the crust to add more fiber. You can also consider not peeling the apples as that would add more fiber to your pie. 

You can also substitute some of the sugar with finely chopped dates which are rich in fiber and natural sugars. Adding some chopped walnuts as a topping will also increase the pie’s fiber content. 

19. Snack on Dates

Dates are a super easy way to add fiber to your diet. They are sticky and sweet and make a wholesome snack on their own. But they are also satisfying when combined with nuts or cheese.  

Just two dates provide at least5.9 grams of fiber. The fiber in dates has been shown to contribute to regularbowel movements, and so, dates prevent constipation. 

Apart from fiber, dates also offer a long list of nutrients, including calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, and vitamin B6. Additionally, dates have no dietary fat or cholesterol.

However, dates contain high levels of natural fruit sugar (fructose). So, it’s a good idea to not have too many dates. Four dates, or one-quarter cup, is a typical serving size, and that alone is almost 12 grams of fiber!

20. Turn Fresh Fruit into a Healthy Dessert

Fruit tends to be rich in fiber. Instead of a baked dessert or ice cream and chocolate sauce, make yourself a fresh fruit salad. You will be getting plenty of fiber, natural sugars, and vitamins. 

Combine your fresh fruit salad with chopped nuts and seeds for added fiber and protein. This will also make you feel full for longer periods.

21. Who Doesn't Love Chili?

There are many ways to make chili. For a high-fiber version, add loads of vegetables and beans to your normal chili recipe. Use canned beans to speed up the process and use different beans to add texture and taste. 

Serve with cornbread made from whole cornmeal for extra fiber. It’s a good idea to make your cornbread as it’s pretty easy and won't have all the unhealthy ingredients of the bought variety.

I hope this article helped you add the appropriate fiber amount to your diet.