Fiber Focus: Why You Need Fiber and How to Add It to Your Diet

Chances are you’ve heard of fiber and its numerous benefits. Eating more fiber can help you lose weight and improve your health. It is also linked to lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure, a healthy colon and steadier blood sugar levels. 

On average, Americans eat about 10 grams of fiber each day – significantly less than the fiber recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. They advise men to consume 38 grams and women 25 grams of fiber each day, respectively.  It doesn’t have to be a chore to add more fiber to your diet, and the rewards are great.

Breakfast
Get more fiber at breakfast! A University of Liverpool study showed that eating a high fiber breakfast can help you eat less throughout the day, which could lead to weight loss, as you’re consuming fewer calories. 

Fruits and Veggies
Load up with fruits and veggies at every meal. MyPlate suggests filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Add berries to your breakfast, snack on a high fiber apple and munch on black beans, hummus, avocado and red peppers during dinner.

Whole Grains
Choose whole grains instead of processed grains. Whole grains are high in fiber as well as iron and B-vitamins. Eat brown rice instead of white rice, whole wheat pasta instead of refined.

Go Meatless
Several times a week, skip meat and choose instead vegetarian choices, like fiber-rich beans and legumes.  This is an easy swap to add extra fiber.

High Fiber Foods
Maximize your fiber intake by adding these fiber-rich foods to your diet: black beans, lentils, barley, bran, raspberries, broccoli, pears, apples, oats, corn, whole wheat spaghetti, artichoke, green peas and avocado.

Read Labels
Read nutritional labels to see how much fiber is in your food. A label that says it’s an “excellent” source of fiber has five or more grams of fiber per serving.

Find dietitian-recommended menu choices like these with complete nutrition information (including fiber) on Healthy Dining Finder!