Sylvia Meo, R.D.
How to Reach Your Fiber Goals Daily
Updated: Feb 16
Fiber is in my opinion one of the most underrated nutrients, it is an incredibly important substance we find in plant-based foods that is not only completely indigestible, but also offers our body absolutely no nutrition. On the other hand, it provides numerous benefits to our digestive and overall health. Sounds like an oxymoron? Bare with me...
We categorize fiber in two different types: insoluble and soluble.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and acts like a broom in our digestive system. It sweeps the toxins and waste out, adds bulk to our stools, keeping us regular and constipation at bay!
Soluble fibers are the opposite, they dissolve in water, often forming a gel-like substance that helps slow down digestion, control blood sugar levels, promote satiety and fullness, thus reducing hunger, and help lower cholesterol levels. Others will have a fermentable quality and be beneficial to our digestive health and microbiome by feeding our gut bacteria. We now know that a healthy microbiome is directly linked to lowered overall inflammation in the body, better mental and immune health!
Sadly, fiber is one of the most under-consumed “nutrients” for Canadians. Most adults¹ and children² barely reach about 50% of the recommended amount of fiber intake per day, which represents 25 grams daily for women (and kids 4 years and older³) and 38 grams for men. While these numbers may seem high at first, it actually isn’t very difficult to reach the daily recommendations, especially when we focus our diet on whole foods.
To help you reach your goals faster, here are some of my top favorite, high fiber foods. A food that is considered to be a high and very high source of fiber provides 4 and 6 grams of fiber per serving respectively, so adding these more often to your diet helps you attain your daily fiber goals much faster. To put it in perspective, if you are a woman, a food that has 6 grams of fiber per serving delivers 25% of your daily fiber needs. But keep in mind that if you are just starting to add more fiber to your diet, make the transition a smooth one by adding a little at a time, while also increasing your water intake.
High Fiber Fruits
· Persimmons (khaki): 1 medium fruit has a whooping 6 grams of fiber
· Pear: 1 medium fruit has 5.5 grams of fiber
· Avocado: ½ medium sized avocado provides 7 to 9 grams of fiber
· Raspberries: 1 cup has 8.4 grams of fiber
Skip the juices and stick to whole fruits. Keeping and eating the edible peels and skins on your fruits and vegetables can increase your fiber intake by 33%.
High Fiber Vegetables
· Brussel sprouts: 1 cup cooked has about 6 grams of fiber
· Artichokes: 1 medium artichoke or ½ cup cooked artichoke hearts deliver just over 7 grams of fiber
· Green peas: ½ cup cooked delivers 5.5 grams of fiber
· Collard greens or spinach: 1 cup cooked has 7 to 8 grams of fiber
Did you know that filling half of your plate with vegetables provides a healthy 8 grams of fiber intake. An easy and simple way to help you ensure 40-60% of your daily fiber intake.
High Fiber Grains
· Rolled or quick oats: 1 cup cooked has 4.5 grams of fiber
· Whole wheat spaghetti: 1 cup cooked has 6 grams of fiber
Looking for a grain-free, carb-free, low calorie alternative?
Konjac noodles also provide 6 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving.
· Quinoa: 1 cup cooked delivers 5.5 grams of fiber (plus lots of protein)
· Popcorn air-popped: 3 cups has about 4.5 grams of fiber (and only 100 calories)
· "WHOLE" grain bread: 1 slice can have from 3 to 5 grams of fiber
Don’t be fooled by the names on food labels or the color of the food…for more fiber look for products that list as first ingredients whole grains. Also when possible opt for sprouted whole grain products as they are easier to digest and we absorb all their healthy nutrients more efficiently.
High Fiber Legumes
This is an easy one because all legumes are fiber-packed delivering a boosting 4 to 6 grams of fiber per ½ cup serving, but the following pack even more!
· Navy or white beans: ½ cup cooked 9.5 grams of fiber
· Lentils: ½ cup cooked has 7.8 grams of fiber
· Black beans: ½ cup cooked provides 7.5 grams of fiber
Legumes are a great addition to any dish (soups, sauces, salads, dips, spread, etc.) boosting both its fiber and protein content. But did you know they can also be your secret ingredient to making the most perfectly moist, delicious and healthy muffins, cakes and brownies? Try it, I promise they won’t disappoint!
High Fiber Nuts & Seeds
There are so many reasons to choose nuts and seeds more often, two of which are their high heart healthy fats and fiber content.
· Chia seeds: 1 tablespoon packs in 3.7 grams of fiber
· Whole roasted hemp seeds: 1 tablespoon has 2.25 grams of fiber
· Flax seeds: 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds have 1.9 grams of fiber
· Pumpkin seeds: ¼ cup provides 3 grams of fiber
· Almonds: ¼ cup whole almonds has 4.5 grams of fiber
· Pistachios: ¼ cup has 3.25 grams of fiber
Nuts and seeds are fiber powerhouses, use them daily sprinkled on your toast, yogurt, cereal or salads, or for a quick on-the-go snack. Don't forget they are more caloric due to their heart healthy fats, so a little goes a long way!
Want to get a quick and easy breakfast recipe that will start off your day with a whooping 14 to 16 grams of fiber? Try my Foodful Fiberful Overnight Oats.
Data Sources: Canadian Nutrient File Food Data Central