Surprising High-Fiber Foods (That Actually Taste Good!)
Increase This Essential
Fiber is definitely a ho-hum topic in nutrition, but the reality is that we need to give it a little more attention. Fiber lowers the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, and plays a key role in weight-loss success. That's right—high-fiber foods actually help you lose weight. The reason is three-fold: fiber slows the digestion process so you feel full longer, it adds bulk to food to also fill you up, and most fiber-rich foods are low in calories and fat. The end result is that you can eat a lot of high-fiber foods for fewer calories and feel full and content—both key things when trying to stick to a diet. Most Americans need to double or triple their current fiber intake to meet recommendations (28 grams for a 2000 calorie diet or 14 grams per 1000 calories). If your fiber intake is low, then work to gradually increase intake and also increase water consumption.
We didn't think our love for the avocado could get any bigger—until we checked out its fiber content. Half of a medium avocado not only gives you a healthy dose of "good" fat but also delivers 7 grams to 8 grams of fiber. Eating sliced avocado or guacamole on tacos takes getting your fiber to a whole new culinary level. Start with our Simple Guacamole, which can be thrown together last minute.
All fruits are good sources of fiber, but raspberries pack in a bigger punch than others with 8 grams of fiber per cup. What makes them even better is that 1 cup has around 65 calories and 50 percent of vitamin C needs. Toss them in a smoothie or salad or on top of cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal.
Sure, the gluten-free grain has become a trendy health food, but there's good reason for it. One cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of fiber, almost 2 grams more than what brown rice offers. It also has three times as much iron and double the protein. Season it as a pilaf, serve it as a hot cereal, or toss it as a salad. Better yet, try it in some of our favorite quinoa recipes, such as Quinoa with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms, Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing, and Quinoa Pizza Crust.
Mashed Sweet Potato
The peel on potatoes is where a lot of fiber is held, so we were pleasantly surprised when we saw the fiber content of sweet potatoes without peel. One cup of cooked, mashed sweet potato has almost 7 grams of fiber, which makes it a sweet and healthy side dish to fill up on. For something with more flavor, check out Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots, or keep it simple and just serve a baked sweet potato.
Almonds and Almond Butter
One-fourth cup of roasted whole almonds has 4.5 grams of fiber and 3 tablespoons of almond butter has 4.8 grams. While this may seem lower than other foods, fiber amounts for almonds and almond butter are based on a smaller serving size. So, check their fiber content out again, and you'll see that almonds pack a lot of fiber in a small amount. Add almond butter to whole-grain toast, apple slices, or oatmeal. Snack on a handful of dry-roasted almonds, or sprinkle on salads to boost fiber intake.
Soup with Legumes
If "soup with legumes" doesn't make your mouth water, then think White Bean and Kale Stew, Red Lentil-Pumpkin Soup, All-American Chili, Quick Black Bean Soup, and Spinach, Pasta and Pea Soup (left). One serving of these soups provides between 6.5 grams and 11 grams of fiber. Legumes (think beans, peas, and lentils) are naturally high in fiber, so most any soup, stew or chili that features legumes as a main ingredient is going to be high in fiber, too. Make sure to choose broth-based recipes, and watch high-fat toppings like cheese and sour cream.
There's nothing better than biting into a ripe, juicy pear—except maybe the fact that a medium pear has 5 to 6 grams of fiber. If you’re not a pear fan or can't find ripe ones, then an apple is your next best choice. A medium apple has 5 grams of fiber. Spread a tablespoon of almond butter on pear or apple slices for an afternoon treat with 7 grams fiber.
If you haven't tried edamame, now is the time. Edamame are young soybeans with a slightly nutty flavor and smooth texture. They also happen to be a great source of fiber (1 cup has 8 grams fiber). Try edamame tossed into stir-fries, grain pilafs, or salads. Or, season and sauté them for a snack like Thai Sesame Edamame.
Whole-Grain Pita Bread or Sandwich Wraps
Whole-grain bread provides fiber, but the calories in two slices of bread can add up. To get fiber and keep calories low, whole-grain pita pockets and wraps like our Turkey and Swiss Wrap with Carrot Salad are great sandwich solutions. Numbers differ slightly among brands, but whole grain pita pocket halves have on average 5 grams of fiber for around 100 calories. Whole-grain wraps range from 6 to 10 grams fiber for around 120 calories.
Kohlrabi and Turnip Greens
The name kohlrabi means German turnip, and, similar to traditional turnips, you can eat both the leaves and root. Both parts are high in fiber but the greens usually have a little more. In fact, one cup of either type of green gives you 5 grams fiber. Check out Honey-Glazed Kohlrabi with Onions and Herbs, Kohlrabi Slaw (left), and Turnip Greens with Caramelized Onions.
This warm breakfast cereal is filling thanks in part to the 5 grams of fiber it offers per 1/2 cup of dry rolled, old-fashioned or steel cut oats. It's the soluble kind that's predominant in oats and responsible for lowering cholesterol levels. To get the full fiber and health benefits, steer clear from the refined instant and quick-cooking varieties, and instead opt for homemade versions like our Lemon-Blueberry with Mascarpone Oatmeal.