14 Simple Ways to Increase Your Fiber Intake

1
Why Your Body Needs Fiber

Lentil soup
Kate Brittle/Moment/Getty Images

Fiber is found in plants, where it functions as a skeleton to help plants maintain their shape and structure. Humans can't digest the fiber so when we eat plant-based foods, it passes through the small intestine into the colon where it helps maintain regularity and bowel health. 

The problem is that most people don't get enough fiber in their diet, but we're about to change all that. Look through the slideshow to see some of our favorite ways to boost your fiber intake today.

2
Make a Fruit Salad

Fruit salad can be high in fiber.
Rosemary Weller/Getty Images

A fruit salad makes an excellent addition to a meal or can serve as dessert. It doesn't have to be complicated -- just combine some of your favorite fruits and berries and add a little fruit juice or yogurt as a dressing. You can mix in a few nuts for even more fiber. 

3
The Whole Orange Instead of Just Juice

Oranges are high in fiber.
Maximilian Stock Ltd./Getty Images

 We're not saying orange juice is not good for you. It's got plenty of vitamins and minerals. However, when you eat the whole orange you're getting much more fiber, it's juicy and sweet, and you still get all the vitamins and minerals.

4
Eat the Skins of Apples and Pears

Apple and pears are high in fiber.
Andrew Unangst/Getty Images

Picky eaters may not be all that enthusiastic about eating the skins that cover fruits. While you wouldn't eat a banana peel or an orange rind, you can enjoy apples and pears with the coverings intact. Not only does the skin protect the tender flesh inside, it's got more than half the fruit's fiber. 

5
Don't Peel Your Potatoes

Whole roasted potatoes are high in fiber.
Poppy Barach/Getty Images

You might see a theme growing here -- the bits that you might normally toss into the compost are probably good for you. Much of the fiber in a potato is in the skin, and there's no reason the skin can't be worked into your dish -- even mashed potatoes are delicious when made with unpeeled potatoes. Here's a pro tip: don't buy potatoes that have a greenish color to the skin, it makes them taste bitter.

6
Buy 100-percent Whole Grain Bread

Whole grain bread is high in fiber.
Junior Gonzalez/Getty Images

White bread has been a thing for decades -- people often prefer the lighter flavor and texture compared to whole grain bread that's heavier, both taste and texture-wise. But the bran that's removed during the flour making process takes a lot of the fiber with it. Whole grain breads may be a bit of an acquired taste, but don't be surprised if, after eating them for a while, you don't care for plain old white bread anymore.

7
Add Vegetables to Canned Soup

Soup with vegetables can be high in fiber.
Brian Macdonald/Getty Images

Canned soup is nice to have because it's convenient. Instantly boost the fiber content (and overall nutrition) by adding in some freshly cut or frozen vegetables to your soup and simmer until they're soft. Carrots, peas or potatoes are all good choices. Pro-tip: go for low-sodium soups and stews when you can.

8
Switch to Brown Rice

Brown Rice is high in fiber.
Imagewerks/Getty Images

Brown rice is a better choice than white rice because it retains the high-fiber bran. It's got a nuttier flavor and firmer texture compared to white rice. Not big on brown rice? Try wild rice or quinoa. They're both higher in fiber than white rice and are delicious on their own or combined with brown rice into a pilaf.

9
Snack on Nuts

Nuts are high in fiber.
Tetra Images/Getty Images

Nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts and cashews, are good sources of fiber, protein, and beneficial fats. They're perfect for an afternoon snack that'll tide you over until dinner time. All nuts are good (either raw or roasted) but watch out for the flavored and sugar coated nuts that add extra calories you don't need. 

10
Add Berries to Yogurt

Add berries to yogurt to get fiber.
Joe Biafore/Getty Images

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, protein, and beneficial bacteria. Serve a superfood dessert by topping a velvety smooth Greek yogurt with blueberries or strawberries. Add a few nuts or a little granola for more fiber. Drizzle with a little honey for a sweeter touch. 

11
Try Steel Cut Oatmeal

Steel cut oatmeal is high in fiber.
Debbi Smirnoff/Getty Images

 We know that oatmeal can seem a little boring, but we've got the fix for that. Start with steel cut oats. We know they take a while to cook, but trust us, they're worth the wait, and you may never want regular quick-cook or rolled oats again. Top your oatmeal with berries, dried fruits and a touch of honey or brown sugar for a perfect tummy-warming breakfast.

12
Eat a Salad as a Meal

Eat a salad as a meal to get more fiber.
Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

One of our favorite ways to boost fiber and cut calories is to eat a salad that's hearty enough to serve as a meal. Start with a bed of flavorful greens such as kale, arugula or spinach. Add fresh veggies and top with a little vinaigrette. If you feel you need more protein, top it off with some cooked shrimp, chicken or salmon. 

13
Served Beans or Lentils as a Side

Dry beans in cups.
Lew Robertson, Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Legumes are super-high in fiber. Serving beans or lentils with lunch or dinner instantly boosts your fiber intake dramatically. Try vegetarian baked beans or serve black beans, lentils, or red beans as a side - they're all high in fiber and loaded with nutrients. Oh, and canned beans are fine -- just rinse them before cooking. 

14
Swap Fresh Veggies for Your Chips

Healthy Snack
DNY59 / Getty Images

Chips and dip are popular foods for parties or binge-watching your favorite TV shows. But they're high in fat and usually low in fiber - so dump the chips and serve crunchy fresh veggies instead. 

15
Try Whole Grain Pasta

Whole wheat pasta and vegetables is high in fiber.
William Mahar/Getty Images

Most pasta is made with refined white wheat flour because it provides the best texture. However, more and more whole grain pastas are hitting the shelves and they're absolutely delicious. 

Continue Reading