Fiber is one of the most important nutrients the body needs to function properly. Every balanced diet includes foods that are rich in fiber because the mineral helps prevent heart problems, diabetes and even some types of cancer. It’s also an important player in maintaining weight and losing extra pounds because it improves digestive health.
Yet, about 90 percent of Americans don’t get enough fiber on daily basis, according to studies. Current fiber intakes are alarmingly low, other research says. The recommended daily intake of is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men.
So what are some tricks you can apply to make sure you get more of this key mineral?
“If you know your numbers, there is really no need for fiber supplements,” Maria A. Bella, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietician and founder of Top Balance Nutrition. “I usually suggest spreading out fiber from natural foods throughout the course of the day to avoid stomach discomfort.”
Some people also tolerate cooked produce better than raw, she adds. “Cooking does not eliminate or reduce the fiber content.”
Berries (8 grams of fiber per cup) are a safe choice. Have some with a cup of yogurt for breakfast. Another morning option is black beans with egg whites, edamame with lime juice and red pepper flakes for a snack. You can have black bean/split pea/or lentil soup for lunch, root vegetable stew for dinner, and pumpkin parfait for dessert.
1. Beanito Chips
“Beans are the main ingredient,” Bella says. “Tortilla chips go well with salsa. Lime is the newest flavor.” They are very high in fiber and protein. Stick with one individual bag.
2. GG Scandinavian Crisp Breads
“The original flavor is CARD BOARD, but is natural and SUPER heart healthy,” Bella says. “And it certainly kills hunger.” Pumpkin and sesame seed flavors are much better tasting, but have less fiber and are slightly higher in calories
3. Flaxseed Crackers
“No starch - taste good, high in fiber and heart-healthy omega 3 fats,” Bella says. You can pick any flavor.
4. Fiber Gourmet Products
Crackers or pasta are a perfect choice. They are super high in fiber and taste very close to the real deal, according to Bella.
Other fiber-rich foods you can snack on include:
Artichoke, 1 medium = 10.3 grams
Beans, black 1/2 cup = 5.2 grams
Blackberries, 1/2 cup = 3.8 grams
Lentils, 1/2 cup = 7.8 grams
Pear, 1 medium = 5.1 grams
Quinoa, 1/2 cup = 5 grams
Raspberries, 1/2 cup = 4 grams
Apple, with skin, medium = 3.3 grams
Banana, medium = 3.1 grams
Eggplant, 1/2 cup = 1/3 grams
Kale, cooked, 1/2 cup = 1.3 grams
Pineapple, fresh, 1/2 cup = 1.1 grams
Pumpkin, canned, 1/2 cup = 3.6 grams
Kiwi, one medium = 2.3 grams
Apricots, 2 each = 1.4 grams
Cabbage, 1/2 cup = 1.4 grams
Broccoli, 1/2 cup = 2.5 grams
Cauliflower, 1/2 cup = 2.5 grams