Dietary fiber is a unique and little known component in foods. While it contains no actual nutrients, it’s essential in protecting against diseases, and has been associated with lowering body weight.
Recommendations for women are a minimum of 25 grams a day, and 38 grams a day for men – but only 5% of people reach those thresholds.
Fruits and veggies offer some of this sought after fiber, but the highest amounts come from foods that are traditionally high in calories, like whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Getting the recommended intake of dietary fiber is therefore a balancing act of consuming enough fiber but limiting calories.
One way to do this is starting your day with a high fiber, whole-grain breakfast – an all-bran cereal is quick and easy, providing about 5 grams of dietary fiber. At lunch, add a half-cup of cooked lentils or beans to your salad for another 7 to 8 grams. For a snack, a cup of raspberries offers about 8 grams. At dinner time, consider a cup of broccoli (5 grams) or acorn squash (9 grams) as healthy side dishes to reach that dietary fiber requirement for the day.
Other nutrient-dense, high fiber foods you can add to your diet can include:
- 1 cup of cooked pearl barley, 6 grams.
- 1 cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans), 12 grams.
- 3 cups air-popped popcorn, 3.6 grams.
- 1 medium artichoke, 10.3 grams.
- 1 medium pear, 5.5 grams.
- 1 ounce almonds, 3.5 grams.
If you can eat a fiber-full food at every meal or snack, you’ll be sure to reach that daily fiber goal!
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