Fiber: it’s something we all know we should eat more of. Only 3% of Americans are eating the recommended amount of fiber per day. The recommendation for men ages 14 – 50 is 38 grams per day, and for women ages 19 – 50 is 25 grams per day. Fiber promotes healthy digestion, helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood, keeps you fuller longer (which may promote healthy weight loss or maintenance), and helps stabilize and control blood sugar levels (for even energy throughout the day).
Here are 5 helpful tips to increase your fiber intake:
Not only are beans affordable, they’re a great source of fiber, too. It’s easy to add canned beans to soups and salads that you already enjoy. Or try something new, like this tuna and white bean salad! If you’re not used to eating beans, try adding a small amount (about ¼ cup) to your meal. Once your body gets used to the extra fiber, try adding ½ cup to soups, salads, and other dishes. Pro-tip: Drain and rinse canned beans before adding to dishes to reduce their “musical fruit” qualities. Here are some other tips and tricks for using beans.
Sneak In Some Spinach
Consider adding a handful of spinach to smoothies, soups, or stir-frys for an easy fiber boost! Spinach adds a pop of green color to smoothies, and can be easily added at the end of making your favorite dishes since it cooks down almost instantly. Keep a bag of fresh in your fridge and a bag of frozen in your freezer so you always have some on hand.
Something To Chew On
Instead of drinking orange juice, consider eating a whole orange. Fruit juice contains little fiber, and can have just as much sugar as soda! When you consume the whole fruit instead of just the juice, the fiber in the fruit helps you feel fuller, and helps give you more sustained energy instead of a burst that quickly fades.
Aim to fill half your plate with low-carb vegetables like asparagus, cucumbers, leafy greens, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, and more! Not only are these vegetables low in calories, but they’re a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They’re also versatile and can be enjoyed either cooked or raw in a variety of dishes. Hate veggies? Need inspiration? Here’s some easy ways to make low carb veggies that don’t suck.
When making mashed potatoes, why not leave the skin on? When consumed without the skin, white potatoes can cause blood sugar to rise quickly. However, when the skin is left on, blood sugar will rise more slowly thanks to the fiber within the potato skin. This helps stabilize energy so you don’t crash later! Try this recipe for mashed potatoes that also sneaks in cauliflower for an extra boost of fiber and nutrients!
Reviewed by Emily Matson, MS, RDN
on February 25, 2020. Emily is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Brook Experts.