Eating foods that contain fiber is good for your health. A diet high in fiber has been shown to help prevent cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancers. Constipation and hemorrhoids may also be prevented by eating the proper amount of dietary fiber. Fiber can make us feel full longer and fiber-rich foods are usually lower in fat, calories and sodium.
There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. It dissolves in water and is found in some fruit, nuts and seeds, oat bran and legumes. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit with edible peel or seeds. It doesn’t dissolve in water and provides bulk to stools. Eating a variety of foods each day helps us to obtain a variety of fiber.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that women consume 25 grams of fiber daily and 38 grams daily for men. The amount of fiber needed is reduced for adults over 50; women need 21 grams and men 30 grams.
Tips & Techniques
The following tips are helpful to adding more fiber in your daily food pattern.
- Try wild or brown rice, instead of white rice.
- Steam or stir fry vegetables just until they are tender but still crisp.
- Consume fresh fruits rather than fruit juices.
- Have fresh fruit for dessert instead of sweets.
- At lunch have a wrap using a whole-grain tortilla.
- Make cookies, muffins, or breads with canned pumpkin or applesauce.
- Use whole-grain pasta instead of white.
- Top salad with nuts instead of croutons.
- Eat oatmeal or whole grain cereal.
- Add dried fruit to cereal.
- Add vegetables to casseroles or your favorite soup.
- Try salad or soup recipes that use quinoa, buckwheat or bulger.
- Leave the skin on fruits and vegetables.
The following recipes increase dietary fiber, are MyPlate savvy and easy to serve anytime.
White Bean & Tomato Salad
Courtesy of University of Florida IFAS Extension
- In a small bowl mix beans, olive oil, and pepper.
- Add tomatoes, onion, and oregano; toss to mix.
Nutrition Facts (Per 1/2 cup): Calories: 230, Fat: 7.5g, Fiber: 7.5g. Serves 4.
High-Fiber Convenience Snack Mix
Courtesy of University of Maine Cooperative Extension
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Heat margarine in shallow baking pan in oven until melted.
- Remove pan from oven and stir in garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce.
- Add cereal, nuts, and pretzels.
- Mix until all pieces are coated.
- Heat in oven 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and spread on absorbent paper to cool.
Nutrition Facts (per 1 cup): Calories: 206, Fat: 6.6g, Carbohydrates: 34.7g, Fiber: 3.4g, Protein: 5.2g, Sodium: 405mg, Cholesterol: 0mg. Serves 10.
For additional healthy, quick, high fiber recipes, check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Pear-Berry Breakfast Crisp or Broccoli Salad. Lastly, check out Colorado State University’s Dietary Fiber fact sheet, it includes a chart with the dietary fiber content of specific foods.
- The Ohio State University Extension. Fiber Fills You Up, Fills Your Wallet, and Fuels Your Health. 2016.
- University of Florida IFAS Extension. Nutrition for Health and Fitness: Fiber in Your Diet. 2012.
- University of Maine Cooperative Extension. High Fiber Convenience Snack Mix. 2011.