06/24/2019 Nutrition and Recipes
Eating foods high in fiber is a good thing for your digestive health. That may sound unpleasant in the abstract, but there are simple—and tasty—ways of incorporating fiber into your daily diet.
Fiber is something you are likely familiar with. Commercials on TV try to sell you dry fiber crackers and chalky powders to make you more regular. If you’re constipated, prune juice always seems to be recommended as the cure for what ails. But a high-fiber diet doesn’t have to be gross and unsatisfying. You can achieve healthy digestion while enjoying delicious food. There are so many ways to get more fiber in your daily diet without relying on prune juice or dry crackers!
These five tips for eating more high-fiber foods will have you increasing your fiber intake easily and in a tasty way, too!
1. Eat Greens with Every Meal
Leafy greens are an easy way to consume more fiber because there are so many different varieties. Kale is a popular green and great source of fiber but other greens like Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, arugula, and cabbage are also good options. Think about each meal you eat during the day and how you can add greens into it. Here are a few examples.
- Breakfast: If you’re a smoothie person, adding leafy greens to your smoothie is an easy way to consume them without having to crunch away like a rabbit. They blend up easily and most of the time you can mask the flavor of the greens with citrus or fruits like mango, pineapple, or peaches. If you like to make eggs for breakfast, chop up spinach or Swiss chard and mix into your scrambled eggs and there’s a boost of fiber for you right there!
- Lunch: Salads, sandwiches, wraps, bowls—there are so many ways to incorporate greens into your lunch!
- Dinner: You can add leafy greens to soups, stews, pastas, rice/quinoa dishes, or sauteed on the side with any meal.
If you regularly think about adding a leafy green to your meal, you will find that there are so many ways to use them!
2. Blend It Up
As mentioned above, blending is a fantastic way to consume more fiber. Not only with leafy greens, but with nuts and seeds, too. You can make a big smoothie with tons of high-fiber ingredients. Consider this recipe for example:
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 pear
- 1/2 banana
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
Every ingredient in this recipe (except the water) has fiber in it. Essentially, you’re drinking a large glass of fiber! The natural sweetness of the pear and the banana make it taste delicious. So ditch the prune juice and start blending up your fiber in tasty ways!
Another way you can blend up fiber is with pureed soups. Soups are flavorful and easy to consume—especially when they’re blended! Veggie soups with ingredients like carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, onions, celery, greens, and even beans can make a thick and hearty soup full of fiber while also tasting great.
3. Snack on Fruits and Veggies
When you need a snack, reach for fruits or veggies—natural high-fiber food! This is a simple and straightforward way to consume fiber throughout the day. Here is a list of foods that make great snacks and serve as a great source of fiber:
- Carrot sticks with hummus
- Celery with almond butter
- Broccoli with dairy-free ranch dip
- Cauliflower with hot sauce
- Apple with sunflower seed butter
- Dates with cashews
- Handful of berries
- Pear with cinnamon
- Avocado with sea salt
Choosing a handful of fresh fruit or veggies as a snack instead of foods like chips or beef jerky will help you increase your daily fiber intake easily and naturally.
4. Swap Your Carbohydrates
Have you heard of simple vs. complex carbohydrates? Simple carbohydrates digest quickly as a sugar spike into the bloodstream. Complex carbohydrates digest slowly and the sugars absorb slowly to avoid the spike. This has to do with the fiber in your carbohydrates. If you swap out your simple carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates you increase your fiber intake. These are some simple carb swaps you can do to increase your intake of foods high in fiber.
- Swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes.
- Swap white rice for brown rice.
- Swap white bread for whole-grain bread.
- Swap white pasta for brown rice pasta or zucchini noodles.
- Swap potato chips for lentil crackers.
- Swap white pizza crust for cauliflower pizza crust.
You get the idea, right? If you’ve wondered how to eat more fiber, these easy swaps are an easy start. All it takes is a little creativity!
5. Reduce Meat Consumption
This one is a big shift that will produce big results in your fiber intake. When you reduce your meat consumption, you will naturally increase your fiber consumption. Think about this—a meat chili versus a bean chili. Or a beef burger versus a black bean burger.
A recipe that will give you an idea of an easy way to reduce meat consumption are these Lentil Sloppy Joe’s. Lentils have 20.5 g of fiber per cup versus ground beef that has none! And with the veggies like bell peppers and carrots, you get even more fiber. Here’s how to make them:
Lentil Sloppy Joe’s
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons (heaping) tomato paste
- 3 cups cooked lentils
- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a medium-sized pot, turn the stove to a medium heat. Add in olive oil, onions, bell pepper, carrot, salt, and pepper. Sauté vegetables until soft, about 7–10 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Next, add in the tomato paste, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook for another 5 minutes. Add in the lentils and the rest of the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and turn the heat to low. Let the mixture cook for about 5–10 minutes.
Serve in lettuce cups or on a gluten-free bread of your choosing.
There are many ways to eat more high-fiber foods and to do it ways that are easy and tasty. Each day, think about your meals and how you can incorporate fiber into them. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with! Simply being aware of your fiber consumption of foods high in fiber and following easy tips like the ones above can make a big difference. Once you incorporate a high-fiber diet, you’ll see that the benefits of fiber are manifold.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.