Fiber is found in plants, where it functions as a skeleton to help plants maintain their shape and structure. Humans can’t digest the fiber so when we eat plant-based foods, it passes through the small intestine into the colon where it helps maintain regularity and bowel health.  Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet, but we’re about to change all that. Here are some of our favorite ways to boost fiber instantly.

Make a Fruit Salad

 A fruit salad makes an excellent addition to a meal or can serve as dessert. It doesn’t have to be complicated — just combine some of your favorite fruits and berries and add a little fruit juice or yogurt as a dressing. You can mix in a few nuts for even more fiber.

The Whole Orange Instead of Just Juice We’re not saying orange juice is not good for you — it’s got plenty of vitamins and minerals. However, when you eat the whole orange you’re getting much more fiber, it’s juicy and sweet, and you still get all the vitamins and minerals.

Eat the Skins of Apples and Pears

Picky eaters may not be all that enthusiastic about eating the skins that cover fruits. While you wouldn’t eat a banana peel or an orange rind, you can enjoy apples and pears with the coverings intact. Not only does the skin protect the tender flesh inside, it’s got more than half the fruit’s fiber.

Don’t Peel Your Potatoes

You might see a theme growing here — the bits that you might normally toss into the compost are probably good for you. Much of the fiber in a potato is in the skin, and there’s no reason the skin can’t be worked into your dish — even mashed potatoes are delicious when made with unpeeled potatoes. Here’s a pro tip: don’t buy potatoes that have a greenish color to the skin, it makes them taste bitter.

Buy 100-percent Whole Grain Bread

White bread has been a thing for decades — people often prefer the lighter flavor and texture compared to whole grain bread that’s heavier, both taste and texture-wise. But the bran that’s removed during the flour making process takes a lot of the fiber with it. Whole grain breads may be a bit of an acquired taste, but don’t be surprised if, after eating them for a while, you don’t care for plain old white bread anymore.

Add Vegetables to Canned Soup

Canned soup is nice to have because it’s convenient. Instantly boost the fiber content (and overall nutrition) by adding in some freshly cut or frozen vegetables to your soup and simmer until they’re soft. Carrots, peas or potatoes are all good choices. Pro-tip: go for low-sodium soups and stews when you can.

Switch to Brown Rice

Brown rice is a better choice than white rice because it retains the high-fiber bran. It’s got a nuttier flavor and firmer texture compared to white rice. Not big on brown rice? Try wild rice or quinoa. They’re both higher in fiber than white rice and are delicious on their own or combined with brown rice into a pilaf.

Snack on Nuts

Nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts and cashews, are good sources of fiber, protein, and beneficial fats. They’re perfect for an afternoon snack that’ll tide you over until dinner time. All nuts are good – either raw or roasted — but watch out for the flavored and sugar coated nuts that add extra calories you don’t need.

Add Berries to Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, protein, and beneficial bacteria. Serve a superfood dessert by topping a velvety smooth Greek yogurt with blueberries or strawberries. A few nut or a little granola adds even more fiber and texture. Drizzle with a little honey for a sweeter touch.

Try Steel Cut Oatmeal

 We know that oatmeal can seem a little boring, but we’ve got the fix for that. Start with steel cut oats. We know they take a while to cook, but trust us, they’re worth the wait, and you may never want regular quick-cook or rolled oats again. Top your oatmeal with berries, dried fruits and a touch of honey or brown sugar for a perfect tummy-warming breakfast.

Eat a Salad as a Meal

One of our favorite ways to boost fiber and cut calories is to eat a salad that’s hearty enough to serve as a meal. Start with a bed of flavorful greens such as kale, arugula or spinach. Add fresh veggies and top with a little vinaigrette. If you feel you need more protein, top it off with some cooked shrimp, chicken or salmon.

Served Beans or Lentils as a Side

Legumes are super-high in fiber. Serving beans or lentils with lunch or dinner instantly boosts your fiber intake dramatically. Try vegetarian baked beans or serve black beans, lentils, or red beans as a side – they’re all high in fiber and loaded with nutrients. Oh, and canned beans are fine — just rinse them before cooking.

Swap Fresh Veggies for Your Chips.

Chips and dip are popular fare for parties or as a TV-watching snack. But they’re high in fat and usually low in fiber – so dump the chips and serve crunchy fresh veggies instead. Make a low-cal vegetable dip , or offer a little salad dressing on the side.

Try Whole Grain Pasta

Most pasta is made with refined white wheat flour because it provides the best texture. However, more and more whole grain pastas are hitting the shelves and they’re absolutely delicious. Serve whole wheat pasta with vegetables for a super high-fiber meal.

Learn More About Fiber and Your Health

 Are you a numbers person? According to the Institute of Medicine:

The recommended intake for total fiber for adults 50 years and younger is set at 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, while for men and women over 50 it is 30 and 21 grams per day, respectively, due to decreased food consumption.

Here’s the fiber content of some of our favorite foods.

  • one-half cup cooked navy beans – 9.5 grams fiber
  • one-half cup baked beans, canned – 9.0 grams fiber
  • one-half cup cooked lentils – 7.8 grams fiber
  • one-half cup cooked black beans – 7.5 grams fiber
  • one-half cup dates – 7.1 grams fiber
  • one cup raisin bran cereal – 7.0 grams fiber
  • one-half cup cooked kidney beans – 6.5 grams fiber
  • one-half cup cooked lima beans – 6.7 grams fiber
  • one-half cup canned tomato paste – 5.9 grams fiber
  • one-half cup cooked garbanzo beans – 6.2 grams fiber
  • one-half cup bean with ham soup – 5.6 grams fiber
  • one-half cup frozen red raspberries – 5.5 grams fiber
  • one medium bran muffin – 5.0 grams fiber
  • one-half Asian pear – 5 grams fiber
  • one-half cup cooked artichoke – 4.5 grams fiber
  • one-half cup frozen peas, cooked – 4.4 grams fiber
  • one cup oatmeal – 4.0 grams fiber
  • one-half cup frozen mixed vegetables, cooked – 4.0 grams fiber
  • one-half cup raw blackberries – 3.8 grams fiber
  • one-half cup canned pumpkin – 3.5 grams fiber
  • one-half cup cooked whole wheat spaghetti – 3.4 grams fiber
  • 24 almonds – 3.3 grams fiber
  • one apple with skin – 3.3 grams fiber
  • one-half cup cooked barley – 3.0 grams fiber
  • one medium orange – 3.0 grams fiber
  • one cup broccoli – 2.4 grams fiber
  • one red sweet pepper – 2.4 grams fiber
  • one nectarine – 2.3 grams fiber
  • 28 peanuts – 2.3 grams fiber
  • one slice whole grain bread – 2.0 grams fiber
  • 15 walnut halves – 2.0 grams fiber


United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27. Accessed January 24, 2015.

About the writer – Shereen Lehman is a writer, instructor, and nutritionist, and she’s been the nutrition expert since 2004.

Shereen is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Association of Health Care Journalists. She is a member of the editorial board for Natural Medicines, an organization that systematically reviews scientific evidence on complementary and alternative medicine.

In 2013, Shereen was named to Sharecare’s Top 10 Social HealthMakers on Nutrition.


If you would like to explore how reflexology can help you with your digestive health, please schedule a free consultation with the HealingPlaceMed by calling 508 359-6463.

For the Healing Place Medfield’s free report “Proven Alternative Ways to Heal Common Chronic Digestive Problems: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Can Keep You From Healingclick here.



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