Many people equate fiber with good digestion, but that’s just one of the many health benefits of eating enough fiber. Fiber can help you manage your blood sugar, keep you full and satisfied between meals (because it slows digestion), and it’s been shown to have a positive effect on cholesterol. Whether you’re looking to lower your already high cholesterol or prevent it from getting too high, fiber may be the key that you’re missing.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve and helps to move waste through our digestive system, nicknamed “nature’s broom.” Soluble fiber dissolves and is responsible for helping lower blood cholesterol levels by attaching to cholesterol and removing it as waste.
The best way to increase your fiber intake is through food. Soluble fiber is found in peas, beans, apples oats, oat bran, barley and citrus fruit. Here are some of the best ways to add fiber to your day.
Add a high-fiber fruit or vegetable.
EX: avocado, black beans, apple, pear, or oranges and yes, bananas! A medium banana adds about 3 grams of fiber to your diet.
To boost your produce intake try this:
- Add fresh or frozen berries to your oatmeal or yogurt
- Saute spinach (or another vegetable) with your scrambled eggs
- Make a batch of egg muffins with veggies like spinach, red bell pepper or mushrooms.
Sprinkle on chia or flax: chia and flax seed are a great source of soluble fiber. You can sprinkle either on toast with nut butter or avocado, in a smoothie, or on oatmeal or yogurt.
Choose a fiber-rich whole grain. Not all grains are created equal. Whole grains including oats and whole wheat bread contain a good dose of fiber, whereas refined grains contain very little, if any. To identify a true whole grain bread look at the ingredients label. It should say “whole wheat” or “whole grain” as the first ingredient.
BeBOLD bars are a good source of fiber because of the oats, nuts, and chia seeds. Check out some of our BeBOLD breakfast recipes:
When eating on the run it can be hard to choose a fiber-rich meal if you aren’t really thinking about it. With a few tips and simple prep, it can be easier than you think.
- Swap out refined potato chips for fruit instead
- Choose to eat whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice. Juices lack fiber.
- Try this recipe for BeBOLD Salad for an easy lunch. Pair with your favorite protein like roasted or grilled chicken or a bean salad to make it a filling and satisfying lunch.
Increase veggies. Start slowly increasing the amount of veggies on your plate, making up to half your plate vegetables.
- Add easy to prepare veggies such as carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers or sliced peppers. Hummus or a little ranch go great with these, too.
- Try a vegetable, bean, peas or lentil soup
- Prepare a veggie wrap with a whole grain tortilla and hummus spread
Don’t ditch the starchy vegetables like potatoes, plantains or yucca. But keep the skin. Eating the skin of white potatoes is where most of the fiber is found. This goes for baked potatoes, red potatoes, fingerling potatoes, and any type of white potato.
- Top a baked potato with chili that has beans and veggies for more fiber
- Choose baked, roasted or boiled potatoes more often than french fries
Eat more legumes such as beans, peas or lentils. These foods are some of the best sources of fiber around. Legumes often have a mix of both types of fiber (insoluble and soluble), so you’re getting more than just cholesterol-reducing benefits.
- Add beans to salads, soups or make a healthy chili
- Mix them in with ground turkey and seasoning
- “Meatless Monday” meal, swap meat for legumes
High Fiber Snack Ideas
Grabbing a healthy, fiber-rich snack can help you reach the recommended amount of fiber and feel full between meals. Below are some of my favorite high fiber snacks.
- BeBold Bars
- Apple and almonds or nutbutter
- Wasabi Peas or roasted chic peas
- Veggies with hummus
- Whole grain crackers topped with avocado or nut butter
KeyVion Miller RDN, LD/N is a registered dietitian with a culinary nutrition certification and owner of The Miller’s Kitchen, a food and nutrition blog. She enjoys sharing mostly recipes with <10 ingredients and tips to help get more homemade meals on the table.