How to Eat More Fiber (and why)

Fiber is crucial for satiety, gut health, weight management, mental health, and so much more. Yet less than 10% of Americans are meeting minimum fiber needs. Let's talk about how you can be in that healthy 10%!

How to Eat More Fiber (and why)

Fiber is crucial for satiety, gut health, weight management, mental health, and so much more. Yet less than 10% of Americans are meeting minimum fiber needs. Let's talk about how you can be in that healthy 10%!

I went into the benefits of eating high-fiber here, and I shared some healthy grocery staples here, but having a fridge full of vegetables that just go bad after a week isn't helping us get any closer to our goals. Before I talk about how to fix this issue, let's do a quick refresher on why fiber is such a life-changing macro-nutrient.

A healthy microbiome has the potential to treat a slew of mental health conditions, weight-management issues, sleep disorders, skin conditions, bone and joint health, and digestive issues. And what's the best way to diversify your gut microbiome? Fiber.

So maybe you want to lose weight, maybe you never feel full, maybe you're struggling with bloating and digestive issues, or maybe you're willing to give anything a shot that could help with your mental health and sleep! Fiber is an incredibly low-risk potential solution.

Let's talk about easy ways to get more into your diet.

vegetables and fruits
Photo by IƱigo De la Maza / Unsplash

Try New Things, But Don't Overwhelm yourself

Cooking is a commitment that already takes a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of mental energy to learn and plan. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and nuts are amazing sources of fiber, but if you buy 30 kinds of produce you're not used to cooking, it's all going to go bad. Nothing feels worse than wasting your time and your money, so start small.

Pick up one new produce item a week that you're not used to cooking (as well as a few that you are) and then make sure you have a recipe lined up for it! Maybe you pick up some pre-cut butternut squash for a cozy fall pasta, or artichoke hearts for a tasty spin on spinach and artichoke dip. Step out of your comfort zone, but do it slowly, and with a plan!

clear glass jars with candies
Photo by little plant / Unsplash

Stock Up on Non-Perishable and Frozen Produce

whether it's pickled, jarred, canned, dried, or frozen, getting produce with a longer shelf life is going to mean a few great things.

  1. You can experiment slowly without things going bad
  2. You can eat a wider variety since you can keep more on hand at once
  3. The nutrient value may be higher, and these foods are often cheaper.

A can of tomatoes could be used in a lasagna, chili, or egg casserole! Canned beans could likewise end up in a chili, or casserole, or get made into veggie burgers! The possibilities become endless when you keep canned, jarred, dried, and frozen produce on hand, and it becomes so much easier to get fiber in without the stress.

Dates stuffed with peanut butter and covered in chocolate and sea salt.

Try High-Fiber Desserts

Dessert doesn't have to feel like it's totally removed from all nutrition! It's totally okay to eat desserts that don't have nutritional value, but when we divorce the concept of dessert from shame and guilt, we can focus on making desserts that taste good and feel good! Dessert is an everyday occurrence in my household, but I also try to choose desserts that will keep me full and satiated.

You could try stuffing some dates with peanut butter and dipping them in chocolate (dates and peanut butter are both great sources of fiber), blending some fresh berries into your baked goods (instead of using flavorings), turning a cake into baked oats, adding some bran into your muffins, or turning breakfast into dessert with blended, chocolate topped oats! The possibilities are endless and higher fiber desserts are the specialty of High Fiber Foodie!

Here are some tips to make any dessert higher in fiber!

  1. Try replacing flour with oat flour (you lose some structural integrity but it oat flour is also gluten-free!)
  2. Roll it in or top it with oats or nuts
  3. Top it with fruit
  4. Mix in fruit like bananas, dates, or carrots (that all add natural sweetness)
  5. Mix in some nuts or seeds
  6. Replace some of the flour with whole-wheat flour
  7. Add nut butter
cereal and three buns
Photo by Wesual Click / Unsplash

Swap Some Carbs (but not all of them)

If you can't stand brown rice, don't force yourself through it over white rice. But maybe you can respect a hearty, whole-grain bread. Maybe you don't like chickpea pasta all the time, but you don't mind it in baked pasta where the lack of gluten is less noticeable! Maybe whole-wheat wraps and tortillas still taste good to you, and you feel like that's a swap you can make!

Here are some swaps you can make, but don't feel guilty if you don't like them! They're here to help you, not make you hate eating healthy.

  1. Multi-grain bread instead of white bread
  2. Brown or wild rice instead of white rice
  3. Whole wheat, oat, or rye flour instead of white flour
  4. Chickpea or whole wheat pasta instead of normal pasta
  5. Whole wheat wraps or tortillas instead of plain flour tortillas and wraps

No matter what you do, just remember that if you hate the journey, it isn't healthy! So make choices that taste delicious and make you feel good.

Check Out Some High Fiber Recipes

About the Author

Hi! I'm Alexandra Massengale, and I've been cooking and baking for over 12 years. My passion is making cheap, convenient, nutrient-dense food that still tastes amazing, and helping to perpetuate healthy eating habits without perpetuating diet culture. I want you to find recipes that make your body and heart happy, without putting any food off limits or making you feel guilty for loving delicious things.

A girl in a dress with her hand in a pool overlaid with 'about me'

By Alexandra Massengale

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