How to Add Fiber to Your Diet - dummies

By Jane Kirby, The American Dietetic Association

Fiber doesn’t contain nutrients, but it is essential to a healthy diet. A high-fiber low-fat diet is healthful for your heart and digestive system. Looking for quick and easy ways to add fiber to your diet? Try some of these delicious tips:

  • For a side dish, have 1/2 cup of any one of the following: lentils (5 grams), cooked dried beans (7 grams), cooked whole grains, such as wheat berries (2 grams) or cracked wheat (3 grams). Mix it with 1/2 cup of one of these vegetables: peas (3 grams), green beans (2 grams), or spinach (1 gram).

  • Make an opened-face sandwich with a sliced tomato (1 gram) and a slice of whole-grain toast (2 grams). Top it with 1 ounce of low-fat mozzarella.

  • Select your cereals wisely. You have tons of high-fiber cereals to choose from now — some offering up to 10 grams per serving. Look for cereals that provide at least 2 grams of fiber per serving.

  • Reach for fiber-rich fruits and think of them as ingredients, not just as snacks — especially a pear (4 grams), an apple (3 grams), a couple of figs (3 grams), 1 cup of strawberries (3 grams), or a banana (2 grams). Add them to salads, cereal, and yogurt or use them as a topping for pancakes and waffles.

  • Make short-grain brown rice a staple (4 grams of fiber per cup). It has a rich, nutty flavor and tastes much better than the long-grain variety. If you can’t find it at your local supermarket, check health food stores or Asian supermarkets.

  • Sneak vegetables in wherever you can — pizza, soups, stir-fries, rice, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. The sky’s the limit!

  • A surprising source of soluble fiber is reduced-fat foods. The guar gum that many reduced-fat foods contain in place of fats is soluble fiber. This doesn’t give you license to replace fresh produce and whole-grain products with faux fats, but they do contribute a marginal amount of healthful fiber. For example, one piece of a brand-name fat-free chocolate loaf cake contains 1 gram of fiber, as does one fat-free oatmeal cookie, a full-fat one contains only 1/2 gram. Surprisingly, even 2 tablespoons of fat-free ranch dressing has 1/2 gram of fiber.