In a world that cares so much about protein… I want you to care about fiber.
That’s why I included a detailed chart + FREE printable list of high fiber foods at the bottom of this article.
Because protein is awesome. But fiber is the real MVP for transforming your health, managing your weight, and just overall feeling fab with food. It’s a registered dietitian favorite for so many good reasons.
In this article, we’re diving deep on this life-changing little nutrient. You’ll learn what fiber is, where you can find it, what happens if you eat too much (uh oh!), and evidence-based tips to eat more fiber without overhauling your diet.
What is fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that humans can’t digest.
It’s found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. We all know it’s good for you–but it’s the fact that it can’t be digested that makes it so cool and beneficial.
You see, most carbohydrates are broken down by enzymes and other processes into smaller sugars. And these smaller sugars are used as energy in the body. Your morning slice of toast becomes glucose, which travels through your blood to fuel your cells and brain.
But fiber doesn’t do that! Your body can’t break it down the same way–so it remains mostly untouched as it travels through your digestive tract.
This means that fiber can’t provide energy, aka calories. But it can offer some unique health benefits.
Types of fiber: soluble and insoluble
There are two main types of fiber–soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel. It slows the digestion of food and helps manage blood sugar and lower cholesterol. Soluble fiber is found in psyllium, oats and beans.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and acts more like roughage. It keeps things moving through your digestive tract and promotes a healthy gut. Insoluble fiber is found in foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
But here’s the thing–most foods contain more than one kind of fiber.
So don’t stress too much over these categories. Instead, focus on getting more fiber from a variety of different foods!
We all know fiber helps you poop. But the benefits don’t stop there!
Fiber is great to support digestive health, heart health and weight management. And the coolest part is, the research to support a high fiber diet is constantly expanding too!
Here’s more health benefits of dietary fiber:
- Prevents constipation
- Improves microbiome diversity (your good gut bugs!)
- Improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS
- Supports weight management
- Helps regulate appetite
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Reduces risk for type 2 diabetes
- Reduces chronic inflammation
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduces risk of colorectal cancer and other cancers
- Supports mental health
- Improves longevity
How much fiber should you eat?
The dietary guidelines for fiber depend on where you live.
In the US, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories. In Canada, it’s recommended that women get 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should aim for 38 grams per day.
Most of us don’t even get half of the recommended amount of fiber. Gah!! You don’t need to follow these guidelines exactly, but we should all be focusing on getting more fiber overall.
Dietitian tips to eat more fiber
There are so many foods that contain fiber… it can be a little overwhelming!
If you love having lots of choices, scroll down to check out my detailed high fiber foods chart or download your printable list of high fiber foods.
Or, try these simple dietitian tips to eat more fiber without overhauling your diet:
- Add berries to breakfast. One of the easiest ways to eat more fiber is to add high fiber berries like raspberries or blackberries to a breakfast you already love.
- Swap white bread for whole wheat. This simple swap can add 4 grams of fiber to your sandwich! Look for a loaf with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice.
- Sip on smoothies. Smoothies are an easy source of fiber when you load them with frozen fruit, veggies, oats and nuts. Enjoy them for breakfast or snack!
- Eat more oats. Oats are high in fiber all on their own, and they’re the perfect vessel for fiber-rich toppings like fruit, nut butter and hemp seeds too.
- Snack on popcorn. This delicious salty snack is also a high fiber whole grain!
- Serve meat with beans. Get in the habit of adding lentils, canned black beans or canned white beans to ground meats. You can do a 1:1 ratio of meat to beans.
- Add an extra color to dinner. Challenge yourself to add a second colorful veggie to dinner with precut butternut squash, roasted broccoli, or precooked beets.
- Try half rice, half cauliflower rice. You don’t need to cut out carbs to get more fiber–just mix cauliflower rice into whatever grain you already love.
List of high fiber foods
Here is a chart of high fiber foods divided by category: grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and fats. These were all sourced from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the United States Department of Agriculture FoodData Central.
Want something printable? Download the FREE printable list of high fiber foods instead.
High Fiber Grains
Fiber-rich grains include high fiber cereal, popcorn, quinoa, oats, whole wheat pasta and cooked spelt.
Here is a full list of high fiber grains:
- Shredded wheat cereal – 6.2 grams per cup
- Popcorn – 5.8 grams per cup
- Bran flakes cereal – 5.5 grams per 3/4 cup
- Cooked quinoa – 5.2 grams per cup
- Cooked bulgar – 4.1 grams per 1/2 cup
- Dry oats – 3.8 grams per 1/2 cup
- Cooked whole wheat pasta – 3.8 grams per cup
- Cooked spelt – 3.8 grams per 1/2 cup
- Cooked teff – 3.6 grams per 1/2 cup
- Cooked brown rice – 3.1 grams per cup
- Cooked pearled barley – 3 grams per 1/2 cup
- Oat bran – 2.9 grams per 1/2 cup
- Whole wheat crackers – 2.9 grams per ounce
- Whole wheat roti – 2.8 grams per ounce
- Whole wheat tortillas – 2.8 grams per ounce
- Whole wheat bread – 1.9 grams per slice
High Fiber Fruits
Fiber-rich fruits include guava, raspberries, blackberries, asian pear, passionfruit and kiwi.
Here is a full list of high fiber fruits:
- Guava – 8.9 grams per cup
- Raspberries – 8 grams per cup
- Blackberries – 7.6 grams per cup
- Gooseberries – 6.5 grams per cup
- Asian pear – 6.5 grams per medium fruit
- Passionfruit – 6.1 grams per 1/2 cup
- Persimmon – 6.0 grams per fruit
- Pear – 5.5 grams per fruit
- Kiwi – 5.4 grams per cup
- Grapefruit – 5 grams per fruit
- Apple with skin – 4.8 grams per fruit
- Durian – 4.6 grams per 1/2 cup
- Cherries – 3.9 grams per cup
- Starfruit – 3.7 grams per cup
- Orange – 3.7 grams per medium fruit
- Dried figs – 3.7 grams per 1/2 cup
- Pomegranate seeds – 3.5 grams per 1/2 cup
- Mandarin orange – 3.5 grams per cup
- Tangerine – 3.5 grams per cup
- Banana – 3.2 grams per medium fruit
- Apricots – 3.1 grams per cup
- Prunes – 3.1 grams per 1/4 cup
- Strawberries – 3 grams per cup
- Dates – 3 grams per 1/4 cup
- Dried blueberries – 3 grams per 1/4 cup
High Fiber Vegetables
Fiber-rich vegetables include cooked artichoke, canned pumpkin, cooked brussels sprouts, sweet potato, parsnips and winter squash.
Here is a full list of high fiber vegetables:
- Cooked artichoke – 9.6 grams per cup
- Canned pumpkin – 7.1 grams per cup
- Cooked taro root – 6.7 grams per cup
- Cooked brussels sprouts – 6.4 grams per cup
- Cooked sweet potato – 6.3 grams per cup
- Cooked parsnips – 6.2 grams per cup
- Raw jicama – 5.9 grams per cup
- Cooked winter squash – 5.7 grams per cup
- Cooked yam – 5.3 grams per cup
- Cooked broccoli – 5.2 grams per cup
- Turnip greens – 5 grams per cup
- Avocado – 5 grams per 1/2 cup
- Cooked cauliflower – 4.9 grams per cup
- Kohlrabi – 4.9 grams per cup
- Cooked carrots – 4.8 grams per cup
- Cooked collard greens – 4.8 grams per cup
- Cooked kale – 4.7 grams per cup
- Cooked snow peas – 4.5 grams per cup
- Cooked cabbage, savoy or red – 4.1 grams per cup
- Cooked okra – 4 grams per cup
- Cooked green beans – 4 grams per cup
- Cooked corn – 4 grams per cup
- Baked potato with skin – 3.9 grams per medium
- Cooked swiss chard – 3.7 grams per cup
- Raw carrots – 3.6 grams per cup
- Canned hearts of palm – 3.5 grams per cup
- Cooked mushrooms – 3.5 grams per cup
- Raw bamboo shoots – 3.3 grams per cup
- Cooked turnip – 3.1 grams per cup
- Raw red bell pepper – 3.1 grams per cup
- Cooked rutabaga – 3.1 grams per cup
- Cooked plantains – 3.1 grams per cup
- Cooked dandelion greens – 3 grams per cup
- Cooked asparagus – 2.9 grams per cup
- Cooked onions – 2.9 grams per cup
- Cooked mustard greens – 2.8 grams per cup
- Cooked beets – 2.8 grams per cup
- Celeriac – 2.8 grams per cup
High Fiber Legumes
Fiber-rich legumes include navy beans, white beans, lima beans, green peas, adzuki beans, and split peas.
Here is a full list of high fiber beans and legumes (cooked):
- Navy beans – 9.6 grams per 1/2 cup
- Small white beans – 9.3 grams per 1/2 cup
- Lima beans – 9.2 grams per cup
- Green peas – 8.8 grams per cup
- Adzuki beans – 8.4 grams per 1/2 cup
- French beans – 8.3 grams per 1/2 cup
- Split peas – 8.2 grams per 1/2 cup
- Lentils – 7.8 grams per 1/2 cup
- Lupini beans – 7.8 grams per 1/2 cup
- Mung beans – 7.8 grams per 1/2 cup
- Black turtle beans – 7.7 grams per 1/2 cup
- Pinto beans – 7.7 grams per 1/2 cup
- Cranberry beans – 7.6 grams per 1/2 cup
- Black beans – 7.5 grams per 1/2 cup
- Chickpeas – 6.3 grams per 1/2 cup
- Great northern beans – 6.2 grams per 1/2 cup
- Pigeon peas – 5.7 grams per 1/2 cup
- Kidney beans – 5.7 grams per 1/2 cup
- White beans – 5.7 grams per 1/2 cup
- Black eyed peas – 5.6 grams per 1/2 cup
- Soy beans – 5.2 grams per 1/2 cup
- Fava beans – 4.7 grams per cup
- Edamame – 4.1 grams per 1/2 cup
High Fiber Fats
Fiber-rich fats include pumpkin seeds, coconut, chia seeds, almonds, chestnuts, sunflower seeds and pine nuts.
Here is a full list of high fiber fats:
- Whole pumpkin seeds – 5.2 grams per ounce
- Coconut – 4.6 grams per ounce
- Chia seeds – 4.1 grams per tbsp
- Almonds – 3.5 grams per ounce
- Chestnuts – 3.3 grams per ounce
- Sunflower seeds – 3.1 grams per ounce
- Pine nuts – 3.0 grams per ounce
- Pistachios – 2.9 grams per ounce
- Flax seeds – 2.8 grams per tbsp
- Hazelnuts – 2.8 grams per ounce
FUN FACT: Did you know fiber is found in some spices too? 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon contains 4 grams of fiber, and 1 tbsp of cacao powder contains 2 grams of fiber!
High Fiber Meal Ideas
Try these high fiber meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
High fiber breakfasts:
- Nutella overnight oats with banana
- High protein chia pudding with berries
- Egg and avocado breakfast sandwich on whole wheat bread
High fiber lunches:
- Chicken salad with seed crackers and veggies
- Air fryer frittata with roasted sweet potatoes
- Black beans and cheese quesadilla on whole wheat
High fiber dinners:
- Easy nacho salad with black beans
- Pesto chicken quinoa bowls
- Whole wheat spaghetti with beef and lentil bolognese
Check out this article for 30 high fiber healthy snack ideas!
FREE Printable list of 90+ high fiber foods (PDF Download)
Prefer something you can print and post on your fridge?
>>> Click here for a FREE printable list of high fiber foods by a registered dietitian.
Fiber is a super beneficial nutrient found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
Eating more fiber doesn’t just improve your digestion–it also reduces your risk of disease, and helps regulate appetite and make cravings feel less intense.
If you want to eat more fiber, save this blog post or download your free printable list here.
Thank you for explaining the different kinds of fiber and the benefits of each.
You mention that constipation can result if too much fiber is consumed. What is considered too much? I’ve heard of consuming too much protein can cause constipation. I thought fiber kept it moving. Thanks again.
Thank you so much for your question! With fiber, ‘too much’ is relative. But it’s more about just working your way up slowly! So if you’re currently getting 10 grams per day, we wouldn’t necessarily want you jumping up to 30 grams overnight, or it can cause some digestive distress. What I usually recommend with clients is making 1-2 swaps at a time, or focusing on increasing fiber at one meal or snack at a time. Then you want to give it a few days, see how your tummy is feeling, and continue adding more if everything is feeling well tolerated. So for example, you could focus on adding more fiber at breakfast by opting for whole wheat bread and adding a cup of berries on the side. After a few days, if your digestion is feeling good, then you can move on to lunch! Does that help? Let me know if you have any other questions!
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