29 August 2017Great Food Sources of Fiber

Do you struggle to consume enough fiber? You can boost fiber with careful food choices from a number of different food groups. Getting enough fiber does not mean you have to eat high carb. Regardless of diet type or eating style preference, getting enough fiber in our diet is important for health. Fiber supports weight control, healthy gut bacteria, and is linked to a lower risk for diverticular disease (pouches in large intestine), constipation, hemorrhoids, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer.

If you eat a variety of plant foods, then it is quite easy to meet the Dietary Reference Intake for fiber, which is 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories consumed. This is also the value that MyNetDiary recommends. Legumes, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds all contain fiber in their whole food forms (cooked or raw). To save you a little time, I have listed foods that are great sources of fiber.

Fresh Fruit - Berries

All fresh fruits provide fiber, but some types provide more than others. When you are trying to boost fiber while controlling carbs and calories, think of fresh (or unsweetened frozen) berries. The standard portion size for berries is 1 cup compared to 1/2 cup for other fruits (for the same calories and carb content). This larger portion is especially helpful for people trying to lose weight and/or for people with diabetes. Interestingly, while most berries are high in fiber, strawberries and blueberries contain only 3-4 grams per serving - similar to the amount found in other fruits.

Food Serving Kcal Fiber
Raspberries, raw 1 cup 64 kcal 8 grams
Blackberries, raw 1 cup 62 kcal 7.6 grams
Boysenberries, frozen 1 cup 66 kcal 7 grams
Blueberries, raw 1 cup 84 kcal 3.6 grams
Strawberries, raw 1 cup, sliced 53 kcal 3.3 grams

By the way, avocado is a high fiber fruit that is also very high in healthy fats and calories. One cup of cubed avocado contains 240 kcal, 13 g carbs, and 10 g of fiber. If you are trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain, limit portion size of this very nutritious fruit.

Legumes (Dried Beans & Split Peas)

All legumes (e.g. chickpeas, black beans, lentils, split peas, etc.) are naturally high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. The standard portion size is 1/2 cup cooked and provides about 100 kcal, 1 carb choice (11-20 g total carbs), and 8 g of fiber.

Although legumes contain carbs, their glycemic index is fairly low - that is, the blood glucose response after eating legumes is much lower than if the same amount of white bread was consumed. This is due to their complex carbohydrate and fiber content. So, for those of you who are trying to control your blood glucose and do not want to give up starch, 1/2 cup of cooked legumes is a healthy option that is very filling.

Nuts & Seeds - Chia

Chia seed is an excellent source of fiber that is gluten-free and low in carbs. Like all seeds, chia is high in calories and heart-healthy fats. Chia does not have to be ground up - we can absorb the beneficial nutrients from the whole seed

Food Serving Kcal Fiber
Chia seed, black 1 tablespoon 60 kcal 5 grams
Almonds 1/4 cup 207 kcal 4.5 grams
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 186 kcal 3.6 grams
Pistachios 1/4 cup 176 kcal 3.2 grams
Flaxseed, ground 1 tablespoon 37 kcal 2 grams

Whole Grain Breads & Tortillas

One slice of commercial whole grain bread typically weighs about 40 grams and contains about 100 kcal, 1 carb choice (11-20 g total carbs), and 3-4 grams of fiber. "Double fiber" and "low carb" bread will vary but one slice typically contains 50-100 calories, 8-12 g total carbs, and 5-6 grams of fiber. The fiber content is high due to added fiber ingredients. If you like to eat sandwiches but need to control your carbs and calories, then consider trying lower carb bread products or low carb wraps.

Here are some commercial breads and tortillas that are higher in fiber and lower in carbs and calories (compared to using 2 slices of regular whole grain bread). These brands are sold in the United States

Food Serving Kcal Total Carbs Fiber
Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Soft Taco Tortilla 1 tortilla (42g) 120 kcal 19 grams 15 grams
La Tortilla Factory Low Carb Flour Tortilla, Burrito Size 1 tortilla (62g) 110 kcal 23 grams 13 grams
Ole Mexican Foods Xtreme Wellness High Fiber Tortilla Wraps 8 inches 1 tortilla (45g) 50 kcal 16 grams 11grams
FlatOut Flatbread Light Original 1 Flatbread (53g) 90 kcal 14 grams 8 grams
Nature's Own Life Double Fiber 2 slices 100 kcal 22 grams 8 grams
Nature's Own Life 40 Calories 2 slices 80 kcal 19 grams 6 grams
Sara Lee Delightful 45 Calories 2 slices 90 kcal 18 grams 5 grams
Orowheat Sandwich Thins 100% Whole Wheat 1 roll 100 kcal 22 grams 5 grams

Non-Starchy Vegetables - Artichokes

The serving size for non-starchy vegetables is 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw. One serving typically contains 20-30 kcal, about 5 grams carbs, and about 2 grams fiber. Lettuce and spinach are even lower in kcal, carbs, and fiber. However, all types support people who have diabetes and/or are trying to lose weight since they are very low in calories, low in carbs, and provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. Artichokes are great sources of fiber in this group.

Food Serving Kcal Fiber
Artichoke, cooked 1 medium 64 kcal 10 grams
Brussel sprouts, cooked 1 cup 65 kcal 6 grams
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 52 kcal 5.5 grams
Asparagus, cooked 1 cup 40 kcal 4 grams
Okra, cooked 1 cup 35 kcal 4 grams

Starchy Vegetables - Winter Squash

Starchy vegetables can be a great source of fiber but also calories and carbs. Choose whole food versions over processed foods to limit calories and added fats, sugars, and salt. The best choices in this group are winter squash - they have fewer calories and carbs yet more fiber than potatoes.

Food Serving Kcal Total Carbs Fiber
Hubbard squash, baked 1/2 cup cubes 51 kcal 11 grams 5 grams
Acorn squash, baked 1/2 cup cubes 57 kcal 15 grams 4.5 grams
Green peas, boiled 1/2 cup 67 kcal 13 grams 4.4 grams
Butternut squash, baked 1/2 cup cubes 41 kcal 11 grams 3.3 grams

Whole Grain Breakfast Cereals

All dry breakfast cereals are essentially processed foods so be sure to look at the Nutrition Facts panel (food label) and choose one that is high in fiber while being low in sugar and salt. Unprocessed hot grain cereals also contain fiber but have the benefit of no added sugar. Here is a short list of commonly consumed breakfast grains that are especially high in fiber but limited in sugar. For the dry breakfast cereals, serving size was take from the product's Nutrition Facts panel.

Food Serving Kcal Total Carbs Fiber
General Mills Fiber One Original Bran Cereal 1/2 cup (30g) 60 kcal 25 grams 14 grams
Kashi GoLean Original Cereal 11/4 cup (58 g) 180 kcal 40 grams 13 grams
Kellogg's All Bran Original Cereal 1/2 cup (31 g) 80 kcal 23 grams 10 grams
Oat bran cereal, cooked 1 cup 120-150 kcal 23-27 grams 6-7 grams
Buckwheat groats, cooked 1 cup 155 kcal 33 grams 5 grams

Tips for Boosting Your Fiber Intake

High fiber foods can cause some bloating and discomfort if you add too much too quickly into your diet. Track fiber and bump up intake by 5 grams or less in a day. For instance, if you typically consume 15 grams of fiber, go up to 20 grams. Try that 20 grams a day for one week, and if you feel good, bump it up by another 5 grams to 25 grams. Drink plenty of water to help keep your body's plumbing moving as you gradually increase your fiber intake.

If you are interested in fiber, be sure to check out these other blog posts at MyNetDiary:

Stay Full Longer, Take the Fiber Challenge Garbanzo Bonanza: Excellent for Weight Loss It's More Than Just the Fiber

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
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Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.

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Diabetes/Carbs & Carb Counting Nutrients/"Carbs: Fiber, Starch, & Sugar"

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