A diet rich in fiber can have many health benefits -- lower bad cholesterol (LDL), fewer digestive issues, and more controlled blood sugars. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Ayesha Qureshi
Ayesha Qureshi, MPH

Most Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diets. According to the Institute of Medicine, adult men need at least 38 grams of fiber per day, and women need at least 25. (The average American gets about 15 grams.)

A fiber-rich diet has many health benefits — lower bad cholesterol (LDL), fewer digestive issues, and more controlled blood sugars. Dietary fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain sources. Fiber derived from these sources also helps you stay fuller longer, which can aid in weight loss.

Here are some tips to get more fiber into your diet.

1. Start Your Day Fiber Rich

Lots of breakfast cereals have good amounts of fiber and can help you get a nutritious start to your day. Look for cereals that are whole grain or contain bran. Oatmeal has a good amount of fiber, too. Another option are fiber-rich bars, which can be found in your grocery store’s cereal aisle. Also, don’t forget to include a fruit with breakfast. Swapping out a fruit for a glass of juice will add more fiber.

2. Switch to Whole Grains

These include whole wheat, barley and oats, among many more. When buying bread, rice or pasta, avoid the processed ones. These are known to contain “bad” carbs. Instead, opt for brown rice or whole breads and pasta.

3. Healthy Snacks

Take advantage of snack time to consume more fiber. Add fruits, vegetables, whole grain crackers, popcorn, and nuts. Don’t forget those fiber bars — they can come in handy for snacks, too.

4. Beans and Legumes

These are a great source of fiber and can also add variety to your lunches and dinners.

5. Plan it Out

Plan meals a few days in advance. This will help you see where you can fit more fiber into your weekly diet.

This article was made possible with support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which has sponsored Qcitymetro’s Health Page since 2010.

Ayesha Qureshi is a certified health and wellness coach and has a background in health behavior and health education.