14 Simple Ways to Increase Your Fiber Intake

Fiber is found in plants, where it functions as a skeleton to help plants maintain their shape and structure. Humans can't digest the fiber so when we eat plant-based foods, it passes through the small intestine into the colon where it helps maintain regularity and bowel health. 

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that you consume 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories per day. They also provide guidelines based on your age and gender.

  • Women aged 19–30 should consume 28 grams of fiber per day
  • Men aged 19–30 should consume 33.6 grams of fiber per day
  • Women aged 31–50 should consume 25.2 grams of fiber per day
  • Men aged 31–50 should consume 28 grams of fiber per day
  • Women aged 51 and over should consume 22.4 grams of fiber per day
  • Men aged 51 and over should consume 28 grams of fiber per day

The problem is that most people don't get enough fiber in their diet. but we're about to change all that. Here are some of our favorite ways to boost your fiber intake today.

1

Make a Fruit Salad

Assorted Fruit

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

A fruit salad makes an excellent addition to a meal or can serve as dessert. It doesn't have to be complicated, just combine some of your favorite fruits and add a little fruit juice or yogurt as a dressing. You can mix in a few nuts and seeds for even more fiber. 

2

Eat the Whole Orange Instead of Just the Juice

Oranges

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

We're not saying orange juice is not good for you. It's got plenty of vitamins and minerals. However, when you eat the whole orange you're getting much more fiber, it's juicy and sweet, and you still get all the vitamins and minerals. A whole orange provides 3.7 grams of fiber. A glass of orange juice (6.75 ounces) provides just 0.6 grams of fiber.

3

Eat the Skins of Apples and Pears

Pears

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Picky eaters may not be all that enthusiastic about eating the skins that cover fruits. While you wouldn't eat a banana peel or an orange rind, you can enjoy apples and pears with the coverings intact.

Not only does the skin protect the tender flesh inside, it has more than half the fruit's fiber.

4

Don't Peel Your Potatoes

Baked Potato

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You might see a theme growing here. The bits that you might normally toss into the compost are probably good for you. Much of the fiber in a potato is in the skin, and there's no reason the skin can't be worked into your dish, even mashed potatoes are delicious when made with unpeeled potatoes.

Pro Tip: Don't buy potatoes that have a greenish color to the skin, it makes them taste bitter.

5

Buy 100% Whole Grain Bread

Whole Wheat Bread

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Traditional refined white bread has been a thing for decades because people usually prefer the lighter flavor and texture compared to whole grain bread that's heavier, both taste and texture-wise. But the bran that's removed during the flour making process takes a lot of the fiber with it.

Whole grain bread may be a bit of an acquired taste, but don't be surprised if, after eating them for a while, you don't care for plain old white bread anymore.

6

Switch to Brown Rice

Brown Rice

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Brown rice is a better choice than white rice because it retains the high-fiber bran. It's got a nuttier flavor and firmer texture compared to white rice. Not big on brown rice? Try wild rice or quinoa. They're both higher in fiber than white rice and are delicious on their own or combined with brown rice into a pilaf.

7

Add Vegetables to Canned Soup

Soup with vegetables can be high in fiber.
Brian Macdonald/Getty Images

Canned soup is nice to have because it's convenient. Instantly boost the fiber content (and overall nutrition) by adding in some freshly cut or frozen vegetables to your soup and simmer until they're soft. Carrots, peas or potatoes are all good choices.

Pro Tip: Go for low-sodium soups and stews when you can.

8

Snack on Nuts and Seeds

Pecans

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews, are good sources of fiber, protein, and beneficial fats. They're perfect for an afternoon snack that'll tide you over until dinner time. All nuts are good (either raw or roasted) but watch out for the flavored and sugar coated nuts that add extra calories. 

9

Add Berries to Yogurt

Add berries to yogurt to get fiber.
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Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, protein, and beneficial bacteria. Serve a superfood dessert by topping a velvety smooth Greek yogurt with blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries. Add a few nuts or a little granola for more fiber. Drizzle with a little honey for a touch of sweetness. 

10

Try Oatmeal

Oatmeal

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

We know that oatmeal can seem a little boring, but we've got the fix for that. There are several options you can try. Consider steel cut oats. We know they take a while to cook but trust us, they're worth the wait. You can also use regular quick-cook or rolled oats as well. Top your oatmeal with berries, dried fruits and a touch of honey or brown sugar for a perfect tummy-warming breakfast.

11

Eat a Salad as a Meal

Salad

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

One of our favorite ways to boost fiber and cut calories is to eat a salad that's hearty enough to serve as a meal. Start with a bed of flavorful greens such as kale, arugula or spinach. Add chick peas or white beans for some plant-based protein or add avocado, nuts, or seeds for some healthy fat. Then top with a little vinaigrette. If you feel you need more protein, top it off with some cooked shrimp, chicken or salmon. 

12

Served Beans or Lentils as a Side

Black beans

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Legumes are super-high in fiber. Serving beans or lentils with lunch or dinner instantly boosts your fiber intake dramatically. A one-half cup of black beans provides 8.3 grams of fiber and a half cup of lentils provides over 8 grams as well. Try vegetarian baked beans or serve black beans, lentils, or red beans as a side, they're all high in fiber and loaded with nutrients. Oh, and canned beans are fine, too. Just rinse them before cooking. 

13

Swap Fresh Veggies for Your Chips

Baby Carrots

Chips and dip are popular foods for parties or binge-watching your favorite TV shows. But they're high in fat and usually low in fiber, so dump the chips and serve crunchy fresh veggies instead. Sliced cucumbers, carrot sticks, celery, jicama, or sliced peppers are great veggies to dip.

14

Try Whole Grain Pasta

Whole wheat pasta and vegetables is high in fiber.
William Mahar/Getty Images

Most pasta is made with refined white wheat flour because it provides the best texture. However, more and more whole grain pastas are hitting the shelves and they're absolutely delicious. You can also find red lentil, chickpea, or black bean pasta on most store shelves and they are even higher in fiber.

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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations. Appendix 7. USDA. 2015

  2. Orange, raw. USDA FoodData Central. Updated 10/30/2020

  3. Orange juice, 100%, NFS. USDA FoodData Central. Updated 10/30/2020