So, how do you get a delicious burger with a side of veggies? Look no further than your local McDonald’s! Their Apple & Cranberry Salad has 24g of fiber per order and their egg and cheese sandwich contains 8g.
Fast Food With High Fiber
You may not think much about fiber — until you find yourself dealing with an, er, irregular situation.
Indeed, dietary fiber is a magic ingredient that keeps you regular. But thwarting constipation is not its only job. Fiber helps lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. It also helps reduce the risk of other diseases like colorectal cancer. Plus, it keeps your blood sugar levels from spiking and makes you feel full longer, which can help you lose weight.
“Fiber does lots of cool stuff in the body,” says registered dietitian Anna Taylor, RD.
Here’s where to get it — and why these foods are best for a high-fiber diet.
High-fiber foods you should be eating
Fiber comes from plants, so don’t bother looking for it in your chicken dinner. But the plant kingdom has a lot to offer, and the best sources of dietary fiber might surprise you.
Taylor suggests aiming for 25 grams (g) to 35 grams of fiber a day. Here are her top 11 foods to work into your diet right now.
1. Whole-wheat pasta
Carbs get a bad rap, but whole grains are a great source of fiber and are also rich in healthy phytonutrients (believed to help prevent various diseases), Taylor says. Skip the white pasta (which has been stripped of all the good stuff), and go for whole-wheat instead.
Amount of fiber: 1 cup cooked = 7g fiber
“Barley is a delicious grain that’s often overlooked,” Taylor says. Try tossing it in soups or mix up a grain bowl with your favorite meat and veggies.
Amount of fiber: 1 cup cooked = 6g fiber
“Legumes are star players. They’re some of the best sources of protein and fiber, they help keep you full, and they have amazing nutrient composition,” Taylor says. Chickpeas are a fiber-full favorite from the legume list. Add them to soups or salads, snack on chickpea hummus or roast them whole for a crunchy, shelf-stable snack.
Amount of fiber: 1/2 cup cooked = 6g fiber
Edamame, or immature soybeans, have a mild flavor and pleasing texture. They’re also one of the few plant sources that contain all the amino acids your body needs, so they’re a great choice for vegans and vegetarians. You can find them in the frozen food section, still in the pod or already shelled. Add edamame to salads and stir-fries, Taylor suggests. (Edamame is often a big hit for kids to snack on, too.)
Amount of fiber: 1/2 cup boiled and shelled = 4g fiber
5. Lentils and split peas
These two legumes have similar nutrition profiles and are used in similar ways. “Lentils and split peas are nutritional powerhouses,” says Taylor. They cook quickly and are great in soups. Try swapping lentils for some of the meat in your chili to boost the plant-powered goodness.
Amount of fiber:
Lentils, 1/2 cup cooked = 8g fiber
Split peas, 1/2 cup boiled = 8g fiber
“All berries are good for you, but blackberries and raspberries have the most fiber,” Taylor explains. They’re also delicious. Fresh berries can be expensive, but frozen are often more economical. If you don’t love the mushy texture of thawed berries, blend them into a smoothie or stir them into your oatmeal. “You can also cook them down and put them on waffles in place of syrup,” she says.
Amount of fiber: 1 cup = 8g fiber
Lentils and other beans are an easy way to sneak fiber into your diet in soups, stews and salads. Some beans, like edamame (which is a steamed soy bean), are even a great fiber-filled snack. There are 9 grams of fiber in a half-cup serving of shelled edamame. A bonus? All of these provide a source of plant protein, too. Some bakers have even started including beans or bean flours in their baked goods, which research suggests can still make quality cakes.
This veggie can get pigeonholed as the fiber vegetable. Its cruciferous nature—meaning it’s from the Brassica genus of plants along with cauliflower, cabbage and kale—makes it rich in many nutrients in addition to fiber. Studies have shown that broccoli’s 5 grams of fiber per cup can positively support the bacteria in the gut, which may help your gut stay healthy and balanced.
Berries get a lot of attention for their antioxidants, but they’re full of fiber, too. Just a cup of fresh blueberries can give you almost 4 grams of fiber, and there is nearly the same amount of fiber in a cup of frozen unsweetened blueberries. Blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are also great sources of fiber. Of course, one of the biggest benefits of berries is that they’re naturally low in calories, too
Avocados pretty much go with everything—toast, salads, entrees, eggs—and while they’re often recognized for their hefty dose of healthy fats, there are 10 grams of fiber in one cup of avocado (so just imagine how much is in your guacamole).
There’s one gram of fiber in one cup of popcorn, and the snack (when natural and not covered in butter, like at the movies) is a whole grain that can satiate cravings with a hit of fiber. It’s even been called the King of Snack Foods.
6. Whole Grains
Good news for bread lovers: Real whole grains, found in 100% whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and oats, have fiber. One tip to watch out for: as required by The Food and Drug Administration, whole grains should be the first ingredient on a food package in order for it to be considered a real whole grain.
That old saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” isn’t necessarily true, according to research, but the fruit can boost your fiber intake. There are about 4 grams of fiber in an apple, depending on its size. And, of course, they’re a nice and crunchy snack.
8. Dried Fruits
Dried fruits like figs, prunes and dates can boost your fiber intake dramatically and are recommended for those struggling with occasional constipation The sugar called sorbitol, which naturally occurs in these fruits, can help your bowels and lead to more comfort However, eating too many can lead to cramping or diarrhea, so try a small serving and see how you feel once you’ve digested them, before noshing on too many more.