Enjoying a diet that is high in fiber can help you lose weight. While fiber is a carbohydrate, it is not easily digestible. It adds bulk to satisfy your feeling of fullness after a meal while not boosting your blood sugar or adding calories. You can enjoy a bigger portion of many high-fiber foods and still keep your calories under control. Also, fibrous foods often need chewing, which is another factor in feeling satisfied from eating.
Fiber comes only from plants, so you will need to include plant sources in your weight loss diet to get enough fiber. The good news is that many plant sources are also nutrient-dense in vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that are beneficial for your health. Fiber is especially found in the skins, seeds, and membranes of plants, so it’s best to enjoy as much of the plant as is edible. Juices often have little fiber, and peeling will discard valuable fiber. Here are ways to get your fiber from vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes rather than using fiber supplements.
Starting your day with a fiber-packed breakfast will help you feel full until lunchtime. Oats are a fantastic way to get the fiber you need, but not all oatmeal is created equal. Start with old-fashioned oats—a half-cup serving has four grams of fiber. To make it extra filling, prepare it "growing oatmeal" style with twice the liquid and double the cook time. That’ll give you a gigantic portion. For even more fiber, top it off with tons of fresh fruit.
Beans are an amazing food to add to your diet. Not only are they naturally high in fiber, but they’re also packed with protein. Black beans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans are all-stars—a half cup of any of them has around 6 grams of fiber. And they’re so versatile. You can use black beans to make veggie burgers, Mexican stew, and even chocolate cake.
Edamame is a great snack that has 4 grams of fiber in 1/2 cup of shelled beans.
Soup is the unsung hero of fiber-rich foods. Of course, not all soups pack fiber, but many types are chock full of it. Split pea and lentil soups are made mostly of legumes which are super sources of fiber as well as protein. Pearled barley is a high-fiber whole grain to add bulk to a soup.
Any soup or stew made with satisfying, high-fiber veggies like butternut squash and potatoes is bound to increase feelings of fullness. Just watch your portion sizes and check the stats, because dense soups can be high in calories. As well, homemade soups can be made lower in the fat and salt found in the soup you can buy at the supermarket.
Dark Colored Vegetables
As a rule of thumb, richly colored veggies—carrots, beets, parsnips, brussels sprouts—are high in fiber. Vegetables are a great way to super-size meals and give you a big portion without a big calorie count. Using high-fiber veggies makes the meal even more satisfying.
For breakfast, include veggies such as onions, green peppers, and spinach with your eggs for a fiber-rich but low-calorie and high-protein frittata.
You can enjoy a snack of high-fiber hummus dip paired with raw veggie dippers such as carrots, red peppers, green peppers, broccoli, and celery. Hummus can be high in fat, but you can slim it down by making it yourself from canned or boiled chickpeas (garbanzos) and limiting the oil added.
Raspberries and Blackberries
One cup of raspberries or blackberries has 8 grams of fiber and only 64 calories—that makes them some of the most fiber-dense foods in the world. Most kinds of fruit pack a bunch of fiber, but raspberries and blackberries beat most others (with double the fiber of blueberries and strawberries). Add them to your yogurt bowl or snack on them straight.
Other fruits that are very high in fiber include passionfruit, guavas, and pomegranate seeds (rather than juice).
Dried fruits such as raisins, dates, and figs are high in fiber but are also high in sugar. They make great fiber additions to oatmeal, but you will have to consider the portions.
Chia seeds and ground flaxseeds pack 3 grams of fiber per tablespoon. They are easy additions to a diet smoothie, oatmeal, yogurt, or salad dressings. Plus, they are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Ground flaxseeds add a nutty flavor and you can use them in baking or breading. Chia seeds can also be used to make chia pudding, which is a satisfying breakfast or dessert.
Roasted pumpkin seeds or squash seeds make a great snack food that you can season with autumn spices like cinnamon and nutmeg or savory spices like curry powder or cayenne pepper. You will get 4 grams of fiber in only 12 pumpkin seeds (the whole seed, not the unshelled kernels).