No chalky powders. No bland roughage. Just craveable foods that come with health benefits.
Whatever your health goals, fiber can help you get there.
In fact, simply increasing your fiber intake each day can help you lower your blood pressure, improve your body’s insulin health, and lose weight, according to research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
And get this: It can often do so just as effectively as complicated diets designed to help you achieve those goals.
While the daily fiber goals for women and men over the age of 50 are 21 and 30 grams, respectively, most people eat only 15 grams per day, says Betsy Opyt, R.D., a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in Naples, Florida.
And while increasing your intake of naturally fiber-rich foods, such as beans and whole grain breads, is a surefire way to achieve that number, they’re hardly your only option. Or the tastiest, for that matter.
Here, find three unexpected fiber-rich foods. Plus, knockout ways to prepare them and wow your taste buds.
Fiber-Rich Food #1: Avocados
This tropical fruit has a reputation of being one of the best sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids—an essential fat that plays a protective role throughout the body, but that your body can’t make from scratch.
It even has more potassium than a banana. Potassium helps ward off muscle cramps and lower blood pressure.
But avocados are also rich in fiber. Just half of a creamy avocado provides more than six grams.
Ready to eat? There’s the obvious guacamole dip or the trendy avocado toast. But why limit yourself? Branch out and try any of these easy meal ideas.
Bake avocado egg boats for brunch. Heat oven to 350°F. Slice an avocado in half, and scoop out some of the insides. Crack an egg into each avocado half, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with a side of fruit or salad.
Whip up a light and fresh pasta salad. Toss diced avocado with cooked whole wheat pasta, sliced cherry tomatoes, cooked chicken, and a little olive oil and lemon juice. Get the recipe for Lemony Pasta Salad with Chicken, Tomato, and Avocado here.
Make a vegetarian-friendly chili. Cook quinoa in a mixture of water, black beans, diced tomatoes, and spices. Top with avocado slices. Find the recipe for this incredibly easy one-pot meal here.
Fiber-Rich Food #2: Nuts
Nuts are a terrific source of fiber. Just one ounce of pistachios, pecans, or almonds has around three grams.
But nuts as a whole are one of the best foods for older adults. In fact, one review of 29 studies found that eating nuts is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
Just make sure to eat mindfully and watch your portion sizes, since each ounce contains 160 to 200 calories, depending on the nut. And remember that one ounce of pistachios (49 kernels) is going to look very different from, say, almonds (23 whole pieces).
Sure, you can snack on nuts out of hand or toss them in salads. But if you’re feeling adventurous, we have a few suggestions.
Roast your own trail mix. Heat oven to 450°F. Toss ¼ cup unsalted almonds or other nuts with 1 teaspoon honey and ½ teaspoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 6 minutes. When the nuts have cooled, add fresh or dried fruit.
Create a quick peanut dipping sauce. Whisk together 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1 tablespoon each rice vinegar, soy sauce, and water until smooth. For an easy weeknight meal, pair this sauce with No-Cook Peanut Chicken Summer Rolls.
Make a batch of cocoa energy bites. Mix chopped pistachios with no-sugar added almond butter, oats, chia seeds, vanilla extract, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Roll the mixture into balls and chill. Get the recipe for one of the best snacks you can make at home here.
Fiber-Rich Food #3: Berries
You know and love berries for their high amounts of vitamin C, which boosts immunity and helps repair tissue. But these antioxidant-filled sweet gems are also rich in fiber.
One cup of raspberries or blackberries, for instance, contains about eight grams—and only 65 calories. Blueberries have almost four grams per cup, and strawberries have about three.
Berries are wonderful fresh or frozen. In fact, they’re one of the best foods to keep in your freezer, according to nutritionists.
Try these berry-rich ideas to help hit your daily fiber quota.
Make a creamsicle-like smoothie. Blend frozen strawberries, orange juice, bananas, and plain 2% Greek yogurt. Get the recipe for this dessert smoothie that’s secretly healthy here.
Build a hearty quinoa breakfast bowl. Sprinkle blackberries over a bowl of cooked quinoa. Stir in some honey and plain nonfat Greek yogurt, and top with sliced almonds. Find the recipe for this high-protein breakfast here.
Toss together an Instagram-worthy salad. Top mixed greens with blackberries, chickpeas, and cauliflower. Drizzle with green goddess salad dressing. Get the recipe for this high-protein dinner here.
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Photos of avocado egg boats and trail mix: Jackie Q. Botto.