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How to Add More Fiber to Your Diet

By Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, integrative nutrition expert, cookbook author, and consultant dietitian who works with Clif Bar & Company.

The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health- and nutrition-related activity.

Most Americans are not getting enough fiber. Recent studies show that 90% of women and 97% of men aren’t meeting the recommended intakes for fiber.1 But before you can increase your fiber intake, you first need to know what it is and why it’s important. There’s a lot to learn about fiber and how to meet your needs, but having this information can make a big difference to your health and the way your body feels.

What Is Fiber and How Much Do You Need?

Fiber is a carbohydrate found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes (beans) and lentils, and whole grains. When you think “fiber,” you should think “plants” because that’s where you’ll find it in your diet.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adult women consume 25 grams of fiber per day and adult men consume 38 grams per day.1,2 It’s easier than you may think to meet your fiber needs with a wide variety of foods that are delicious and fit into your busy lifestyle. Think fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, and snacks designed with plant-based ingredients and fiber in mind like LUNA® Bar.

LUNA Bars with do list and calendar

Why Is Fiber Important?

Getting enough fiber from plant-based foods can help you meet your daily needs and keep your body functioning at its best. Different types of fiber — soluble, insoluble, and prebiotic fiber — work differently but in harmony to support the health of your digestive system.3 Some types of fiber slow down the digestion of the food you eat, others help with bowel regularity, and some even support the increase of good bacteria in your gut.

Slowed Digestion

Fiber is very filling, and both soluble and insoluble types can help slow down how fast food moves out of the stomach. If you find yourself getting hungry soon after eating, it might be time to include more of these types of fiber in your diet. LUNA Bar can help! Did you know that in addition to having a good source of fiber,* LUNA Bar is also low glycemic? Low-glycemic-index foods digest slowly for prolonged levels of energy.

Regularity

Fiber provides bulk for a healthy stool to ensure the digestive tract has the right frequency of bowel movements.2 Insoluble fiber is the roughage that helps move your digestive tract along, keeping you on a regular rhythm of having bowel movements.2 Soluble fiber is the type of fiber that thickens as it absorbs water. It creates bulk in the stool for healthy digestion. Both soluble and insoluble fiber help the body regulate the pace and quality of bowel movements.2

Good Gut Bacteria

Prebiotic fiber can help increase the good bacteria in your gut and support a thriving microbiome. Foods with prebiotic fiber support the health and activity of the good bacteria that live in your digestive tract. Studies show that 5 grams or more of prebiotic fiber increases beneficial bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics are found in specific foods like garlic, onion, asparagus, bananas, oats, and LUNA® with 2.5g prebiotics. In two fruit flavors — Wild Cherry and Tangerine Zest™, these delicious bars have the same crave-worthy taste and texture of LUNA Bar but with prebiotic fiber that helps promote digestive health.

*Contains 6-10 grams of total fat per serving.

Studies show that 5 grams or more of prebiotic fiber increases beneficial bacteria in the gut; this bar contributes 2.5 grams.

Easy Ways to Add Fiber to Your Diet

Fiber doesn’t have to be boring! And it’s easier than you may think to meet your needs. Start by making simple swaps or bump up meals and snacks with foods you already know and love. Here are a few ideas:

At Breakfast:

  • Did you know that despite its creamy texture, avocado actually contains fiber? Spread a piece of hearty whole-wheat toast with a smear of mashed avocado for fiber two ways in the morning.
  • Add a tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flaxseeds to your oatmeal. Whichever kind you like, steel-cut or rolled, you’ll get the benefit from this fibrous whole-grain cereal.

At Lunch:

  • Make a salad with spinach as the base. Top it with nuts and seeds for even more fiber in one dish.
  • Enjoy a cup of lentil soup. Consider adding vegetables you enjoy to boost the fiber even further.

For a Snack:

  • Grab a piece of fibrous fruit like a pear, orange, or apple.
  • Pack a LUNA with 2.5g prebiotics that delivers 8g of plant protein and a good source of fiber — including 2.5g of beneficial prebiotic fiber to help increase the good bacteria in your gut.§

Contains 6-7 grams of total fat per serving.

§Studies show that 5 grams or more of prebiotic fiber increases beneficial bacteria in the gut; this bar contributes 2.5 grams.

At Dinner:

  • Serve a side of steamed or roasted broccoli to any dish you’re enjoying. Add fresh herbs to boost the flavor and create a vegetable dish you really enjoy.
  • Offer steamed artichoke as an appetizer; it’s fun to share and is a delicious start to the meal. Simply trim the outer leaves of the artichoke, slice off the pointy top (about ½ inch), then steam it for 30 minutes.
  • Make a filling whole-grain side. Consider options that cook quickly like quinoa, bulgur wheat, or barley.

10 On-the-Go Snacks to Help Increase Fiber Intake

You can easily grab a fibrous snack on your way out the door. Keeping these foods with you can help you meet your fiber needs while you’re on the go.

Here are a few portable and delicious options:

  • LUNA Bar or LUNA with 2.5g prebiotics
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Carrot sticks
  • Pistachios
  • Snack-sized bag of popped popcorn
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Half an almond butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread

Knowing how to get more fiber into your diet can be quite simple. Grabbing simple, delicious, and fibrous foods at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time will help you meet your needs.

References

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Accessed June 25, 2021.
  2. Dahl WJ, Stewart ML. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115(11):1861-1870. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.09.003
  3. Holscher HD. Diet Affects the Gastrointestinal Microbiota and Health. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2020;120(4):495-499. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2019.12.016