How to Add More Fiber to Your Diet
By Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO 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.
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, including prebiotic soluble fiber, and insoluble 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.
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 most LUNA Bars being a good source of fiber*, most are also considered low glycemic**? Low-glycemic index foods digest slowly for prolonged levels of energy.
*Contains 6-10 grams of total fat per serving.
**LemonZest, Blueberry Bliss Flavor and Mash-Ups are not low glycemic index.
Fiber provides bulk for 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
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. LUNA Bar has 10 mouthwatering products and flavors like LemonZest®, Blueberry Bliss Flavor*, Chocolate Dipped Coconut Flavor, Nutz Over Chocolate®, Chocolate Cupcake, White Chocolate Macadamia Flavor, Chocolate Peppermint Stick®, and Mash-Ups™ LemonZest® + Blueberry, LemonZest® + Raspberry, and LemonZest® + Coconut. You have a lot of delicious options.
*Blueberry Bliss Flavor is not a good source of fiber.
These bars range from 2 to 4 grams of fiber per bar so you get delicious flavor and good-for-you fiber, too.
To increase fiber in your day, start by making simple swaps or bumping up meals and snacks with foods you already know and love. Here are a few ideas:
- 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.
- 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 like carrots, sweet potatoes, or spinach to boost the fiber even further.
For a Snack:
- Grab a piece of fibrous fruit like a pear, orange, or apple.
- Pack a LUNA Bar like Chocolate Dipped Coconut Flavor or White Chocolate Macadamia Flavor that delivers 8 grams of plant protein and a good source of fiber‡ at 3 grams.
‡Contains 7 grams of total fat per serving.
- 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
- Sliced strawberries
- Carrot sticks
- Snack-sized bag of popped popcorn
- Sunflower seeds
- Roasted chickpeas
- Whole-grain crackers
- Half an almond butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread
Getting more fiber into your diet can be quite simple. Grab simple, delicious, and fibrous foods at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time to help you meet your needs.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. U.S. Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. December 2020. Accessed June 25, 2021.
- 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
- 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