If you're like the average American, you're not eating enough fruits and vegetables and could use more fiber in your diet. Most Americans consume 15 grams of fiber daily, which is about half of the recommended 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Although it's well known that fruits and vegetables contain fiber, they are not all created equal.
Berries pack a lot of fiber into a small package because they are full of tiny high-fiber seeds. A cup of strawberries has 3.3 grams of fiber, and the same amount of raspberries has 8 grams. Add berries to your cereal or smoothies for breakfast, throw them on your salad for lunch or have a bowl for dessert.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage or broccoli, contain glucosinolates that give them their bitter flavors. A cup of cooked cauliflower or broccoli has 5 grams of fiber. Adding a cup of Brussels sprouts or cabbage to your dinner can add another 4 grams of fiber. Cruciferous vegetables retain their nutrients best when they are steamed, roasted, microwaved or eaten raw.
Keeping the skin on your potatoes can improve their fiber content. A russet potato contains 4.6 grams of fiber, and a whole sweet potato has 7.8 grams. Try incorporating other colorful potatoes into your diet, like purple, red and gold, to get a variety of nutrients and antioxidants. Add potatoes with the skin on to salads, soups, casseroles, and stir-fries to boost your fiber intake.
A small orange, large apple and a small banana have about 3 grams of fiber each and can easily be added into your daily diet as a snack or a side with lunch. Add another 5 grams of fiber by topping a salad with a sliced pear or a handful of raisins. A snack of five dried prunes provides another 3 grams of fiber.
Stephanie Brookshier has been a registered dietitian since 2005. She works as a weight loss counselor and nutrition educator. Brookshier holds a bachelor of science degree in nutritional science from the University of Arizona and is pursuing her master of science degree in nutrition from San Diego State University.