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high fiber foods for weight loss

Are you trying to lose weight but are finding yourself hungry all the time? If so, you’ve probably been told to eat more protein. And while this is sound advice, many people neglect the importance of fiber in your diet. Eating more high-fiber foods for weight loss can help fill you up, aid in regular bowel movements and less bloat, and support overall health

Most people are not getting enough fiber in their diet. Many of my clients mistakenly think they’re getting enough fiber because they may eat flax daily or have a salad for lunch. However recent research suggests only about 5% of us meet the recommended guidelines.  

Don’t stress – there are easy ways to add more fiber into your diet; it just requires a bit of intention. I help my clients add more fiber by providing specific suggestions for each meal. It may look something like this:

  • Add fruit with breakfast
  • Have a salad with mixed greens and bulgur for lunch
  • Include veggies with a snack
  • Add 1 cup of cooked veggies with dinner

To help you incorporate more fiber into your diet, I’m sharing my top 20 high-fiber foods for weight loss, fiber content, and how to add them to your daily routine. But first, it’s helpful to have an understanding of what fiber is, how it can support weight loss, and how much you need every day, 

What is fiber?

Fiber is a type of indigestible carbohydrate in plant foods. Unlike other nutrients such as fats, proteins, or carbohydrates,  fiber isn’t digested by your body. Because of this, it is sometimes called “roughage,” as it passes through the digestive system relatively intact. A high-fiber diet provides the following health benefits:

  • Maintains bowel health
  • Helps support a healthy body weight
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Regulates blood sugar levels

Two types of fiber are soluble and insoluble, both providing many health benefits. While some food sources contain primarily one of these types, some contain a little of both.

  • Soluble Fiber: This type dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. In forming this material, it can bind to cholesterol to lower it in your blood. It also can help regulate blood sugar as it slows down glucose absorption from food. This means when you eat high-carbohydrate foods, having fiber along with it can reduce potential blood sugar spikes and help keep your blood sugar steady after that meal.  

Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and barley.

  • Insoluble Fiber: This type of fiber supports bowel regularity and reduces constipation. Insoluble fiber does this by promoting the movement of food through your digestive system and increases stool bulk. Especially if you struggle with bloat, constipation, or bowel irregularity, increasing your intake of insoluble fiber can help.
  • Insoluble fiber sources include whole wheat, wheat bran, nuts, beans, and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes. Oats are another great source of both insoluble and soluble fiber.

If you currently don’t eat a lot of fiber in your diet, it’s important to increase fiber gradually and to drink plenty of water to prevent digestive upset.

How does fiber help you lose weight?

fiber and weight loss

Fiber can assist with weight loss in several ways. If you’re feeling skeptical, here are some of the top reasons it can help you along with other healthy habits.

Aids in satiety

​​Fiber-rich foods typically take longer to eat and chew and are concentrated in water. This means they are naturally less calorie-dense and fill your belly due to their water content. 

And if you’re a volume eater in particular, fiber-rich foods are perfect for you. I’ve found volume eating to be beneficial for many of my clients. This way of eating includes plenty of fruits and veggies in larger quantities, which is helpful if you prefer larger portions to feel satisfied.

When you consume high-fiber foods, you feel fuller for a longer period, which helps to reduce overall calorie intake. 

Lowers calorie intake naturally

When you start adding more high fiber foods for weight loss, you’ll naturally begin to reduce your calorie intake. This is because most high fiber foods like fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains are naturally lower in calories. They are also nutrient-dense and therefore fill you up on fewer calories.

Promotes gut health

A high-fiber diet promotes a healthy and happy gut. Your gut is home to a wide array of beneficial bacteria that need fiber to thrive. Eating a variety of fiber-rich foods nourishes your gut microbiome, which is intrinsically linked to your weight and overall digestion.

Regulates blood sugars

The soluble fiber found in foods like oats, beans, and apples can slow the absorption of sugar, helping to promote more stable blood sugar levels. Stable blood sugar levels can prevent rapid spikes and drops. This leads to better appetite control and less intense cravings that sabotage your best efforts to lose weight.

Naturally nutrient-dense

High-fiber foods are naturally nutritious and pack a lot of fiber and micronutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals) into a small amount. By eating more of these foods, you are automatically boosting the nutrient density of your diet, which lends to more satisfaction with meals. 

How much fiber do you need?

Daily fiber intake recommendations for women are 25 grams of fiber per day, while men need 38 grams. Choosing at least 1-2 fiber sources per meal can help you easily meet these daily targets. 

15 High Fiber Foods for Weight Loss

While this is not an exhaustive list of fiber-rich foods or weight loss, these are some of the best high fiber foods for weight loss as they are lower in calories, high in water content, and versatile. 

This high fiber foods chart lists the amount of fiber per serving. 

RD note: You’ll notice some of the food sources are higher in fiber per cup serving, such as beans and chickpeas. However, these are higher in calories and carbohydrates. I’d recommend choosing a variety of these foods but prioritizing more fruit and veggie options. This will help you achieve more balance between getting enough fiber without overdoing it on calories.

1. Raspberries – 8 grams per cup

Raspberries are an impressive high fiber food, and so incredibly easy to include in what you’re already eating. They are low in calories yet high in nutrients, making them an ideal weight-loss food. 

They are also naturally sweet and are one of the best fruits to satisfy a sweet craving (and actually satisfy it). This can help reduce cravings for higher-calorie, sugary-laden treats that don’t provide any nutritional value.

How to eat them: Add a handful of raspberries to your breakfast cereal or oatmeal, smoothies, in salads, or mixed with Greek yogurt for a fiber and sweetness boost.

2. Oats – 8 grams per cup

Oats are another quality high-fiber food choice for many reasons. They are high in soluble fiber, low in calorie density, and extremely versatile. The soluble fiber in oats can help regulate blood sugars, keeping your levels steady to prevent late morning or afternoon energy crashes and sugar cravings.

Oats are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced, sustainable weight loss plan.

How to eat them: Enjoy overnight oats or oatmeal for breakfast, add a few scoops to a smoothie, sneak into muffins or pancakes, or make energy bites with steel-cut oats.

3. Broccoli – 2 grams per cup

Broccoli is another great choice for both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber present can slow digestion and increase fullness, while the insoluble fiber improves digestive health. It can help relieve constipation, a common cause of bloat, and a feeling that you weigh more than you do.

Broccoli is also low in calories, which means you can eat a larger volume without overdoing it on calories. 

How to eat them: Add them to omelettes, enjoy them raw with a yogurt dip, or saute and mix them into a whole wheat pasta dish or stir-fry.

4. Kale – 1 gram per cup

Kale is a delicious and hearty leafy green that packs a fiber punch. One of the key characteristics of kale is how low it is in calories yet high in nutrients.  

This means you can consume a substantial portion and enjoy its nutritional benefits without blowing your daily calorie budget.

How to eat it: Incorporating kale into your diet can be simple and diverse – it can be added to salads, smoothies, soups, or even baked into chips, making it an easy and beneficial addition to a weight-loss-friendly diet.

5. Chickpeas – 24 grams per cup

Chickpeas are another one of the best high-fiber foods for weight loss. It is high in soluble and insoluble fiber, promotes satiety, reduces appetite, and supports gut health.

Chickpeas are also a vegetarian protein source and can be swapped with other animal-based proteins for a quick and nutritious vegetarian meal.

How to eat them: Chickpeas are very versatile. They can be baked with spices and made into a crunchy snack, mixed with salads or soups, or simmered into a curry sauce.

 

6. Whole grain bread – 3-6 grams per slice

Remember, bread is not off-limits when trying to lose weight! However, whole grain and whole wheat breads are more nutritionally adequate and fiber-rich, providing more benefits for the same amount of calories as white bread.

When seeking a whole grain bread, look for the terms “whole grain” or “whole wheat” as the first ingredient on the label. This is how you’ll know if it’s truly a whole grain bread, or an “enriched” subpar version!

Whole grain or whole wheat breads can vary a bit in their fiber content. Two of my favorites are Old Thyme’s 647 Multigrain and Sara Lee’s 45-calorie Whole Wheat.

How to eat them: Swap white bread for whole grain or whole wheat bread on sandwiches, toast, or as a healthy carb alongside a large salad.

7. Lentils – 16 grams per cup

Lentils are one of my favorite foods to boost my fiber intake. They are a food I notice many of my clients tend to forget about, but once they have it, they wonder what they’ve been missing! As a quality plant-based protein, including lentils in your recipes is an easy way to bump your fiber quotient.

Besides being high in fiber and protein, lentils are also rich in iron, folate, magnesium, and B vitamins for energy.

How to eat them: Make a spicy lentil hash, mix them with basmati rice or cauliflower rice, or make a simple lentil soup.

8. Beans – 12-17 grams per cup

Also in the legume family like lentils, beans are another quality fiber source for weight loss. Whether it’s black beans, cannellini, or kidney beans, all beans are high in fiber and play a role in better weight management and satiety. 

They are also versatile and quick to cook – perfect for busy days when your meals are not yet planned.

Rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, beans help keep you full and satisfied and can naturally reduce your calorie intake. They are also a good source of plant-based protein to incorporate more plant-forward meals into your weekly routine.

How to eat them: Add them to salads, mix them with eggs, tacos, or soups to create delicious meals in minutes.

9. Chia seeds – 10 grams per 2 tablespoons

When my clients ask how they can add fiber to their diet, I often suggest adding a tablespoon of chia seeds every morning. Just one tablespoon of chia contains a whopping 10 grams of fiber. Yowza!

Chia seeds are unique in that they can absorb water and form a gel. This gel makes your belly more full, reducing hunger and snacking.

How to eat them: Add chia to water, a smoothie, salads, oatmeal, or cereal, or mix into breading for a fiber-filled punch. You can also make chia pudding, a delicious and nutritious dessert, or a make-ahead breakfast. I add them to my overnight oats, which adds a nice nutty flavor.

10. Flax seeds – 4 grams per 2 tablespoons

Flax seeds are another mighty seed packed with both soluble and insoluble fiber. They are also low in carbohydrates and suitable for a low-carb diet for weight loss. Their high fiber content helps keep you full with a small amount and can be easily added to foods you’re already eating.

Flax seeds are also rich in beneficial plant compounds called lignans, a type of phytoestrogen. These are compounds found in soy and other plant foods like seeds with anti-inflammatory and estrogen-like properties, seen to support weight management, heart health, and reproductive health.

How to eat them: Flax seeds are very versatile and can be added to smoothies, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, baked goods, and sprinkled on salad. Make sure to buy ground flaxseed, not whole, as whole flaxseeds are tough to digest.

11. Avocados – 9 grams for 1 medium avocado

Avocados are another rich high -iber, low-carb food for weight loss that is incredibly satisfying. And while they are high in fat, it is mostly the healthy, anti-inflammatory kind that can actually support weight loss

Avocados are also very versatile and can be easily added to various dishes. While they can be beneficial as part of a weight loss plan, they are still calorie-dense due to their high fat content.

How to eat them: They can be added to salads, sandwiches, smoothies, or even used as a substitute for butter in some recipes. Because they are calorie-dense, stick to about ½ an avocado per day.

12. Pears – 4 grams per cup

Pears are another rich fiber source that contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. They are low in calories but are naturally sweet, making them a great healthy sweet snack to satisfy a craving.

Pears are also nutrient-rich and are a good source of vitamins and potassium. They are also high in water content ,which can help hydrate you and further add to their fullness factor. 

How to eat them: Eating pears whole with the skin in will provide the most fiber and benefits. You can enjoy them as an afternoon snack or addthem to oatmeal, yogurt, salads, or blended into smoothies.

13. Brussels sprouts – 3 grams per cup

Brussels sprouts are one of my personal favorite fiber sources. And while they used to be considered a non-desirable food, they have definitely increased in popularity over the years.

Brussels sprouts are naturally low in calories but rich in fiber and other healthful nutrients. They are also packed with antioxidants, which can lower oxidative stress in the body, the kind of stress exposure that can increase the risk of chronic diseases.

If you cook them with olive oil, be careful with how much oil you add, as the calorie content of oil can quickly add up (1 tablespoon is around 100 calories!).

How to eat them: 

Brussels sprouts can be enjoyed in many ways — roasted, steamed, boiled, or stir-fried. They can be seasoned with herbs and spices to enhance their flavor, making them a versatile addition to many meals. My favorite way to enjoy them is roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar at the end if I’m feeling fancy. 

14. Bananas – 3 grams for 1 medium banana

Not only are bananas rich in fiber, but they are also a great source of other healthful nutrients like potassium and vitamin C. 

Lately, bananas have gotten a bad rep on social media for their sugar and higher calorie content, but these recommendations are often from unqualified influencers who just choose not to eat them themselves. Bananas remain a highly nutritious food high in fiber that supports weight loss, not hinders it. 

In fact, one study showed those who consumed native banana starch lost more weight than those who didn’t.

Bananas contain sugar but are the natural sugar fructose in all fruits. This is not the type of sugar associated with weight loss – it is the added sugar in processed foods that is the concern. 

How to eat them: Add them to your cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, or as a standalone snack with a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter. They also can be used as a suitable egg replacement in baked goods.

15. Artichokes – 7 grams for one medium artichoke

Last but not least, artichokes are one of the highest-fiber vegetables out there. They are also high in nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamins C, K, and potassium and are low in calories. 

Artichokes also contain a specific fiber called inulin that can slow digestion, support regular bowel movements, and support a happy gut. Inulin is a type of prebiotic, or beneficial fiber that can feed the healthy probiotic bacteria in your gut to support digestive health. 

Many packaged food products contain inulin because of its health benefits, but artichokes are a natural source. Some people may have trouble digesting inulin, so it’s important to add inulin-rich foods to your diet to ensure tolerance slowly. 

How to eat them:  Artichokes can be boiled, steamed, grilled, or roasted. They can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to pasta, or simply enjoyed with a dip. You can buy canned plain or marinated artichokes or buy fresh artichoke hearts in the produce section. I love adding artichoke to my salads, with fish, or in pasta dishes.

Bottom Line

This list of high-fiber foods for weight loss can help increase nutritional intake help you feel more satisfied. For best results and to reduce boredom, incorporate a variety of these foods into your diet with a focus on low-calorie fruits and veggies.

If you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, start slow with 1-2 servings per day to allow your digestive system to adapt to them. This can minimize any potential bloat or digestive discomfort.

These foods can be easily incorporated into dishes such as smoothies, salads, Greek yogurt, pasta dishes, and as sides or snacks. Enjoy them in ways that work best for you so that you eat them more regularly.

If you need more help prioritizing the right foods to keep you full during your weight loss journey, contact me to schedule a free call to learn about my sustainable weight loss program. We’ll talk through your biggest weight loss challenges, goals, and determine if my program is a good fit for your needs.