Best High-Fiber Foods And Snacks, According To Experts


Expert Reviewed

Jackie Newgent is a registered dietitian nutritionist and former national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Jackie Newgent, R.D.N. Food and Nutrition
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You probably know fiber is good for you, but chances are you’re not getting enough of it. A 2020 study found most of us can benefit from increasing our fiber consumption by a whopping 50%[1].

Research suggests that food—and fiber, in particular—is medicine, and can provide benefits like reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and more. Convinced you need to up your fiber intake but not sure how? Read on to learn which foods are full of fiber and how to get more of them into your diet.

What Is Fiber?

Fiber is a nutrient present in plant-based foods, according to Rachel Goodman, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Brooklyn, New York. Although it’s a carbohydrate, fiber is unique in that “unlike other carbohydrates, it can’t be broken down and digested by the human body and leaves the body relatively intact,” says Goodman.

There are two main kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. “Both are beneficial and necessary for optimal health,” she says.

There are important differences between the two types of fiber, notes Sheena Patel Swanner, director of nutrition programs at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns to a gel in the digestive tract to help slow digestion. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, doesn’t dissolve in water; instead, it adds bulk to stools to help prevent constipation. Both are important and should be part of your diet, she says.

You’ll generally find both types of fiber together in foods, However, you can find more soluble fiber in foods like oats, beans and fruits, while you typically find more insoluble fiber in foods like vegetables and other whole grains.

Health Benefits of Fiber

Eating a fiber-rich diet has many benefits. Notably, a high-fiber diet can help reduce your risk of cancer, says Swanner. “The latest scientific report from AICR shows that every 10 gram increase in dietary fiber intake is linked with a 7% lower risk of colorectal cancer,” she says. Additionally, the latest AICR report included strong evidence that eating 90 grams (about 3 ounces) of whole grains a day can help reduce colorectal cancer risk by 17%—and eating more may reduce that risk even further[2]. A 2020 meta-analysis also found an association between fiber intake and a reduced risk of breast cancer[3].

Fiber provides many other health benefits as well. “Fiber helps improve and maintain gut health by promoting healthy bacteria growth and strengthening the walls of your digestive tract for optimal function,” says Goodman. “It also helps regulate bowel movements, which keeps your gut healthy, too.”

Goodman notes that including fiber (specifically soluble fiber) in your meals and snacks also helps you feel more full, aids in balancing blood glucose and promotes heart health by helping to lower total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

Indeed, 2020 research suggests that eating plenty of fiber can help reduce one’s risk of heart disease, diabetes and some gastrointestinal disorders[1]. Adequate fiber intake is also associated with lower rates of dyslipidemia, a condition estimated to be associated with more than half the global cases of ischemic heart disease (narrowed arteries that can lead to a heart attack).

How Much Fiber Should You Consume Per Day?

To unlock fiber’s cancer-fighting benefits, adults should aim for at least 30 grams of fiber a day, says Swanner. She adds that, on average, U.S. adults need to increase their fiber intake by 12 to 15 grams a day, but don’t let those numbers intimidate you.

Her advice: “Start where you are.” Simply introduce fiber-rich foods into the types of meals and snacks you already eat as a great jumping-off point. Swanner suggests starting the week with Meatless Monday and continuing to add fiber-rich foods throughout the week by tossing berries into your cereal, trading white rice for brown rice and replacing meat with black beans or lentils when preparing chili.

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High-Fiber Foods and Snacks, Recommended by Experts

The next time you hit the grocery store, add the following foods to your cart for an extra boost of fiber.


Almonds are one of Swanner’s favorite crunchy midday snacks. According to a 2018 metastudy, adding almonds to your diet can help reduce LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and maintain HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol)[4]. Swanner recommends adding slivered almonds to quinoa or brown rice to inject your meal with extra nutrients and texture. One ounce, or 23 almonds (a generous handful), provides 3.5 grams of fiber.

Air-Popped Popcorn

Popcorn doesn’t just taste good—it’s also an excellent source of antioxidants, according to research[5]. “I like adding a dash of turmeric, pepper and salt for a fun flavor boost,” says Swanner. Plus, air popping gives you all the nutrients and flavor without necessarily having to add fats like butter. Three cups of air-popped popcorn offers 3.5 grams of fiber.


Avocados are a great food to keep around because of their versatility, says Swanner. “You can mash one up with a fork and spread it on toasted whole-grain bread or cut and toss it with cucumbers and tomatoes for a fresh salad,” she says. One medium California avocado contains about 9 grams of fiber.


A great source of fiber, health-promoting antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytochemicals, broccoli packs a big punch. Swanner suggests roasting it in the oven with salt, pepper and olive oil and serving it as a side dish. Chop up any leftovers and throw them into scrambled eggs or on top of homemade pizza. One cup of raw broccoli offers 2 grams of fiber.


Offering 8 grams of fiber per one cup serving, “this portable snack is an excellent, high-fiber alternative to chips and pretzels,” says Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN, a Forbes Health Advisory Board member and author of Eat Your Vitamins.

In addition to offering a healthy serving of fiber, one cup of edamame provides 18.4 grams of protein, which helps keep you feeling fuller for longer, explains Forbes Health Advisory Board member Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND and author of Up Your Veggies: Flexitarian Recipes for the Whole Family. “Enjoy your edamame out of the shell with a sprinkle of sea salt or some reduced sodium soy sauce,” she suggests.


Strawberries provide over 3 grams of fiber per one cup serving as well as a healthy boost of vitamin C. Enjoy strawberries on their own or pair with yogurt, protein bars or string cheese, suggests Davis.


Prunes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber which help maintain good digestive health, says Amidor. “The fiber in prunes helps keep your bowel movements regular and makes them a great snack choice if you’re struggling with constipation,” adds Davis.

Amidor recommends enjoying prunes as-is, in a trail mix or as a natural sweetener in smoothies. One cup of pitted prunes offers 12.4 grams of fiber.


One cup of cooked chickpeas provides 14.5 grams of protein and 12.5 grams of fiber. “Certainly all that fiber and protein can help you feel more satisfied,” notes Amidor. Roast chickpeas with savory spices like chili and cumin or add to a trail mix, she suggests.

Other Foods High in Fiber

Plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits and grains are great sources of dietary fiber. If you’re looking to punch up your fiber intake, consider adding the following foods into your diet.


  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Leafy greens like kale and spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots


  • Berries like raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
  • Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Bananas


  • Oats
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Bran flake cereals
  • Shredded wheat cereals
  • Whole wheat
  • Brown rice

Nuts and seeds

  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pistachios

How to Find Out if a Specific Food is High in Fiber

To determine if a food is high in fiber, take a look at the nutrition label. High-fiber foods provide 20% or more of the Daily Value (DV) for fiber per serving, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On the other hand, foods that offer 5% or less of the DV for fiber are considered low-fiber foods.

The FDA also recommends reading the ingredient lists on food packages. Make sure to look for whole grains like barley, brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat and others to determine if a food is high in fiber. Keep in mind that ingredients are listed in order by weight, meaning the closer an ingredient is to the top of the list, the more of that ingredient is present in the food.

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Can You Consume Too Much Fiber?

Knowing that data supports a high-fiber diet for optimum health and longevity is important, but Goodman notes that focusing on numbers can be stressful for many people. “While it’s good to be aware of fiber sources and amounts, instead of focusing on serving sizes and grams, I recommend a much more sustainable and joyful way to get more fiber.” Simply make an effort to add high-fiber foods into your favorite dishes and notice how your body feels. “If your body is feeling energized, your bowel movements are regular and your blood sugars are balanced, these are all good signs you’re likely getting enough fiber,” she says.

“Too much of anything isn’t good for us,” says Goodman. “Too much fiber, or increasing your fiber intake all at once, can cause constipation, bloat or general digestive discomfort.” If you’re serious about focusing on fiber, she suggests taking a gradual approach and making sure all the food groups are part of your eating plan. “There’s no end-all and be-all to health. Balance is the way to go,” she says.

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How to Choose the Right High-Fiber Foods for Your Diet

The best high-fiber foods for you depends on factors like dietary restrictions, personal health history and preference. Generally, the best fiber-rich foods come from whole plant sources like fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes. Consult with your doctor or nutritionist to determine what fiber-rich foods you should incorporate into your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I increase my fiber intake?

You can increase your fiber intake by adding more whole fruits, vegetables and grains into your diet. Additionally, check nutrition labels and aim to pick foods that offer 20% or more of the Daily Value for fiber.

How can I get 30 grams of fiber a day?

To get more fiber in your diet, experts recommend opting for eating whole fruits over drinking juices, swapping white rices and breads with brown rice and other whole grain alternatives, eating cereals that have whole grain listed at the top of the ingredients list and snacking on raw vegetables or nuts instead of crackers or chips.

If you find it difficult to consume the recommended 25 to 25 grams of fiber per day through diet alone, consider adding a fiber supplement to your wellness routine.

Which high-fiber foods are low in carbs?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t use to break down into glucose. Foods that are high in fiber and low in usable carbs include vegetables, fruits, beans and unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains.

Which fruit is highest in fiber?

The highest fiber fruits are sapotes and sapodillas, which each offer 9.5 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. Other fruits high in fiber include durians, guavas, nance fruits and raspberries.




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