Losing weight shouldn’t equate with hunger pangs and irritability. And no matter what fad dieters preach, you can actually lose weight by eating more. Eating more fiber, that is! This belly-filling and cholesterol-lowering macronutrient is essential for weight loss because foods that are packed with the stuff take longer to digest. And that means you’ll feel full way past that last bite of lunch.
So make sure you’re filling up on enough of the stuff (the daily recommended amount is 25 to 38 grams a day) by reviewing our ten easy ways to add fiber to your diet.
1. Swap Mayo for Avocado in Sandwiches
Every sandwich needs a creamy counterpart, so why not choose a topping that’s good for you? Just half of an avocado contains 4.6 grams of belly-filling fiber. Its satiating powers are so potent that a study in the Nutrition Journal discovered that folks who added half a fresh avocado to their meal reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterward. And unlike mayo, which is virtually void of nutrients, this egg-shaped fruit is packed with healthy fats as well as aids the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, K and E.
2. Add Bulgur to Salads
Take your salad to the next level by adding a crunch factor with cooked bulgur. Just a cup of the stuff packs in 150 calories and a whopping 8 grams of fiber. The Mediterranean staple is also a wonderful replacement to your mundane side of toast or scoop of quinoa. Need another reason to spice up your salad with bulgur? The cracked wheat made our list of The 20 Best Fat-Fighting Ingredients Worldwide!
3. Snack on Popcorn
We’re all for munching on your favorite snacks in moderation, but the problem with potato chips—besides that they’re oily and caloric—is that you cant stop at just a handful! Don’t let yourself succumb to the crunch and saltiness by devouring a whole bag of Lay’s during your next Netflix and chill sesh. Instead, go for plain air-popped popcorn. Three cups of the inflated kernels pack in 3.5 grams of our star macronutrient as well as contain cancer-fighting polyphenols.
4.Make Hummus Your Go-To Dip
Hummus and veggies are like Beyoncé and Jay-Z—the ultimate power couple. Fiber- and vitamin-packed veggies are the perfect vessel for a scoop or two of the creamy chickpea dip, which has 2.5 grams of fiber per ¼ cup. Hummus is so versatile, you could practically dunk anything into it (including your fingers!) and even add it to salads and sandwiches to boost their nutrient and flavor factor.
5. Sneak Chia and Flax Seeds Into Oatmeal
A mere tablespoon of flaxseeds contains 2.8 grams of satiating fiber. In fact, this superfood is the richest plant source of omega-3 fats, which defend against inflammation, mood swings, heart disease, and diabetes. Their equally crunchy sibling, chia seeds, have almost double the fiber, clocking in at 5 grams per tablespoon! While the derivative of the furry pet you tended to as a child lends a creamy texture to baked goods and puddings, you can also add the stuff to oatmeal, cereal, and yogurt.
6. Toss Almonds Into Cereal
Rather than drizzling lackluster cereal or overnight oats with honey, cut back on added sugars and dial up on extra crunch by tossing a pinch of sliced almonds into your bowl. A mere ounce of this nutritious nut packs in 15 percent of your daily-recommended fiber amount! Not to mention, these slightly sweet nuts are a solid source of magnesium and iron, which most Americans need more of.
7. Swap Your Side Dish for Beans
We bet you didn’t know that cooked navy beans and black beans are fiber superstars! The former contains 9.5 grams per half a cupand the latter 7.5 grams per half a cup. What’s more, they’re loaded with muscle-building protein, which makes these creamy legumes perfect weight loss tools. Just cook the beans until tender and keep ‘em whole or mash them for a delicious and fat-frying accompaniment to your favorite meals.
8.Choose Ezekiel Bread Every Time
Food For Life’s Ezekiel bread is full of good-for-you grains and legumes like antioxidant-rich millet, lentils, soybeans, spelt (which promotes bone and tissue growth), and barley, which has enough fiber to keep your digestive tract in check. Just one slice of the Ezekiel Flax Sprouted Whole Grain variety contains four grams of fiber, so you can splurge on two open faced sammies without the guilt of eating extra bread!
9.Try Meatless Mondays
That all-beef burger or steak dinner sure isn’t providing your body with the LDL-lowering fiber it craves—that is unless you’re pairing your protein with extra veggies and legumes. But, adding more fiber to your diet shouldn’t have to mean you must forgo the fries every single time. Instead, opt for finally giving meatless Mondays a shot. Why’s that? Plant sources of fiber such as organic tofu and veggie burgers are nutrient powerhouses and, not to mention, they’re totally delicious. Check out these 20 Protein-Packed Vegetarian Meals for some vegetarian-friendly dinner ideas.
10. Grill Asparagus as a Side
Instead of pairing your protein with baked potato or pasta, try switching up your side dish with grilled asparagus. The spring veggie packs in almost 4 grams of fiber in just a cup-sized serving. And trust us, it’s way too easy to munch on more than that.