What foods have high fiber and fill you up quick?

Eating foods that are high in fiber can help you feel full and satisfied for longer. Fiber rich foods take longer to digest, helping to regulate appetite and blood sugar levels. This can be especially beneficial for weight management or maintaining steady energy levels throughout the day. When looking for filling fiber foods, focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.

What is fiber and why is it filling?

Dietary fiber, also referred to as roughage, is the indigestible part of plant foods. It passes through the digestive system relatively intact. Fiber is found naturally in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. It is often divided into two categories:

  • Soluble fiber – dissolves in water to form a gel-like consistency. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
  • Insoluble fiber – does not dissolve in water. It helps food pass more quickly through the digestive system and increases stool bulk.

Both soluble and insoluble fibers contribute to feelings of fullness. Here are some of the ways fiber helps you feel satisfied:

  • Requires chewing – high fiber foods tend to require more chewing which gives your body time to register feelings of fullness.
  • Slows digestion – fiber rich foods take longer to digest, helping you stay full longer.
  • Provides bulk – insoluble fiber adds bulk and weight to stool. This stimulates stretch receptors in the digestive tract, triggering signals of fullness.
  • Balances blood sugar – soluble fiber helps slow the absorption of sugars, preventing energy spikes and crashes.
  • Ferments in the gut – fiber is fermented by gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids. These compounds may promote appetite regulating hormone signals.

What foods are high in fiber?

Focusing on high fiber plant foods is the easiest way to increase your fiber intake. Here are some great options:

Whole grains

Choose 100% whole grain versions of breads, cereals, pasta and crackers. Look for at least 3g fiber per serving. Good options include:

  • Oatmeal – 4g fiber per 1/2 cup cooked
  • Whole grain bread – 2g fiber per slice
  • Whole grain pasta – 6g fiber per 1 cup cooked
  • Brown rice – 3.5g fiber per 1 cup cooked
  • Popcorn – 3g fiber per 3 cups popped
  • Whole grain cereal – 5-14g per 1 serving depending on brand

Fruits

Fresh, frozen and dried fruits all provide filling fiber. Aim for around 4-5g per serving. Great choices include:

  • Raspberries – 8g fiber per cup
  • Pears – 6g fiber per medium fruit
  • Apples – 4.4g fiber per medium fruit
  • Bananas – 3g fiber per medium fruit
  • Strawberries – 3g fiber per cup
  • Prunes – 3g fiber per 3 prunes

Vegetables

All non-starchy vegetables provide healthy amounts of fiber. Go for vegetables with around 2-4g fiber per serving. Excellent picks include:

  • Broccoli – 2.4g fiber per 1/2 cup cooked
  • Brussels sprouts – 2g fiber per 1/2 cup cooked
  • Carrots – 3g fiber per 1 medium boiled
  • Artichokes – 4.2g fiber per medium artichoke
  • Greens (spinach, kale) – 2-4g fiber per 1/2 cup cooked

Beans and lentils

All beans and lentils are packed with fiber. Choose canned or dried varieties with about 4-6g per 1/2 cup serving. Good choices include:

  • Kidney beans – 5.7g per 1/2 cup cooked
  • Lentils – 4g per 1/2 cup cooked
  • Chickpeas – 4g per 1/2 cup cooked
  • Black beans – 7.5g per 1/2 cup cooked
  • Navy beans – 6g per 1/2 cup cooked
  • Baked beans – 6g per 1/2 cup

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds provide plant-based protein and fiber. Look for varieties with about 2-4g per serving, such as:

  • Almonds – 3.5g fiber per 1 ounce
  • Pistachios – 3g fiber per 1 ounce
  • Chia seeds – 10g fiber per 1 ounce
  • Flaxseeds – 8g fiber per 1 ounce
  • Peanuts – 2.4g fiber per 1 ounce

Top 20 high fiber foods

To help you get started, here is a list of the top 20 fiber-rich foods ranked by grams of fiber per serving:

Food Serving Fiber (g)
Split peas, cooked 1/2 cup 8
Lentils, cooked 1/2 cup 7.8
Black beans, cooked 1/2 cup 7.5
Chia seeds 1 ounce 10.6
Artichokes 1 medium 10.3
Navy beans, cooked 1/2 cup 9.5
Pinto beans, cooked 1/2 cup 8.7
Flaxseeds 1 ounce 8
Oat bran 1 ounce 7.6
Raspberries 1 cup 8
Pear 1 medium 5.5
Bulgur 1 cup cooked 8
Figs, dried 3 figs 5.1
White beans 1/2 cup cooked 5.7
Oatmeal 1/2 cup cooked 4
Quinoa 1 cup cooked 5
Apples 1 medium 4.4
Sweet potatoes 1 medium 3.8
Brussels sprouts 1/2 cup cooked 4.1
Popcorn 3 cups popped 3.6
Almonds 1 ounce 3.5

Tips for adding more high-fiber foods

Here are some simple strategies for working more of these filling fiber foods into your diet:

  • Start your day with oatmeal, whole grain cereal or chia pudding
  • Have fruit with breakfast such as berries or a pear
  • Add chickpeas, beans or lentils to your salads and grain bowls
  • Snack on raw vegetables like carrots, celery or bell peppers with hummus or guacamole
  • Swap out white rice, bread and pasta for whole grain versions
  • Try quinoa or brown rice as a nutrient-rich side dish
  • Add nuts like almonds or walnuts to yogurt, salads and stir-fries
  • Enjoy popcorn as a high-fiber, low-calorie snack
  • Work in vegetable side dishes like roasted broccoli or Brussels sprouts
  • Top sandwiches and wraps with spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and other veggies

Benefits of a high fiber diet

Filling up on high fiber foods can provide many benefits beyond just feeling satisfied between meals, including:

  • Weight management – Fiber adds bulk and takes longer to digest, promoting satiety to help curb overeating.
  • Blood sugar control – Soluble fiber slows digestion to help prevent blood sugar spikes.
  • Heart health – Soluble fiber can help lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Digestive regularity – Both soluble and insoluble fiber prevent constipation by adding bulk and softness to stools.
  • Reduce disease risk – High intakes of fiber have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, diverticulitis and certain cancers.
  • Gut health – Fiber acts as prebiotic fuel for the good bacteria in your intestines.

How much fiber do I need?

The daily recommended intake for dietary fiber is:

  • Men – 38 grams
  • Women – 25 grams

Unfortunately, most people only get about half of the fiber they need. By focusing on whole plant foods, you can easily meet your daily fiber goals.

Potential side effects of increasing fiber

When ramping up fiber intake, some people may experience temporary side effects like gas, bloating or cramping. Here are some tips for minimizing discomfort:

  • Increase fiber intake slowly over several weeks
  • Drink plenty of water to help fiber pass through the digestive tract
  • Limit high-fiber foods at any one meal or snack
  • Reduce intake of other high FODMAP foods that can cause gas
  • Try a fiber supplement like Metamucil to help adjust
  • Probiotic supplements may help reduce bloating and gas

Focusing on soluble fiber sources like oats, beans and flaxseed may be better tolerated than insoluble fibers at first. Your body should adjust to higher fiber intakes over time. But if digestive issues persist, consider consulting your doctor.

Filling fiber-rich recipes

One of the simplest ways to add more fiber to your meals is by incorporating high fiber ingredients like beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds. Here are some delicious recipes using fiber-rich foods:

Breakfast

  • Berry and oatmeal smoothie
  • Quinoa breakfast bowl with fruit and nuts
  • Vegetable egg scramble with whole grain toast
  • Chia seed pudding with fresh berries

Lunch

  • Vegetable and chickpea salad sandwich on whole grain bread
  • Burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, veggies and avocado
  • Lentil vegetable soup with whole grain crackers
  • Quinoa salad with edamame and vinaigrette

Dinner

  • Veggie and bean tacos on whole corn tortillas
  • Stir fry with tofu, brown rice and broccoli
  • Veggie pizza on a whole wheat crust with side salad
  • Bean chili over baked sweet potato

Snacks

  • Sliced apple with almond butter
  • Kale chips
  • Edamame
  • Carrots and celery with hummus
  • Popcorn

The bottom line

Filling up on fiber-rich foods can help manage hunger between meals. The best sources include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Aim for at least 25-38 grams of fiber per day. Increase fiber intake gradually and drink plenty of water to minimize bloating or gas. Incorporating more plant foods into meals and snacks can provide weight control benefits, stabilize blood sugar, promote digestive health and more.

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