To keep things moving down there, one nutrient is key. Yeah, you know the one we’re talking about: fiber. Considering most of us don’t get enough of the stuff—and no one likes being constipated—the more fiber, the better.
Loading up on fiber (at least 25 grams a day for women and 38 grams for men) doesn’t seem so appealing, though, when you think of Grandma’s go-to: prunes. But how else are you supposed to get your daily fill? Luckily, you’ve got more options than you think.
Tune up your fiber intake—and your digestive health—with a few of these tasty, smooth move-promoting foods. We promise you’ll never have to contemplate prunes again.
Believe it or not, this ever-trendy green fruit happens to pack a hearty dose of fiber. One serving (about a third of a medium fruit) offers three grams of fiber for 80 calories, according to Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D., author of The MIND Diet.
Plus, they are incredibly versatile—so have some fun beyond your basic avocado toast! “Avocados are rich and delicious, yet mild in flavor, so they go well in many dishes,” she says. You can blend avocados into smoothies, whip them into puddings, add them to omelets or soups, or mash them into guacamole, she recommends.
Everyone knows that beans are filled with fiber (you can thank the childhood song “beans, beans” for that), and chickpeas are just as good.
“Half a cup of cooked chickpeas is 130 calories, and provides seven grams of protein and a whopping six grams of fiber,” says Moon.
Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas, are super easy to use. Keep a few cans stocked in the pantry and you’ll have a quick add-in for soups and salads ready at all times, she says. You can also blend them into hummus or bake them with spices like turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and onion for a zesty crunchy snack, she says.
3. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are super filling and fun to eat, thanks to the gooey-sticky texture they take on when they’re combined with a liquid. And they win bonus points because they’re also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect your heart, Moon says.
Two tablespoons of chia are 140 calories and provide a whopping 10 grams of fiber. Talk about small but mighty!
Try blending them into smoothies, mixing them into oatmeal, sprinkling them into salad dressings, or soaking them in almond milk to make chia pudding, suggests Moon, who likes topping chia pudding with fresh fruit.
4. Hemp Seeds
Hemp is another seed that brings on the fiber, texture, and healthy fats.
For 120 calories, three tablespoons of hemp seeds pack nine grams of fiber, says Kelly Jones, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., L.D.N. They also provide about 16 grams of protein along with key minerals like magnesium and iron.
Jones likes adding whole hemp seeds to oatmeal, salads, fall soups (like butternut squash), and homemade energy bars.
Perhaps one of the most powerful plant proteins out there, lentils are also loaded with good ‘ole fiber.
“Lentils are one of my favorite plant-based protein sources,” says Jones. A half-cup of green lentils contains 15 grams of fiber and nine grams of protein.
And there are tons of delicious ways to cook with this pulse. Try mixing them with salad greens, veggies, and your favorite vinaigrette, or subbing them in for meet in tacos or chili, she suggests.
Throw a pear in your bag and you’re guaranteed to have a more satisfying and fiber-filled lunch. With six grams of fiber in a medium-sized pear, they pack more fiber than many other types of portable produce we snack on—including apples, which supply just shy of five grams per medium fruit.
Jones recommends adding pear slices to oatmeal, toast, or salads, or just eating the fruit fresh with some almonds. And, if you’re mixing together homemade trail mix, try adding dried pears, which offer 11 grams of fiber per 40-gram serving, she says.
Another high-fiber fruit option: berries. These naturally-sweet bursts of goodness are also some of the most nutritious eats out there, because they contain antioxidants that fight free radical damage and aging.
“Berries are a great source of fiber, and raspberries are especially high with four grams per half-cup,” says Adina Pearson, R.D.
Frozen berries are great for making smoothies or sauces for pancakes or waffles, or just mixing into yogurt or oatmeal, she says. And, of course, there’s nothing better than eating them fresh when they’re in season.
All nuts are rich in fiber, but pistachios have the highest fiber count of all, says Tanya Zuckerbrot M.S., R.D., bestselling author and founder of The F-Factor Diet.
A one-ounce serving of pistachios (about 49 kernels) is 159 calories and offers three grams of fiber, she says.
Zuckerbrot likes to add crushed pistachios to salads for crunch or sprinkle them into yogurt or oatmeal. These nuts are also a great travel snack—just portion out one serving size into a baggie, she says.
9. Brussels Sprouts
One of our go-to’s for veggie side dishes, Brussels sprouts offer almost four grams of fiber per cup—for just about 40 calories. (Not to mention they also contain about four grams of protein, too.)
If you have any distaste for Brussels leftover from childhood, try balsamic-roasted sprouts, says Zuckerbrot. “Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, toss them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, and roast at 425 degrees for 25 minutes,” she says.
Or, make a salad by shredding Brussels sprouts in the food processor and mixing the shreds with toasted slivered almonds, grated Parmesan cheese, and a dressing of fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper, she suggests.
A terrific plant-protein, edamame (a.k.a. soy beans) are also high in fiber to keep cravings at bay and boost your digestive system, says Zuckerbrot.
A one-cup serving of the green beans clocks in at about 190 calories, with an impressive eight grams of fiber and 17 grams of protein, she says.
Steamed edamame makes for a delicious high-fiber and high-protein snack or appetizer, says Zuckerbrot. You can even add a little sea salt or soy sauce for extra flavor. You can also buy them shelled and add them into stir-fries or Asian-inspired chicken salads, she says.
Pin this infographic to ensure you’re noshing on enough fiber throughout the day!