Grandma says it; the FDA says it: You’ve got to get enough fiber every day. Sure, it can help you poop, but it also benefits your gut, heart, immune system, hair, skin, nails, and so much more. However, with the recommended daily intake of fiber being 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, consuming the amount of fiber you need is a lot easier said than done. After all, only five percent of Americans actually do!
Luckily for you, we’ve got a hack for getting all the roughage you need: A daily fiber routine. Incorporate these steps every day and your gut (and butt) will thank you.
First things first: Take it slow.
Your body needs time to adjust to an increased fiber intake. So, be sure to start slow, incorporating one of these steps at a time and drinking lots of water as you do. Otherwise, you may be stuck with some uncomfortable symptoms like stomach cramps and tough times on the toilet.
Break your fast with fiber.
Start getting fiber with your first meal of the day. Aim to get at least five grams of fiber from your breakfast. Some easy ways to do this are with whole grain or bran cereals, oatmeal, or whole grain toast.
Fun fact: Avocado is a great source of fiber, so avo toast on whole grain bread can get you on the fast-track to Fiber Town. Just make sure that your bread lists whole wheat, whole-wheat flour, or another whole grain as the first ingredient on the label. It should also have at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
We support snacking in these parts—healthy snacking, that is. We’re probably not the first ones to encourage you to snack on nuts, fruits, or veggies instead of chips. The truth is, they really are great sources of healthy nutrients, including fiber.
Not a fan of these snacks? You might be surprised by what treats can actually boost your fiber intake! Popcorn and dark chocolate are among some of the tastier foods that are chocked full of roughage, so no need to feel guilty if you snack on them in moderation.
Take a fiber supplement.
Taking a fiber supplement is one of the easiest ways to keep your fiber intake on track every day. Consider an all-natural option, like Bellway’s fiber flavored with real fruit, to avoid the artificial ingredients used by a lot of fiber supplement brands. As you would with any daily supplement, be sure to confirm with your doctor that it’s safe for you to take every day.
Swap in alternatives.
Don’t feel the need to sacrifice the foods you love if you’re looking to increase your fiber intake. For example, if you can’t say no to rice, bread, or pasta, opt for high-fiber alternatives like brown rice and whole grain bread and noodles.
You can also boost your favorite meals with fiber-ful ingredients. Add quinoa to your salads. Make soup heartier with kidney beans, carrots, and barley. Keep cauliflower on hand as a side dish for your meals. On game day, make guilt-free nachos with black beans, veggies, and whole grain tortilla chips. These tiny tweaks can result in major changes in how much fiber you get in a day.
Bulk up your dessert.
It’s the end of the day. You’re looking for something sweet to eat, but you still haven’t quite hit your fiber goals. Fear not: You can add fiber to your baked goods with whole-grain flour. Substitute just half of the white flour you need, or even all of it, and you’ll bump up your fiber intake. You can also add crushed bran cereal or oats to your muffins, cakes, and cookies.