The average woman should be getting 25 to 30 grams a fiber per day, says Gans. That’s the amount in seven apples, or 12 cups of broccoli, or seven and a half cups of oatmeal. We’re going to take a wild guess that you’re not eating that many apples.
Getting an adequate amount of that nutrient through whole foods (not fiber supplements) keeps you fuller longer because fiber digests much slower than simple carbs. And the more full and satisfied you feel after eating healthy, fiber-filled foods, the less tempting those cookies in the break room will be after lunch, says Gans.
On top of that, this essential part of your diet keeps your digestive system on fleek, so you won’t be bloated or constipated. (Insert poop emoji here.)
Another bonus that comes with packing fiber into your diet is that healthy weight-loss friendly foods, like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, are already full of the stuff, says Gans. So by aiming to meet your fiber quota, rather than counting calories, you’ll end up making better food choices overall, she says.
Since pounding half a dozen apples at the end of your day to meet your fiber goal isn’t appetizing, the best strategy is to spread your servings out across all your meals and snacks for the day, says Gans.
“All of your meals should include at least eight grams of fiber,” she says. To hit the 30 grams per day goal, snack on a medium pear or a half an avocado, which have about six grams of fiber each, says Gans.
To ramp up your fiber intake at each meal, start including oatmeal, which has four grams per cup, quinoa (five grams per cup), and barley (eight grams per 1/4 cup) into your menu. To up the ante even further, get friendly with fiber-filled mix-ins like chia seeds (10 grams per ounce), and chickpeas (about nine grams per 1/4 cup).
Above all, remember that fiber is your friend.