Whole fiber foods are favorites for weight loss because they are good for leather bags, waist circumference, and your body. Compared with fortified foods, whole foods packaged in fiber are cheaper. For example, a cup of cooked barley costs a few pence per serving and contains 6 grams of fiber. In contrast, the leading fiber-filled granola sells for about 60 cents each and has a fiber content of 9 grams. Granola bars are not only more expensive, but they are also nothing more than snacks, while barley is half a meal. In addition, whole wheat barley is also rich in phytochemicals, fiber, and protein.

This is where your waistline and health come into play. Foods higher in fiber make you feel fuller on fewer calories. Whole foods such as beans, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of healthy calories and fiber.

Fiber also works like a scrub brush to clear out natural byproducts of our body’s metabolic process and unneeded cholesterol in our blood. Fiber adds bulk to our poop thus helping dispose of all the toxins and dead cells from the colon. For various (and more technical) reasons, eating more fiber has shown to help decrease the chances of colon cancer. How much fiber do we need to consume in a day to enjoy the full range of benefits? It is recommended that men need 30-38 grams a day, and women need 21-25 grams a day.

An easy step to increase your fiber intake is to focus on getting 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables a day in your diet. Here are some quick exchanges and supplements that you can increase fiber content in your daily diet:

1. Flax and Chia seeds: Great to add to any breakfast cereal. If the nutty flavor of flax is not your favorite try chia. Chia is more gelatinous so adding it to oatmeal is a good fit. Chia can also go undetected for children as it blends so well with the oatmeal! Three Tbsp of chia contains 14 grams of fiber and that is more than the average American eats in a day (12 grams).

2. Beans and legumes: Wash-off dry beans, place in a slow cooker, and cover with 2 inches of water or vegetable broth. Add seasonings as desired. I like the seasonings from Chef Paul Prudhomme or Mrs. Dash because they are quick salt-free spice mixes. Cook on low for 8 hours and have bean soup served with/over whole grain or cornbread. A cup of black beans will add 15 grams of fiber to your day.

3. Wheat berries: Eat hot or cold. This is a wheat product that has a clean nutty flavor. Eat as a side salad or alone in place of rice. Half a cup serving has 4 grams of fiber.

4. Bulgur: Meat is void of fiber so add some to your dish! Add cooked bulgur to your meatloaf. Try adding dry bulgur to your taco mix when you add your water and seasoning. Bulgur picks up any flavor you combine it with and has a similar texture to the ground beef. Add a cup of bulgur to dinner and this will add 8 grams of fiber.

5. Amaranth- Pop like old-fashioned popcorn on the stovetop. I recommend only popping 3-4 Tablespoons at a time. It will “pop” and turn from the light brown color to white. Eat as a snack or sprinkle on your salad to add a fibrous crunch. A nice sprinkle of about 4 Tbsp of popped amaranth to your salad will offer about 5 grams of fiber to your meal.