Fiber intake offers several benefits, such as improving regularity, promoting healthy digestion and gut health, strengthening the immune system, as well as suppressing appetite and boosting satiety, where you feel fuller for longer. And while most fiber-rich foods tend to be higher in carbohydrates, such as whole grains, whole wheat and oats, fresh or frozen fruit and beans and legumes, there are a few high fiber foods that’ll fill you up fast, but provide little carbs.
Some dietary restrictions and lifestyles unfortunately slash fiber intake, and if you’re diabetic and are watching your blood sugar, you might also need to be wary of how many grams of carbs and sugars you’re eating per meal, each day. The same goes for other diets, like paleo or keto.
If you’re on the keto diet, high fiber, low carb foods can be helpful staples in preventing constipation and appetite suppression for greater weight loss, since the keto diet restricts foods that are naturally high in fiber, like those mentioned above, and thus makes it difficult to fulfill fiber requirements unless you’re meal planning appropriately and are supplementing with a daily fiber boost, if needed.
Since you’re increasing and emphasizing your fat macronutrient intake, as well as consuming moderate protein and very few carbs per day—where net grams might be around 25 grams or lower—the reduction in carbohydrates can lead to a minimal and inadequate supply of fibrous foods, as well as deficiency symptoms.
A few signs of low fiber intake include both difficulty and irregularity with bowel movements, greater frequency in cravings and decreased appetite suppression between meals and snacks, getting sick more often and feeling less cheerful, with a less positive or unhappy mood. So, no matter your carbohydrate budget, eating enough fiber should be a top priority as part of a healthy diet. There are a few high fiber, low carb foods to choose from, which are delicious too.
Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and collard greens—these leafy greens are high in fiber content but don’t contain many carbohydrates, which is why they are an excellent high fiber staple on the keto or paleo diet, in particular.
Plus, leafy greens offer a good amount of protein for a vegetable, plus an array of other micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, like iron, magnesium and potassium—the latter two being electrolyte sources, which are especially beneficial post-workout or when you can feel yourself becoming dehydrated or sweaty.
Electrolytes boost muscle recovery and balance hydration levels, and your muscles are typically low in electrolyte and fluid stores after a workout, as they’re lost through sweat and are also used as fuel for exercise. Yet, they need to replenish stores for repairing, strengthening and rebuilding muscle tissue to increase muscle mass.
Eat a leafy green salad with tofu, nuts and seeds for a post-workout recovery meal or sip on a green smoothie with leafy greens, avocado, a plant protein powder and a small serving of fruit, such as blueberries, to promote relaxation, fight sore, tired muscles and decrease elevated inflammation and stress levels for a speedier muscle recovery.
Avocado is high in healthy fats that improve heart health (and are unsaturated by nature), as well as electrolyte power from both magnesium and potassium, a bit of protein and most definitely, fiber. Keeping avocado as a staple at home is easy, since it’s so delicious, trendy (avocado toast, anyone?) and versatile.
Use it to make a “green goddess” style vegan dressing, as a condiment in veggie wraps and sandwiches, as a dip for veggie sticks and low-carb crackers, in a tofu “scramble” for breakfast or in a vegetarian taco recipe that’s made with beans, bell peppers and mushrooms.
Nuts and Seeds
Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts (though technically a legume), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia, flax and hemp seeds and more—there are so many kinds of nuts and seeds to add to your diet for a good dose of fiber but for only a few carbs, whether in raw, whole form or as a nut or seed based butter. If you’re working out, go with a lightly salted option, since your body needs the sodium boost and electrolyte power.
You can even keep both unsalted and lightly salted options at home. Sprinkle nuts and seeds into low-carb oatmeal, blend to make a high fiber smoothie (especially when using chia seeds!), use as a topper for greens or a salad, as well as for an overnight chia seed pudding or dessert. You can also use a hazelnut spread that’s keto approved, so it’s low in sugar and carbs, and resembles nutella, for when you have a sweet tooth.
Much like leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower, are also high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, so make sure you eat enough throughout the week to meet your fiber requirements and also increase micronutrient intake, with a high variety of vitamins and minerals. Use them in stir-fry meals or enjoy as a side dish, sauteed or grilled with garlic and olive oil.
BerriesStrawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are actually keto approved, since they contain a good amount of fiber per serving and are lower in sugar and carbs. So, while you can’t go crazy and must adhere to portion control to maintain a lower carb, lower sugar lifestyle, you can easily enjoy mixed berries (or a serving of your favorite!) in a bowl of soy or almond based yogurt with low sugar, high protein vegan granola crumbled on top or in a smoothie, which provides immediate fuel for when you’re on the go or need a quick snack post-workout.