With over a decade of protein-loving diets, from Atkins to Paleo, the health darling of the 90’s seems nearly forgotten. But with the rise in digestive disorders, diabetes and heart disease, fiber is making a comeback. It is in our house at least. When my husband went gluten-free we completely transitioned our diet. He chose a primarily grain-free diet and cut out most legumes. However, recent developments have prompted us to seek out sources of gluten-free fiber.
Whole wheat flours can be easy to bake with and even buy in pre-made goodies, but so many gluten-free foods, store-bought or homemade, are heavy in starches and “white” flours and nearly void of nutrition. After doing some research, here are my top picks for easily incorporating gluten-free fiber into your diet.
The new treasure of the gluten-free world, almonds and almond flour are good sources of “health fats” and offer a generous dose of fiber and protein.
They might seem old-school, but apples are one of the easiest, tastiest, high-fiber foods. If it is within budget, pick organic apples to avoid excessive pesticides.
Gluten-Free Fiber: 5 grams per medium apple
Love it: Crunch it whole or dip in almond butter and sprinkle on gluten-free cereal or dairy-free chocolate chips.
I adore broccoli and couldn’t be happier that it is cheap, easy to find year round, and packed with nutrients, from daily Vitamin C to bone-building Vitamin K.
Gluten-Free Fiber: 5 grams per gently cooked cup
Love it: Roasted or steamed with salt and garlic powder or dressed up in Broccoli Walnut Salad.
I love the deep flavor of this hearty grain, which adds nutrition, depth, and binding power to gluten-free baking.
Gluten-Free Fiber: 3 grams per 1/4 cup of flour or 4 grams in the whole groats
Love it: For daily ease, enjoy Buckwheat Cereal; for baking, these Healthy Power Muffins are a filling favorite.
Chickpeas / Garbanzo Beans
Our household still has a slight intolerance to beans, but we love chickpeas. It’s inexpensive, accessible and both the beans and the flour are oh-so useful.
I said “favorite” foods not the most fiber-dense foods. Even so, the amount of fiber in a single serving of this delicious treat may surprise you.
Gluten-Free Fiber: 2 grams per ounce of dark chocolate or tablespoon of cocoa powder
Love it: Indulge in some dairy-free Dark Chocolate Bars, Ultra-Rich Gluten-Free Brownies or keep the sugars low with this Hot Cocoa.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved oats, and it’s one of the few whole grains that the whole family can agree upon. Whole oats are also rich in protein, but oat bran is also praise-worthy.
Gluten-Free Fiber: Nearly 5 grams per 1/4 cup raw
Love it: Go traditional with a bowl of oats, prepared your way, or enjoy some wholesome Cinnamon Oat Crispy Treats.
Long used as a laxative (yes, like Metamucil), psyllium is gaining popularity as a binder in hearty gluten-free baked goods and savories. It gels quickly and aggressively when mixed with water and adds loads of soluble fiber.
Gluten-Free Fiber: 4.5 grams per tablespoon
Love it: Try this earthy Honey Teff Bread.
Rich in berry antioxidants and fairly high on the fiber ladder, this is one produce item that my niece actually gets excited about!
Gluten-Free Fiber: 8 grams per cup
Love it: Snack straight or enjoy parfait-style with dairy-free yogurt and gluten-free cereal.
Sweet Potatoes / Potatoes
There are vegetables with more fiber density, but it’s hard not to love versatile, inexpensive tubers. Keep the skin on for the most nutrition, but opt for organic to keep the pesticides low.
Gluten-Free Fiber: 4 to 6 grams per cup
Love it: Get ready for cool weather with Buttery Smashed Dairy-Free Potatoes.
5 Gluten-Free Fiber Runner Ups
- Amaranth: It rivals quinoa in fiber (5 grams per cup cooked), but edges it out in both protein and calcium. Amaranth is just a bit harder to find and slightly expensive.
- Artichokes: Toss the hearts on salads or pizza for 7.2 grams of fiber per half cup.
- Flaxseeds: Grind them and toss on salad or blend into a hearty baked goodie for 2.7 grams of fiber per tablespoon.
- Peas: A not-too-shabby 9 grams per cup; I only wish fresh peas had a longer season.
- Prunes: Grandma would be disappointed in me if I didn’t mention her favorite – they clock in at over 12 grams per cup.
Note that some other gluten-free foods may be higher in fiber, but these are my top picks for taste, overall nutrition, ease of use, price, and availability. Don’t hesitate to incorporate as many vegetables and fruits into your diet as you would like – all are great sources of gluten-free fiber!