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low cost high fiber recipes for a healthy diet

by Cynthia York-Camden MS, RD, LD

High fiber foods and a high fiber diet don't have to be expensive. We have collected a number of low cost high fiber recipes below and on other pages in this section for you to try with your family. You might also enjoy sharing your own recipes at our Healthy Recipes forum.



Getting plenty of fiber 1,2 in your diet is important for good health. Fiber has important benefits including reducing cholesterol, improving blood sugar control, and lowering risk of heart disease. It has a positive effect on the digestive system by helping to maintain regularity and reduce risk of diverticulitis. A low fat diet that contains plenty of high fiber foods, such as grains, fruits and vegetables may play an important role in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. See a list of high fiber foods at the end of this page.

Fiber is found in plant foods and comes in two forms. Soluble fiber 3 is the part that dissolves in water and may help in lowering cholesterol as part of a low fat diet. Examples include oatmeal, broccoli, bananas and citrus fruits. Insoluble fiber is the roughage part that doesn’t dissolve in water. This type of fiber 4 promotes regularity and may help reduce your risk of certain types of cancer as part of a low fat diet. Examples include wheat bran, corn bran and brown rice.
Some points to remember when adding fiber to your diet include:

  • Increase fiber slowly to prevent digestive problems.
  • Drink plenty of water (About 8 glasses a day).
  • Try a variety of fiber rich foods to increase nutrient sources.

You can increase your fiber intake by trying some of the high fiber, low costrecipes included below. The recipes are easy to prepare and make only 2 to 4 servings which is ideal for singles or couples. Double the recipes to serve larger families.

Yummy Yams

3 medium yams
1 cup dried prunes (soaked, and drained)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp. butter
2 tbsp fruit juice (orange, apple etc.)
pinch of mace, pinch of ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

Peel and cut yam into 1/4 inch slices and steam. Arrange layer of yams on bottom of oiled small baking dish. Dot with margarine. Top with layer of prunes. Alternate layers until all is used. Blend the rest of the ingredients together and pour over potatoes and prunes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Makes 3 servings.

Apricot Rice sidedish

Cook 1/4 cup long-grain rice with 1 1/2 cups water till tender; drain. Drain one 8 3/4 oz can apricot halves saving 3 Tbsp syrup. Combine syrup, cooked rice and 2 tbsp orange juice concentrate. Spoon into 2-cup baking dish; top with apricots and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Makes 2 servings.

Simple Chicken Pasta Salad

4 oz cooked pasta twists or bows
1 6 oz boneless chicken breast poached, cooked and cubed,
or 1 cup cubed cooked chicken.
1 10 oz frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
or 1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 16 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 tsp. Italian blend herbs
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese.


Combine all ingredients in salad bowl, cover and chill for 20 minutes. Makes 3 servings.

Easy Brown Rice and Beans

4 tbsp Brown rice
3/4 cup water
7 oz can stewed tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
1/3 cup chopped onions (1/2 medium onion)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (1/2 medium)
7 oz can red kidney beans or (1/2 14 oz can)
Pinch of garlic powder
2 drops hot sauce
Dash of pepper.

Cook rice in water until water is absorbed. In skillet cook chopped celery, onion, and green peppers slowly over low heat about 10 minutes. Add drained canned beans, stewed tomatoes and seasoning. Bring to a boil, and then simmer uncovered about 10 minutes. Add cooked rice and mix. Makes 2-3 servings.

One dish Meal

Lean ground beef 1/3 lb.
Canned or fresh tomatoes diced 1/2 cup
Rice (uncooked) 1/4 cup
Water 1/3 cup
Pepper to taste
Cooked split peas or frozen thawed green peas 1 cup

Put ground beef in a pan and cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off fat. Add tomatoes, rice, water and pepper. Cover and boil gently about 25 minutes or until rice is tender. Add split peas. Heat moderately until hot. Makes 2 servings.

Naturally low fat Bulgar Wheat

Bulgur is wheat that has been cooked, dried and cracked. It has a nut like flavor.

Pour boiling water over the top of 1 cup bulgar wheat and let stand till water is absorbed. Add cooked bulgar to soups, stews and vegetables. Use cold in salads with fruit.


Here is a list of high fiber foods that you can begin adding to your diet.

Food Amount Fiber (grams)
Kidney beans (canned) 1/2 cup 7.9
Pinto beans (canned) 1/2 cup 6.1
Lima beans (canned) 1/2 cup 4.5
Green peas (frozen, boiled) 1/2 cup 3.5
All Bran 1/2 cup 10 - 13
Bran flakes 1/2 cup 3.0
Shredded wheat 1 biscuit 3.0
Sweet potato 1 medium 3.4
White potato (with skin) 1 medium 2.5
Brown rice (cooked) 1/2 cup 2.0
Whole wheat bread 1 slice 1.4
Popcorn (air popped) 1 cup 1.0
Corn (boiled) 1/2 cup 3.0
Carrots (raw) 1/2 cup 2.3
Brussel Sprouts (cooked) 1/2 cup 3.8
Zucchini ( cooked) 1/2 cup 1.1
Apricots (dried, cooked) 1/2 cup 2.5
Prunes (dried, cooked) 1/2 cup 7.0
Pears (raw) 1 medium 4.3
Grapefruit 1/2 medium 1.7
Orange 1 medium 2.6
Banana 1 medium 2.4


1. Anderson JW, Smith BM, Gustafson NJ. Health benefits and practical aspects of high fiber diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994;59(5 Suppl);1242S-1247S.

2. Timmons KH, Dufoar S. Quick and easy steps to a high fiber diet for the elderly. J Nutri Educ. 1990; 23: 260G.

3. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Step by step: Eating to Lower your High Blood Cholesterol. NIH Pub No. 94-2920. Accessed September 6, 1998.

4. National Cancer Institute. Action Guide for Healthy Eating. Accessed September 6, 1998.

5. Wolever TM, Jenkins DJ. What is a high fiber diet? Adv Exp Med Biol. 1997,427: 35-42

Last Updated January 2009


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