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High-Fiber Foods and Recipes Every Older Adult Should Try

Woman cooking a colourful and nutritious quinoa stir-fry with mixed vegetables and a drizzle of olive oil.

Access to a healthy diet is a big topic and absolutely imperative to independent aging. One of the most important factors of a healthy diet is gut health and happy bowels, because let’s face it, regularity can make or break your day at every stage in life. The secret ingredient for happy bowels? Fiber. For those over 50 years old, the USDA recommends 21 grams per day for women and 30 grams per day for men.

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that does not break down during digestion. Found in most fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, it decreases the feeling of hunger, supporting a healthy appetite and weight, and it decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Did we mention fiber keeps bowel movements regular?

Tips and ideas for meeting the USDA recommendations for fiber intake

Instead of overhauling your grocery list, minor changes can have a major impact on gut health, for example:

  • When available, choose whole grain products, like whole wheat, corn, and oats, instead of white or enriched products
  • Choose cereals and ready-to-eat breakfast grains that have whole grain as the first ingredient, and read the fine print! Double-check the label for at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Opt for brown rice over white rice
  • Eat fruits and vegetables with the skin
  • Add fruit to your cereal in the morning
  • Snack on popcorn instead of potato chips
  • Choose romaine lettuce and/or spinach instead of iceberg lettuce

Gradually increase fiber in your diet, because adding too much too quickly can cause uncomfortable bloating and gas.  Also, be sure to drink plenty of fluids when increasing your fiber intake.

Handy Fiber Rich Foods Every Older Adult Should Try

If you need some inspiration, here are some delicious recipes that are super high in fiber and easy to make.

High-Fiber Breakfast Recipe: Apple Cinnamon Oats

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Servings: 1
Fiber Per Serving: 7g


  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 medium Gala or Honeycrisp apple, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash salt
  • Toasted chopped nuts, optional


  1. In a small container or Mason jar, combine all ingredients.
  2. Seal; refrigerate overnight.


  • When ready to eat, oats can be served cold or slightly warm.
  • For even more fiber per serving, include a handful of raspberries.
  • For a dairy-free version, use nut milk instead.

High-Fiber Supper: Mediterranean Lentils

Recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Servings: 4
Yield: 6 cups
Insoluble Fiber Per Serving: 11g


  • 12 ounces (~1.5 cups) marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 cup lentils (dry)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups English cucumber, thinly sliced and halved
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) feta cheese crumbles


  1. Cook lentils according to instructions.
  2. Strain artichoke hearts over a small bowl, reserving liquid.
  3. In a large bowl stir together lentils and parsley. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved artichoke liquid.
  4. Stir in artichoke hearts, cucumber, and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon into serving bowls, and top with feta cheese.

Hungry for more? Here are some bonus recipes that come highly recommended:

If you or your organization is interested in learning more, helpful materials can be found at:

About the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry from JFCS Pittsburgh

The Squirrel Hill Food Pantry from Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) Pittsburgh offers nutritious, fresh food on a scheduled basis for those who meet income requirements in the 15217 zip code, as well as providing kosher food for those who keep kosher homes outside of 15217. Additional supportive services, such as counseling and employment assistance, are available to help regain and maintain self-sufficiency. Learn more at www.jfcspgh.org/squirrel-hill-food-pantry.

About JFCS Pittsburgh Senior Services

Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) Pittsburgh offers a range of services and resources to help seniors maintain their independence while providing support to caregivers and loved ones. For more information, please call JFCS Senior Services at (412) 422-7200 or visit www.jfcspgh.org/senior-services.