Meeting your quota may not be as hard as you think.
Credit: Randy Mayor

Choose heavyweights. To meet the 25- to 35-gram daily fiberquota, choose the foods that provide the most fiber in a serving:whole-grain bran cereals and legumes, then hearty whole-grainbreads, and finally fruits and vegetables. A cup-and-a-half ofraisin bran, for instance, will net you 12 grams of fiber, asandwich made with two slices of 100 percent whole-wheat breadanother 4 grams. Finish off your lunch with an apple (4 grams) andhave a bowl of vegetarian chili for dinner (5 or 6 grams), andyou'll easily cross the 25-gram finish line.

Find food first. Fiber supplements are OK in a pinch or toget you over that 25-gram hump if you simply can't manage to eatenough high-fiber foods daily. But when you get fiber from foods,you're also tapping into vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicalsthat come along for the ride. Experts believe it's the synergy ofall these nutrients, most of which aren't contained in fibersupplements, that confers the most dramatic health benefits.

Go natural. You'll get higher levels of fiber if you eatproducts that come in nature's original packaging. Consume fruitsand vegetables in their skin, a good source of roughage. (Rule ofthumb: With a few exceptions, if you can put your fingernailthrough the skin, leave it on.) Regarding grains, the coarser, thebetter.