High Fiber Diet Plan

Your clients’ gut microbiota will thank you for this High Fiber Diet Plan that includes ideas for simple high-fiber food swaps. 

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Written by
Alex King
Alex King
Reviewed by
Alex King

What is a High Fiber Diet Plan?

We are often bombarded with messages about good and bad fats, the importance of protein, or the benefits of plant-based diets, so much so that it is easy to forget about the unsung hero of nutrition: dietary fiber. Despite proven health benefits for cardiovascular health and weight loss- research shows that as little as 5% of us are reaching the recommended dietary intake for fiber (Quagliani & Felt-Gunderson, 2017). 

While dietary fiber may conjure up images of the less exciting end of the breakfast cereal aisle, its impact on digestion, maintaining a healthy weight, and improving cardiovascular health makes it a hugely important part of a healthy diet and deserves a much better reputation!

To ensure you don’t forget about this vital form of carbohydrate, we have created a free High Fiber Diet Plan. This printable diet plan template will help to ensure that your patients who could benefit from increasing their fiber intake are facilitated to do so in a structured and simple way.

This diet plan focuses on increasing both soluble and insoluble fiber intake. It includes helpful food swaps your clients can make to help them reach their recommended dietary intake for dietary fiber. If your clients could benefit from feeding their good gut bacteria, feeling fuller for longer, or lowering their cholesterol, our High Fiber Diet Plan can help.

Printable High Fiber Diet Plan

Download this High Fiber Diet Plan to help clients reach their recommended dietary intake of dietary fiber.

How does it work?

This High Fiber Diet Plan is based on making incremental changes and improvements to a client’s diet through customized goals and nutrition strategies. To make these changes, this printable High Fiber Diet Plan includes some smart high-fiber food swaps your clients can start making from day one and space to add in their food swaps that work for their eating habits.

Just follow the steps below to see how to utilize this diet plan. 

Enter your client’s details

Depending on your client’s needs, you may wish to include their BMI in this section, along with their name, date of birth, and identifier. 

RDI

We have provided your client with a dedicated space for the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of fiber. This RDI can vary significantly between clients depending on their sex, age, or any underlying conditions they have. 

Goals

Goal setting is critical for making long-lasting positive changes and for monitoring progress along the way. These goals may be result-based, such as reducing blood sugar or cardiovascular risk factors, or subjective goals, such as feeling less bloated or having more energy. 

High-fiber food swaps

Your client will have eating habits and patterns they have grown accustomed to, and sudden changes can be uncomfortable. As such, a way to smooth the transition is to swap out low-fiber, low-nutrient foods for high-fiber alternatives. Even doing this incrementally, i.e., swapping out half the white flour in a wholewheat flour recipe, can help boost your client’s fiber.

Additional notes

Add any additional notes you wish to add in the space provided. This could be guidelines for your patient, follow-up plans, or any fiber supplements you recommend.

Sign, date, store securely 

The last step is to add your name and date and securely store a copy of the High Fiber Diet Plan with the rest of your client’s record. 

High Fiber Diet Plan example (sample)

For more specific high-fiber food swaps and an idea of what a completed High Fiber Diet Plan might look like for your clients, take a look at our example High Fiber Diet Plan here or download the PDF version. 

Download this High Fiber Diet Plan example: 

High Fiber Diet Plan example (sample)

When would you use this plan?

While humans can’t digest soluble and insoluble fiber, soluble fiber can dissolve in water- forming a gel-like substance. This viscous gel can help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol and improve the efficacy of cholesterol-reducing medications (Soliman, 2019). Foods rich in soluble fiber, such as beans, lentils, and fruits, contribute to a heart-healthy diet by positively impacting cholesterol profiles and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Insoluble fiber, conversely, does not dissolve in water and adds bulk to the stool, promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. It can particularly benefit those with digestive issues like constipation or irregular bowel habits. However, for individuals with certain gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), high-fiber intake and the changes in gut microbiota can exacerbate symptoms and even produce the opposite of the desired effect. 

As such, a high-fiber diet could be indicated for a wide range of reasons, including:

  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Insulin resistance
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Constipation

However, care should be taken in recommending high-fiber diets due to the potential side effects at high levels for clients with sensitive stomachs.

Research & evidence

Despite a consensus on its health benefits, pinning down what constitutes dietary fiber has historically proved complicated. In 2001, the Institute of Medicine decided that dietary fiber consists of nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants. Other types of non-digestible carbohydrates that have health benefits for humans are instead referred to as added fiber rather than dietary fiber (Institute of Medicine, 2001).

The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration defines dietary fiber as non-digestible carbohydrates determined to have physiological benefits for human health, including both naturally occurring “intrinsic and intact” plant fibers, as well as non-digestible, synthetic carbohydrates, such as psyllium husk or guar gum, under the dietary fiber umbrella.

Despite some conflicting definitions regarding specific examples, the health benefits of fiber are generally well-established and endorsed by reputable organizations such as the American Heart Association

Although we can’t digest fiber, the friendly bacteria living in our gastrointestinal tract can, and by promoting protective bacteria through prebiotic dietary fibers, can improve digestion, reduce insulin dependence, and even aid in weight loss in both animals and humans (Parnell & Reimer, 2012; Megur et al., 2022). 

The mechanism by which fiber can aid in weight loss is multi-faceted.

Studies have shown that some types of fiber, such as guar fiber, can slow down the transit of digested food through the gut, providing an increased sense of fullness (Rao, 2016). Additionally, dietary fiber adds bulk to a meal and often requires more chewing, adding to a feeling of satiety (Burton-Freeman, 2000). 

Fiber can also play a key role in constipation by absorbing water in the digestive tract, creating softer stools that are easier to pass, and adding bulk to the stool (Akbar & Shreenath, 2023).

References

Ability to Modulate the Gut Microbiota. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(11), 6097. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116097

Akbar A, Shreenath AP. High Fiber Diet. [Updated 2023 May 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559033/

Burton-Freeman, B. (2000). Dietary Fiber and Energy Regulation. The Journal of Nutrition, 130(2), 272S-275S. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/130.2.272S

Dietary Reference Intakes: Proposed Definition of Dietary Fiber (p. 10161). (2001). National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10161

Megur, A., Daliri, E. B.-M., Baltriukienė, D., & Burokas, A. (2022). Prebiotics as a Tool for the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity and Diabetes: Classification and 

Panel on Macronutrients, Panel on the Definition of Dietary Fiber, Subcommittee on Upper Reference Levels of Nutrients, Subcommittee on Interpretation and Uses of Dietary Reference Intakes, Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes, Food and Nutrition Board, & Institute of Medicine. (2005). Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (p. 10490). National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10490

Parnell, J., & Reimer, R. (2012). Prebiotic fiber modulation of the gut microbiota improves risk factors for obesity and metabolic syndrome. Gut Microbes, 3(1), 29–34. https://doi.org/10.4161/gmic.19246

Quagliani, D., & Felt-Gunderson, P. (2017). Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap: Communication Strategies From a Food and Fiber Summit. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 11(1).

Rao, T. P. (2016). Role of guar fiber in appetite control. Physiology & Behavior, pp. 164, 277–283. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.06.014

Soliman, G. A. (2019). Dietary Fiber, Atherosclerosis, and Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients, 11(5), 1155. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051155

How much fiber do I need a day?
How much fiber do I need a day?

Commonly asked questions

How much fiber do I need a day?

The Institute of Medicine recommends dietary intakes (RDIs) for dietary fiber depending on sex, age, and other health conditions. The recommended dietary intake for males between 19 and 50 years old is 38 grams, whereas for females in the same age group, it is 25 grams. This RDI changes if you are pregnant or lactating.

Can you overeat fiber?

Although dietary fiber can aid in constipation through water absorption and bulking of stools, too much fiber can have the opposite effect. If you are already reaching your fiber RDI, excess fiber above this is unlikely beneficial and could worsen your digestive problems. It’s essential to consult with a dietitian or nutritionist in these cases.

Who typically requests High Fiber Food Charts?

High Fiber Foods Charts are typically requested by individuals conscious of their dietary choices and health enthusiasts seeking to increase their fiber intake. Health professionals, such as dietitians and nutritionists, may also use these charts for clients who could benefit from increasing their dietary fiber intake. 

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