Fiber is a key component in a healthy diet. Maintaining a diet high in fiber can improve your cholesterol levels by lowering your bad cholesterol. A high fiber diet can also reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Here are some easy ways to add more fiber to your day:

Choose Whole Grains

Instead of choosing white rice and bread, opt for whole grains like brown rice, millet, and quinoa. There are a number of whole grain bread products on the market that are high in fiber—and taste good, too. Try starting the day with a bowl of steel cut oats topped with fresh fruit.

Eat More Fruit

Apples, as well as pears, plums, and quince are high in pectin, which is a soluble fiber. Eating more soluble fiber also helps you feel full longer. Other fruits including bananas, berries, and oranges are all high in fiber, too. Enjoy a piece of fruit between meals instead of snacking on less healthy options.

Add Beans to Your Day

Garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black beans, and lima beans are all great sources of fiber. Try adding garbanzo beans to your salad, make a black bean soup for lunch, or cook a batch of chili with beans for dinner. Just a quarter cup of beans provides 5 grams of dietary fiber!

Ditch the Mayonnaise

Instead of adding mayonnaise to your sandwich, spread on hummus instead. Hummus is made from garbanzo beans, also known as chick peas. Just a half cup of hummus added to your sandwich each day adds over 7 grams of dietary fiber. For even more fiber, add fresh vegetables like baby spinach leaves, bean sprouts, or fresh tomato.

Snack on Popcorn

Believe it or not, popcorn is a whole grain! Enjoy a big bowl on movie night as an added source of fiber. Just remember to choose air-popped popcorn to avoid the oil. Try adding paprika to your popcorn, instead of butter and salt, for a lower-sodium, lower-fat snack.

Eat the Skin

When enjoying a baked potato or baked sweet potato, make sure that you eat the skin. Skins from many fruits and vegetables—like apples, pears, and cucumbers—are a great source of fiber. Have a baked potato and a garden salad along with lean meat for dinner several times a week.

What’s your favorite way to add fiber to your diet?