There’s something purely magical about making your first meal of the day in mere seconds with a whirl in the blender. Everyone has time for that! They’re easy to customize, can be all sorts of beautiful colors, and can even be made ahead of time to save time on especially busy mornings. Making smoothies is also a great way to stay healthy, but you can easily find yourself hungry in no time if you don’t fill them with the right ingredients. Don’t just make a smoothie with fruit, ice, and liquid — you’ve got to add some satiety by including filling fiber in the mix too.
Fiber is one of the most important ingredients for not only your heart and digestive health, but also to stabilize your blood sugar and ward off hunger. Fiber slows down the release of sugars into the bloodstream, slows down digestion, and in the meantime, it sweeps out the harmful invaders in your body too. It’s a win-win no matter how you look at it!
Try to choose real food sources of fiber to keep you full instead of chalky fiber powders sold at the store; those taste like cardboard and offer none of the true nutrients found in real foods. Give these healthy, tasty, and fiber-rich options a try instead:
1. Hemp Seeds or Hemp Protein Powder
This magical protein powder is a weapon for a smoothie: it’s packed with not only 8 or more grams of fiber per serving (depending on the type you buy) but also has roughly 13-20 grams of protein depending on the brand and type you choose too. Hemp is also a great source of magnesium to support blood sugar levels, aid in muscle recovery, and helps boost your mood thanks to the omega-3 fats it contains. Try it in Chocolate Strawberry Almond Protein Smoothie, the No Beef Plant-Based Protein Smoothie, or Pumpkin Protein Smoothie.
2. Chia Seeds
Also a great source of omega-3 fats, fiber, iron, magnesium, and even calcium, chia seeds make the perfect smoothie ingredient. Just one tablespoon of chia seeds contains 6 grams of fiber, which is more than most pieces of bread and certainly more than any bagel or pancake. Add 2 tablespoons and call yourself set!
3. Coconut Flour
Source: Julie Magro/Flickr
A grain-free, high protein, and super high fiber ingredient that makes the perfect smoothie addition… coconut flour should be in every plant-based kitchen for those looking to add a clean, lean source of fiber and protein to their diets. It tastes somewhat similar to vanilla cake and thickens up a smoothie quickly! It’s also low-carb, sugar-free, and raw and organic varieties are also packed with enzymes and additional vitamins and minerals. Coconut flour contains 6 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons, plus 3.5 grams of protein to boot!
Spinach, kale, and even a few other leafy greens make delicious and fiber-rich smoothie ingredients. Don’t be scared if you’ve never tried them, but do go with milder options such as spinach and kale first, before moving onto others like arugula, herb mixes, and certain types of lettuces. If blending your greens sounds weird, consider that it’s the easiest way to “get in your greens” without eating a salad and improve your fiber intake at the same time. Greens contain around 5-6 grams of fiber per 2 cups which is the perfect amount for a green smoothie. You can also choose frozen spinach to save money and space if fresh spinach isn’t an option. Try kale in this Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie, which is perfect for active individuals or those looking for a tasty way to get in more greens.
Source: Pumpkin Protein Smoothie
It doesn’t have to be fall time to take advantage of pumpkin’s fiber and delicious flavor in smoothie recipes. In fact, just 2 tablespoons will give you 4 grams of fiber and hardly any starch, which makes it very easy to digest. Pumpkin is also a good source of iron, potassium, and water to provide optimal support for your energy and electrolyte levels.
6. Shredded Coconut
Source: Cocoa Coconut Mint Smoothie
If you don’t have coconut flour, just use the shreds, which coconut flour is made from. Choose this option if you want a more heightened coconut flavor, and a bit more dense texture. You can use small or large shreds, which is a great way to sneak in nutrition into any recipe! Coconut shreds have around 3-5 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup, plus energizing and muscle-building fats too. This chocolatey, minty smoothie is a great recipe to start with if you need some inspiration!
Source: Max Mallett/Flickr
Yes, you can sneak all kinds of veggies into a smoothie, believe it or not. Some great options include carrots, zucchini, cucumber (technically a fruit), and even broccoli and asparagus. Sure, you’ll want to be sure to flavor these well, but you’ll be surprised how much texture and thickness they add, while also keeping you full. Flavor them with either a vanilla plant-based protein powder, vanilla extract, some fruit, or some cocoa powder if you are a bit afraid to use them at first.
8. Cocoa or Cacao
Source: William Ismael/Flickr
Cocoa is one of the most overlooked sources of fiber, magnesium, and iron a person can add to their smoothie. Just 2 tablespoons of this delicious, antioxidant-rich magic contain 3 grams of fiber and 15 percent of your daily iron needs! Cacao is even higher in fiber, with 5 grams in two tablespoons and 40 percent of your daily iron needs. That’s pretty hard to beat for such a delicious smoothie option!
Source: Oksana Mizina/Shutterstock
We all know flax is a sure-fire way to boost our fiber intake, so why aren’t we using it more often? Flax is a great source of not only fiber (6 grams per 2 tablespoons), but also dietary lignans that can help fight heart disease. Plus, it has a nice, nutty flavor which makes it pretty easy on the palate, and it thickens a smoothie quite nicely too. Flax also whisks away harmful estrogens in the body, while protecting our natural stores of estrogen thanks to their isoflavone content. Use ground flax seeds for the best results to get the most benefits, unless you have a high-speed blender, which may break the whole seeds up a bit more. You can also just grind the seeds in a coffee grinder yourself to keep them on hand for such types of recipes.
Oats are also easy to add to smoothies, and they add a naturally creamy component too. Just 1/4 a cup of whole rolled oats will lend you 3 grams of fiber plus iron, B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. You can also buy oat fiber, which is just the beta-glucan fiber from the oats and is technically calorie-free since it’s just straight fiber (you can also use this to bake with). Oats or oat fiber both make for an excellent smoothie ingredient option and are both econmical ways to add “real food” fiber to your diet.
Don’t Forget the Berries!
Source: Blueberry Açaí Super Smoothie
And let’s not forget about the best source of fruit when it comes to fiber for your smoothies — berries! Raspberries, acai, and blackberries are some of the highest sources of fiber, and are lower in sugar than other types, however, no matter what type of berry you enjoy, they’re all great and provide more fiber than many other fruits. When choosing fruits, stick to 1-2 servings per smoothie and pick the most nutrient-dense like berries, apples, and pears that are also rich in fiber too.
What’s your favorite fiber-rich smoothie ingredients?
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