Twelve high fiber smoothie ingredients that will keep you full.
Fiber is your friend. Fiber is one of those miracle ingredients that is an awesome addition to any smoothie. It will keep you full and help slow the digestion and absorption of both carbohydrates and fats. Fiber slows down the digestion of starch and other more complex sugars. Fiber binds fats and slows and prevents their absorption. Lastly, fiber sweeps out the colon and cleans out toxins that your body does not need. You can quickly see that fiber is a needed addition to a healthy diet.
So, what can you add to your smoothies to maximize the fiber content? You need to choose whole foods full of fiber and avoid both processed ingredients and chalky fiber powders sold at the local store. These fake fibers may help keep you full, but they can leave your bloated and gassy. See my article on Chicory Root. I am not a big fan of fake franken-fibers like chicory root because they tend to leave me bloated and gassy. My wife is especially alarmed by the foul-smelling gas that follows. The good news is there are plenty of natural options to add fiber to your smoothies without being fake. Below is a list of ten alternatives that are natural and may give you less gas. Instead, give these healthy, natural, fiber-rich options a try:
Chia Seeds – These little miracles are packed with nutrition. One tablespoon has only 60 calories, but it also contains 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, and 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Also, chia seeds are also a good source of magnesium and zinc. Unlike many items on this list, chia seeds have almost no flavor so you will likely not notice the addition.
- Berries -Berries are very high in fiber so they can significantly increase the fiber content of your smoothies. Acai, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries some of the highest sources of fiber. Berries will thicken and add sweetness to your smoothie without adding a lot of sugar. One cup of raspberries and 1 cup of blackberries contain 8 grams of fiber each. One cup of strawberries and 1 cup of blueberries each provide 4 grams of fiber. I recommend unsweetened, frozen berries in place of ice.
- Pumpkin Seeds – Pumpkin seeds come in many varieties. You can get them shelled and unshelled and roasted and unroasted. The small green ones are called pepitas which are the shelled pumpkin seeds. I recommend that you stay with the shelled version because they are higher in fiber and minerals. The shelled pumpkin seeds are higher in zinc, carbohydrates, and fiber. Along with that carbohydrates, the shelled version will give you about 2 gram of fiber more per ounce (5 gm vs. 3 gm). That being said, both are full of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.
- Coconut Flour – A grain and gluten-free, high protein super food that is an excellent source of fiber. The best part is that it can double as a thickener of your favorite smoothie with minimal coconut flavor. One tablespoon has 30 calories with 3 grams of fiber and 1.5 grams of protein. You can’t go wrong by adding coconut flour
- Pumpkin – One of my favorite smoothies is a pumpkin spice smoothie. This fall flavor can be enjoyed year-round thanks to canned pumpkin. Each half cup has 4 grams of fiber and approximately 40 calories. It is also a great
source of potassium. Be careful to only buy the no sugar added version or even better, buy a whole pumpkin and freeze some for later.
- Shredded Coconut – If the coconut flour does not provide enough coconut flavor, try adding a little flake or shredded coconut to your smoothie. Heck, if it is available in your area, buy the whole coconut and add fresh coconut. One ounce of fresh coconut has 2.6 grams of fiber and 100 calories. One ounce of unsweetened shredded coconut has 5 of fiber with 180 calories. Shredded coconut has less moisture than raw coconut, so it tends to have more calories.
- Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are a great addition to a smoothie. They are packed with both flavor and nutrition. They are a great source of vitamin E, selenium, magnesium. One ounce of these little kernels has 1.6 grams of fiber and 87 calories. They are packed with healthy fats that will help lower your cholesterol.
- Cacao Powder – Add a lot of flavor per tablespoon. Raw and powdered chocolate is one of the best sources of antioxidants and magnesium, and it also contains iron and potassium. The best part is that it is also a good source of fiber. Each tablespoon may have up to 2.5 grams of fiber with just 20-30 calories.
- Ground Flax Seeds – Flax seeds or meal are a great addition to boost our fiber intake. It is also a good source of antioxidants and helps reduce your risk of heart disease. It does add a little bit of a nutty flavor that your tongue will love. The meal mixes into a smoothie easily, and it will also help thicken it. Each tablespoon had 35 calories and 1.5 grams of fiber. I would recommend sticking to the ground meal unless you have a great high-speed blender or prefer your smoothie a little gritty. You can also just grind the seeds in a coffee grinder yourself to keep them on hand for such types of recipes.
Green Leafy Vegetables – A green smoothie has great nutritional benefits. They are full of vitamins and minerals, and these ingredients are low in calories. The best part is green leafy vegetables are loaded with fiber. Most have little to no flavor, and their taste can be covered easily by the sweetness of fruit or berries. Although I would never add a cup of spinach to a smoothie, one cup of spinach has 4-5 grams of fiber.
- Vegetables – The veggie options are limitless. The options are only limited by your imagination. I have added asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, squash, turnips, and zucchini. Some need a little more fruit to cover the flavor, but all will add fiber. For example, I love to add butternut squash, and 1 cup of butternut squash cubes add only 63 calories but also add nearly 3 grams of fiber.
- Hemp Protein Powder – These ground seeds are a good source of both protein and fiber. It is packed with 5 grams of fiber per serving but also has roughly 14-16 grams of protein. 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. I will recommend that you avoid this product if you have work drug tests such as the military, pilots, police, or medical workers. Although the research says you are unlikely to test positive, the risk is there, and it is not worth it.
The bottom line: Fiber will keep you full longer, so it is a great addition to your morning smoothie. Just about any high-fiber ingredient will leave your smoothie a little gritty unless you have a high-speed blender. Don’t fret because you can cure this without a $500 blender. Instead, use a coffee grinder to meal it into a flour or meal.