7 Clever Ways To Get More Fiber In Your Smoothies, According To Experts
It's no secret that including fiber in your diet is essential for healthy digestion, but did you know that most people aren't getting enough? While our daily fiber needs1 per the National Academies range between 21 and 38 grams, depending on age and gender, the average American only eats about 16 grams2. (In fact, only 5% of the population is estimated to be meeting their daily fiber needs!)
That's definitely a shame, considering getting adequate fiber (both soluble and insoluble) in your meals will not only keep you feeling satiated, but it can also directly aid digestive regularity, support a healthy gut microbiome, and even maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
So, what's a simple way to increase your daily fiber intake? Look no further than your daily smoothie.
Your go-to smoothie is likely already rich in an array of fruits and vegetables, but if you're low on fiber (and odds are, most of us have a fiber deficit), this is one of the easiest meals to modify for a quick boost. Not sure which ingredients will do the trick? Experts share some staples to consider adding to your morning drink to optimize digestion and fuel your body throughout the day:
There are a number of different forms of fiber to include in your diet for an array of benefits, including one found in a much-loved grain: "Uncooked oats3 [are a] great source of the fiber beta-glucan," says Julie Stefanski, RDN, CSSD, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
FYI: Beta-glucans are a type of fiber linked to an array of benefits, including gut, heart, and immune health—plus they can help support healthy blood sugar levels (more on the bioactive plant compound here).
As for the oats themselves, "not only will they pack in fiber, they will also add some texture [to your smoothie], and make it more filling," adds Valerie Agyeman, R.D., and host of the Flourish Heights podcast.
If you're craving a creamier smoothie that's loaded with health benefits, turning to avocado as a source of fiber4 may be your best bet. Avocado is "high in fiber, plus a beneficial monounsaturated fat," working to promote healthy blood pressure levels and cardiovascular wellness, all while keeping you regular, explains Stefanski. Avocado also adds very little flavor to a smoothie, simply helping to make the blend a richer, more delicious treat.
Adding a greens powder to your smoothies is one of the easiest ways to load up on a variety of nutrients (including fiber!) that can promote a healthy gut microbiome and aid in digestion and regularity.* One scoop of mindbodygreen's organic veggies+, for instance, will pack your smoothie with a strategic blend of leafy greens, root veggies, herbs, probiotics, prebiotic fibers, and more—to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and elevate the overall nutrition of your meal.*
Chia seeds are especially useful for increasing the amount of fiber5 in your go-to smoothie without changing the taste at all. "Two tablespoons of chia seeds have 8 grams of insoluble fiber," explains bariatrics dietitian Carrie Kirkland, R.D., L.D. This means that chia seeds can be particularly great for keeping you full for longer and making your smoothie all the more satisfying.
What's more, adding chia seeds can help thicken your smoothie and make it even more hydrating!
Often found in green smoothies, spinach is a powerful addition to your drink: It significantly bulks up your beverage, without really affecting the taste. "Baby spinach is a source of fiber that is also very high in B vitamins and phytochemicals," notes Stefanski. Other key micro- and phytonutrients in the leafy green include beta-carotene (aka vitamin A), vitamin K1, and the carotenoid lutein6—making spinach a worthy addition to any blend.
Berries are common additions to smoothies for their delicious flavor—but, what's more, they can provide an instant boost of both fiber and antioxidants7. "Berries come in so many varieties and can really increase the fiber content in your smoothie, and it works as a natural sweetener. Just 1 cup of blueberries or strawberries will increase the fiber content by 4 grams," says Agyeman. From strawberries to raspberries and blackberries, try out any combination of flavors to take your smoothie to the next level.
Calling all chocolate lovers: Adding some cocoa powder to your smoothie will not only make it taste like a chocolate milkshake but also level up its nutritional perks. "Cocoa powder8 [is both a] source of fiber and antioxidants," says Stefanski.
In fact, on a mindbodygreen podcast episode, nutritional psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, M.D., shared how he actually encourages eating chocolate for breakfast, due to its antioxidant properties (more on that here).
Not to mention, it will elevate the flavor of just about any smoothie formula. For a delicious combination (plus a nice balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats), try pairing it with a banana and a scoop of peanut butter.
Our go-to recipes.
Need some help choosing the best fiber-rich smoothie to blend up this morning? Here are some of our favorite recipes at mbg for staying full and satisfied throughout the day:
The bottom line.
Finding easy ways to integrate fiber into your eating habits can work wonders to support digestive health and keep you satiated after meals. Smoothies are a fantastic place to incorporate the important nutrient since there are a wide range of flavorful and filling ingredients to get the job done. Just be sure to increase your fiber intake slowly and thoughtfully, to give your gut time to adapt.
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career, and formerly worked at SheFinds. Her byline has also appeared in Women’s Health. In her current role, she writes and edits for the health, movement, and food sections of mindbodygreen. Readman currently lives in New York City.