Reviewed by Jinan Banna, PhD, RD
The health benefits of consuming a diet rich in fiber are impressive to say the least. A high-fiber diet has been shown to promote weight loss, lower one’s risk of colon cancer and heart disease, and improve insulin resistance and diabetes risk. High fiber intake has also been shown to be inversely associated with coronary heart disease mortality. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for dietary fiber in adult women aged 19-50 is 25 grams per day and 38 grams per day for adult men aged 19-50. However, the average total dietary fiber consumption for most Americans is only 15 grams per day. Keep in mind that RDAs are established to meet the nutritional requirements for healthy individuals. For those who are prediabetic, diabetic, or overweight/obese, consuming a therapeutic dose higher than the RDA for fiber might be beneficial. Consult with a registered dietitian if you are concerned about meeting your individualized fiber needs.
What better way to ensure you are getting enough fiber in your diet than by starting your day off with a fiber-rich breakfast? I love breakfast smoothies because they are so versatile and rich in vitamins and nutrients. I used to work as a barista at an organic smoothie bar, which is what inspired this recipe. A popular smoothie we would make all the time – that even young children would love – was called the Funky Monkey. It contained frozen bananas, berries, dates, almond butter, and chia seeds. The flavors remind me of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I have altered this smoothie recipe to give it more fiber and protein. I used Nutiva’s Hemp Protein Powder, which adds an impressive amount of fiber and protein to the smoothie without compromising on flavor. You can swap the frozen raspberries for a frozen mixed berry medley. However, keep in mind that the fiber content will be less by switching the berries used.
If your current diet is lacking in fiber, slowly start to add more fiber-rich plant foods back into your diet. This will prevent gastrointestinal distress while your body gets used to the increase in dietary fiber. The Mayo Clinic recommends gradually increasing your fiber intake over the course of several weeks to avoid gas, bloating, and/or constipation. Also drink plenty of water to support absorption and transit time of stools. Since this smoothie recipe packs a ton of fiber, I would opt out of using the superfood ingredients until your body has adjusted to digesting more fiber.
|1 Banana||3.3 g||1.4 g|
|½ C Raspberries||5 g||0.9 g|
|2 Medjool dates, pitted||3.2 g||0.9 g|
|1½ – 2 C Almond milk, unsweetened||~1 g||~1 g|
|1 T Almond butter||1.7 g||3.4 g|
|4 T Nutiva Hemp Protein Powder||6 g||15 g|
|1 T Chia seeds||2.9 g||1.9 g|
|1 C Kale, destemmed||0.8 g||0.6 g|
|Totals||23.9 grams of fiber||25.1 grams of protein|
The Superfood Ingredients:
Kale is considered a superfood because it contains very high levels of vitamins A, C, and K. It is also a good source of vitamin B6 calcium, thiamine, folate, iron, and fiber. Kale also contains beneficial phytochemicals that are cancer protective and anti-inflammatory. The Foodie Physician, Dr. Sonali Ruder, recommends trying steamed kale to help lower cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease.
Hemp seeds are rich in fiber, protein, anti-inflammatory fatty acids, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and manganese. Hemp seed and hemp oil also contain powerful antioxidant properties that protect the body against free radical damage. According to registered dietitian Ginger Hultin, consuming hemp seeds can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as to treat atopic dermatitis.
One single ounce of chia seeds provides the body with 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein! Chia seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, manganese, zinc, and potassium. According to an article from Bob’s Red Mill, the omega-3 fats found in chia seeds have been linked to lowered cholesterol levels, as well as a decreased risk for developing diabetes, arthritis, and liver disease.
The Bottom Line
A great way to ensure you are meeting your fiber needs is to start your day off with fiber-rich plant foods. Smoothies are a great way to add in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. They also taste great and most recipes are vegan-friendly! For more vegan breakfast ideas, check out our blog on Vegan Breakfast Meal Prep. If you like this smoothie recipe, be sure to try our other smoothie recipes: Watermelon Banana Smoothie, Oat Milk Smoothie, and Mango Protein Smoothie.
High Fiber Smoothie Recipe
- 1 EA Frozen banana
- 1/2 cup Frozen raspberries
- 2 EA Medjool dates, pitted
- ½ – 2 EA Unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp Almond butter
- 4 tbsp Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder Superfood ingredients
- 1 tbsp Chia seeds Superfood ingredients
- 1 cup kale, de-stemmed Superfood ingredients
- Pour 1½ cups of almond milk into the blender.
- Add frozen fruit, dates, almond butter, and the superfood ingredients (if using, see note above about increasing your fiber intake).
- Blend on high speed for about 1 minute, or until all ingredients have blended and the consistency is smooth.
- Add more almond milk for desired consistency, and blend again.
- Pour into 16 ounce glass (I use a mason jar) and enjoy!
Jinan Banna, PhD, RD is the founder of Jinan Banna LLC and an Associate Professor of Nutrition at the University of Hawaii. Her research interest is in obesity prevention. Jinan helps working women to lose weight so that they can feel confident and energetic by offering free information on her blog, as well as nutrition coaching. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Doctorate in Nutritional Biology. She is also a registered dietitian.