It keeps things moving smoothly (you know what we mean), lowers our risk for diabetes and heart disease, and leaves us fuller, longer. What is this magic stuff? Dietary fiber! It’s essential to our diets, plus a high-fiber nibble can buy us time before the next meal hits the kitchen table. Here are 31 of our favorites. We opted for snacks with at least five grams of fiber (20 percent of the daily recommended value) to tide you over. Instead of turning to chalky store-bought high-fiber bars, try out some of these tastier choices.
1. Orange Spinach Smoothie
This tasty treat goes down easy while sneaking in tons of fruits and veggies. Toss 1 large orange (peeled and separated), 1/2 a large banana, 1 handful of strawberries, 2 cups of spinach, 1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt, and 1 cup of ice into a blender. Store any leftovers in the freezer for tomorrow. (Pro tip: Pour the leftovers in ice cube trays for easy blending the next day.)
2. Raspberry Cream Cheese Toast
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"><html><body><p>Toast 1 slice of whole-grain bread, spread with 1 to 2 tablespoons of low-fat cream cheese, and top with a 1/2 cup of raspberries. Each cup of raspberries has <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2053/2" rel="">eight grams of fiber</a>, so feel free to add a few extra, or snack on another handful while making the toast.</p></body></html>
3. Mediterranean Artichokes
Strain a 6-ounce jar of artichoke hearts to remove all liquid. Snack on them as is, or get fancy by topping with 1 tablespoon of feta, a squeeze of lemon juice, a little olive oil, and some cracked pepper. This 6-ounce serving of the hearts has more than seven grams of fiber. Plus, they’re a rich source of vitamin C. (We won’t tell anyone if you stick a fork in the jar.)
4. Enlightened Bars
These healthier ice cream bars aren’t just low in calories—they actually have some impressive nutritional stats: Eight grams of protein, no artificial sweetener, only three grams of sugar, and five grams of fiber per bar. Plus, these smooth and creamy treats come so many amazing flavors, including coffee, fudge, and orange cream.
5. Stuffed Apple With Steel-Cut Oatmeal
This snack is not only tasty—it’s lovely to look at too. Boil 1 cup of steel-cut oats in 4 cups of water. Stir in a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Then turn the heat to low while the oats cook (covered) for 20 minutes. Serve in a hollowed apple (we like ‘em overflowing). If the apple is too tough to eat raw, microwave the cored apple for a minute, and then fill it up. Or, if you've got time on your side, stuff the apples with oatmeal and then bake them at 350-degrees for 10 minutes or until the apple is tender.
6. Sweet Potato Fries
This one is easy as pie. (Sweet potato pie, that is.) Cut a sweet potato lengthwise, and toss the orange-hued wedges in oil and spices for a new take on a hamburger's BFF. And the best news of all: A medium sweet potato has more potassium than a banana and five grams of fiber.
7. Pear and Cottage Cheese
Core a pear and slice it in half, top to bottom. Scoop low-fat cottage cheese on top of the pear and sprinkle with cinnamon or poppy seeds. One medium pear touts an impressive six grams of fiber.
8. Edamame Hummus
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"><html><body><p>A new take on hummus, <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/edamame-hummus-... rel="nofollow">this spread</a> adds some color and fiber to your dipping delight. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and toss in 1 ½ cups of frozen edamame (<a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/98... rel="">12 whopping grams</a> of fiber!). Boil for five minutes, remove from heat, and drain. Combine edamame with a 1/4 cup tahini, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 clove of garlic, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon coriander, plus 1/4 cup water and the juice from one lemon. Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor. Drizzle in some olive oil at the end and serve with toasted pita bread or sliced veggies like carrots and cucumber.</p></body></html>
9. Pumpkin Yogurt Dip
Pumpkin, a superfood rich in beta carotene (essential for skin and eye health), is an easy and tasty way to sneak in some fiber, especially when it’s from a can. Mix together a 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin purée, 1/2 cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and a good helping of cinnamon and nutmeg (or pumpkin spice if you’re feeling fancy). Spoon it straight or use as a dip with graham crackers or apple slices. (Note: Make sure to use plain puréed pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, which is loaded with sugar and salt.)
10. Quinoa Pizza Bites
These simple nuggets are full of flavor. Fresh basil and tomato paste make them really taste like pizza. The key fiber-filled ingredients—quinoa and kidney beans—also make these bites a stellar protein-packed snack. Protein powerhouse quinoa is also provides us with essential amino acids that our bodies can’t on their own.
11. Rice Cake With Almond Butter and Pumpkin Seeds
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"><html><body><p>For a snack with some crunch, schmear 1 brown rice cake with 2 tablespoons <a href="http://greatist.com/eat/peanut-butter-and-beyond-nutrient-packed-alterna... rel="nofollow">almond butter</a>. (Get this: Almond butter beats peanut butter when it comes to fiber, iron, and vitamin E.) For even<em> more</em> crunch (and fiber), sprinkle 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds on top. The little green seeds are a super rich source of <a href="http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=75" rel="nofollow">magnesium</a>, which is especially good for strong bones. Extra bonus: Just half a cup of pumpkin seeds has about <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3141/2" rel="">14 grams</a> of protein.</p></body></html>
12. Banana Berry Oatmeal
For quick microwave oatmeal, mix a 1/2 cup of rolled oats and a dash of cinnamon with a 1/2 cup of water. Microwave for one minute. Remove the bowl, add 1/2 a banana (sliced), and cook for another minute. Stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons of low fat milk or vanilla almond milk, and top with about a cup of sliced strawberries, blackberries, and other berries of your choice. While all fruit helps out in the fiber department, berries are especially good sources—raspberries and blackberries have eight grams per cup.
13. Chocolate Bran Bites
For a seriously fiber-filled snack, combine 1 cup of bran cereal (20 grams of fiber), 1/2 cup of slivered almonds, and 4 ounces (about 4 squares, depending on the bar) of melted dark chocolate. (Pro tip: Melt the chocolate in a microwave in 20-second intervals until smooth). Spoon tablespoon-sized mounds of the chocolately delicousness onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and pop it in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes to set.
14. Spiced Flax Balls
The flax in these balls gives a healthy dose of fiber (five grams per tablespoon) and omega-3s. Pulse 1 cup of almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add a 1/2 cup of ground flax seeds, 1/2 cup of dates, 1/2 cup of raisins, 1/4 cup of chopped dried apricots, 1/4 cup of shredded coconut, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg and ground ginger. Pulse the mixture until it sticks (you may want to add a teaspoon or two of water). Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls, then cover in cling wrap and refrigerate.
15. Blackberry Basil Popsicles
Toss 1 ½ cups of fresh blackberries (which have one of the highest fiber contents of any fruit), 1 handful of fresh basil, 1/4 cup of honey, and the juice of one lemon into a food processor or blender. Purée the ingredients until well combined (strain out the seeds if you’d like it smooth). Add the mixture to popsicle molds or small paper cups, and freeze for at least eight hours. For extra big kid fun, pour the mixture into ice cube molds and add them to blackberry margaritas or mojitos for icy, antioxidant-filled treats.
16. Feta-Stuffed Prunes
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"><html><body><p>Grandma was right: Prunes can get you back on track. Once you get over the stereotype of prunes being "old people food,” you'll find they are really sweet and delicious. Plus, prunes have an insane amount of fiber (12 grams in every cup). Eat them as is, or cut a small opening and stuff some feta or blue cheese in the center for a quick sweet-and-savory bite. Bonus: Prunes are considered the epitome of a <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating... rel="nofollow">functional food</a> (which means they’re really good at promoting health!)<span contenteditable="false" tabindex="-1"><span class="linkref" data-content='<a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11401245" href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11401245">Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food?</a> Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M, Bowen PE, Hussain EA. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 2001, Oct.;41(4):1040-8398.' data-widget="linkref"><cite class="citation-reference" data-cite-reference=""><a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11401245" href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11401245" rel="">Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food?</a> Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M, Bowen PE, Hussain EA. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 2001, Oct.;41(4):1040-8398.</cite></span></span>. </p></body></html>
17. Chocolate Bean Butter
For a no-fuss sweet (but healthy!) snack, try out this chocolate spread. Combine 1 can of white kidney beans, 5 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon of stevia powder (or sweetener of your choice), a pinch of sea salt, 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth (adding a splash of water or almond milk if it’s too dry). Spread the chocolatey goodness onto a brown rice cake or use it as a dip for sliced fruit. Beans are an awesome source of fiber with 12 grams in every cup.
18. Kale Chips
We’ll be honest here: These guys don’t taste exactly like potato chips. But if you’re looking for a healthier (or more chic) way to crunch, kale chips are the way to go. Preheat oven to 375. Rinse and dry 1 large bunch of kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Rip the kale into large pieces, toss with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Arrange the kale in a single layer on a large parchment-lined baking sheet (careful not to overlap). Bake until crisp, which takes about 10. Make sure you check them frequently because they burn easily.
19. Buffalo Wing Hummus
Seriously, this is a real thing. It’s all the deliciousness of the Super Bowl, minus all the not-so-good stuff. Blend 2 cans of chickpeas, 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of tahini, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1 ½ teaspoons paprika, 3 tablespoons wing sauce, 2 tablespoons hot sauce, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and a pinch of kosher salt. Purée until smooth and perfect for dipping. Enjoy the hummus with celery and carrot sticks (or by itself…).
20. Lentil Trail Mix
We did tell you trail mix can be a dangerfood. But this recipe is a healthier option for one of favorite munchable snacks. Plus, it’s vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. Bake 1 cup of red lentils in a 350-degree oven on a baking sheet (after sprinkled with a touch of salt) for 30 to 35 minutes, or until they are crunchy. Chop up a 1/2 cup of dried apricots and pineapple, and toss the little chunks in rice flour to take away the stickiness. Combine lentils, fruit, 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds, and 1/2 cup of dried cranberries, and munch away.
21. Banana in A Sweater
This easy snack gets its fiber from three superfoods: flaxseed, chia, and oats. In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of honey with 2 tablespoons of a nut butter of choice (peanut and almond are our favorites). In a shallow bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of oats, 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1/2 tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Coat a peeled banana with the nut butter mixture (it’ll be easier if the banana is cut in half), then roll it in the dry mixture. While the banana serves as a carrier for all the tasty toppings, it adds three grams of fiber too.
22. Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
Considering our love affair with chocolate and peanut butter, a combo of the two really knocks it out of the park. Plus, you only need three ingredients to make ‘em. Mix 3 scoops of chocolate protein powder, 1/4 cup of ground flax seed, and 1/2 cup of peanut butter (look for the unsalted variety). Form the mixture into small balls and pop in the freezer to set before eating.
23. Banana Chocolate Chip Quinoa Bake
The very best thing about this recipe is that it takes only five minutes to make. Grease a microwave safe dish (try drizzling coconut or vegetable oil on a paper towel for a light coating). In a small bowl, mix 1/3 of a medium banana (mashed), 1/4 cup of egg whites, 1/2 cup of quinoa flakes, 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon of chopped pecans, and a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the mix into the dish, and even it out with a fork until it reaches all of the edges. Pop the dish in the microwave for two-and-a-half minutes. Let it cool and enjoy!
24. Black Bean Brownies
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"><html><body><p><a href="http://happyherbivore.com/recipe/vegan-blackbean-brownies/" rel="nofollow">Brownies with beans</a>? These fudgy squares take on the taste of chocolate way more than the beans—we promise. The batter forms up quick in a food processor, and doesn’t require a whole lot of prep work. More good news: Sneaking in <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fiber-foods/NU00582" rel="">black beans</a> loads the brownies with fiber, and provides lots of folate, a nutrient that’s necessary to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells.</p></body></html>
25. Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Crunchy roasted chickpeas are becoming pretty popular at grocery stores, but they can bare a hefty price tag. These chickpeas are a heck of a lot cheaper, easy to make, and have a kick to them. Drain and rinse 1 can of chickpeas and add to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and toss to coat. Arrange the chickpeas in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Take them out and shake ‘em around before returning to the oven for another 15 minutes (or until the chickpeas are brown and crunchy). Just half a cup of the guys provides six grams of fiber and six grams of protein.
26. Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Combine 1 cup of pumpkin purée, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup of unsweetened soy or almond milk, 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, and a 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom (pumpkin spice works too). Besides being packed with fiber, pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A, which is key for healthy eyes and also helps maintain heart, lung, and kidney health.
27. Fig and PB Dough Balls
Each of these dough hunks has four grams of fiber and just 150 calories. Grind 3/4 cup of peanuts in a food processor until it reaches a fine crumb. Add in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1/4 cup of agave, 1/2 cup of oats, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of ground flax seed, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, and 6 dried figs. Pulse until the mixture begins to come together, and then roll into 1-inch balls.
28. Avocado Boat
Cut an avocado in half, and twist it to separate both pieces. Remove the pit, and fill up the hole with salsa and some shredded cheese. Aside from a pretty stellar fiber content (six grams for just half of a medium one), avocados are a fantastic source of monosaturated fats, which can help improve cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of heart disease, and benefit brain activity.
29. Chocolate Crunch Mix
This is the ultimate homemade Chex mix. Combine 1 cup of Chex cereal, 1 cup of pretzel sticks broken in half, and 1/4 cup of roasted almonds. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of melted dark chocolate. Spread the mixture on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate sets. For a little extra fiber, sprinkle in some sesame seeds.
30. Yellow Split Pea Spread
This spread makes for a colorful alternative to hummus. Dip veggies like broccoli, celery, or cauliflower, or try whole-wheat pita triangles. Veggies, on veggies, on veggies!
Popcorn is a whole grain, so it can keep you fuller longer than other more calorie-laden snacks. For a budget friendly version, try popping a handful of kernels in a small brown bag in the microwave. Fold the rim of the bag over twice, and lay it horizontally in the microwave. Cook until popping begins to slow but doesn’t stop completely. To jazz up the regular old movie necessity, add fresh herbs like dill or parsley, or try a sweet variety with cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey (microwave the mixture first, so it thins out).