It helps keep things moving smoothly (you know what we mean), it can lower our risk for diabetes and heart disease, and it keeps 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 favorite fiber-packed snacks — one for every day of the month. 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), ½ 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 easier blending).
2. Raspberry Cream Cheese Toast
Toast 1 slice of whole-grain bread, spread with 1 to 2 tablespoons of low-fat cream cheese, and top with ½ cup of raspberries (1 cup of raspberries has eight grams of fiber, so feel free to add a few extra, or snack on another handful while making the toast).
3. Mediterranean Artichokes
Strain 1 6-ounce jar of artichokes 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 six-ounce (or ¾ cup) serving of the hearts (the center portion of an artichoke) 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 in coffee, fudge, and orange cream flavors. At Greatist HQ, the favorite’s a tie between coffee and fudge. (I vote coffee!)
5. Maple n' Oat Stuffed Apple
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, and turn the heat to low while the oats cook (covered) for 20 minutes. Serve in a hollowed apple (we like ‘em overflowing). If it’s too tough to eat raw, microwave the cored apple for a minute, and then fill it up. Or, if time’s on your side, stuff the apples with oatmeal and then bake for 20 to 30 minutes 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. Shhh, it’s a secret: A medium sweet potato has more potassium than a banana and five grams of fiber.
7. Pears and Cottage Cheese
Core a pear and slice 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 six grams of fiber.
8. Edamame Hummus
A new take on hummus, this spread adds some color and fiber to your dipping delight. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and toss in 2 cups of frozen edamame (16 whopping grams of fiber!). Boil for three minutes, remove from heat, and drain. Combine edamame, 3 cloves of garlic, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and a squeeze of lemon in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Serve with toasted pita bread or sliced veggies like carrots and cukes.
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 ½ cup of canned pumpkin puree, ½ cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon of honey, ½ 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 pureed 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 for a stellar protein-packed snack. Protein powerhouse quinoa is one of the only grains or seeds that provide all the essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce themselves!
11. Rice Cake with Almond Butter and Pumpkin Seeds
For a snack with some crunch, schmear 1 brown rice cake with 2 tablespoons almond butter. (Get this: almond butter beats peanut butter when it comes to fiber, iron, and vitamin E.) For even more crunch (and fiber), sprinkle 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds on top. The little green seeds are a super rich source of magnesium, which is especially good for strong bones. Extra bonus: Just half a cup of pumpkin seeds has about 14 grams of protein.
12. Banana Berry Oats
For quick microwave oatmeal, mix ½ cup rolled oats and a dash of cinnamon in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir in ½ cup of water and microwave for one minute. Remove the bowl, add ½ 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 ½ to 1 cup sliced strawberries, blackberries, and other berries of 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 Crunchies
For a seriously fiber-filled snack, grab a box of bran cereal, which has 10 grams of fiber per ½ cup serving. Combine 1 cup of bran cereal with ½ cup of slivered almonds, and 4 ounces (3 to 4 squares, depending on the bar) of melted dark chocolate (melt 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
These balls get the fiber benefits of flax (five grams per tablespoon) plus their omega 3s. Pulse 1 cup of almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add ½ cup of ground flax seeds, ½ cup of dates, ½ cup of raisins, ¼ cup of chopped dried apricots, ¼ 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. Enjoy!
15. Blackberry Basil Popsicles
Toss 1 ½ cups of fresh blackberries (one of the highest fiber contents of any fruit), 1 handful of fresh basil, ¼ cup of honey, and the juice of one lemon into a food processor or blender. Puree 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 a mojito for an icy, antioxidant-filled treat.
16. Feta-Stuffed Prunes
Grandma was right: Prunes can get you back on track. The dried plums (once you get over the stereotype of them being an “old people food”) are really sweet and delicious. Plus, prunes have an insane amount of fiber (12 grams for 1 cup). Eat them as is, or cut a small opening and stuff some feta or blue cheese in the center for a quick sweet-n’-savory bite. Bonus: Prunes are considered the epitome of a functional food(which means they’re really good at promoting health!) Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food? Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, M., Bowen, P.E. Hussain, E.A., et al. Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA. Critical Review in Food Science and Nutrition, 2001 May;41(4):251-86..
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, ½ 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 and pulse until smooth (adding a splash of water or almond milk if it’s too dry). Spread onto a brown rice cake or use as a dip for sliced fruit. We know chocolatecan lower blood pressure but adding beans to the mix effectively pumps a healthy dose of fiber to the mix (6 grams for ½ a cup!) Differential effect of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate on biomarkers of glucose metabolism and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy, overweight and obese subjects: a randomized clinical trial. Almoosawi, S., Tsang, C., Ostertag, L.M., et al. MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, 120 Fulbourn Road, Cambridge CB1 9NL, UK. Food and Function, 2012 Jul 16..
18. 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, ¼ cup of tahini, ¼ 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. Puree until smooth and dip-able, and enjoy with celery and carrot sticks (or by itself…). The beans up the fiber content to a dip that usually gets its base from a fatty dairy source.
19. Kale Chips
We’ll be honest here: These guys definitely don’t taste exactly like potato chips. But if you’re looking for a healthier (or more chic) way to crunch, kale chips are it. 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 in a single layer on a large parchment lined baking sheet (careful not to overlap). Bake until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes, checking frequently (they can burn easily!).
20. Lentil Trail Mix
We did tell you trail mix can be a dangerfood. However, we’re about to give you a healthier option for this munchable snack, plus it’s pretty (and vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and grain-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 ½ cup dried apricots and pineapple, and toss the little chunks in rice flour to take away the stickiness. Combine lentils, fruit, ½ cup of pumpkin seeds, ½ cup of sunflower seeds, and ½ cup of dried cranberries, and munch away.
21. Banana in A Sweater
This easy-to-whip-together snack gets its fiber from 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 tend to be our favorites, but for a different taste and texture, try pecan butter, cashew butter, or walnut butter). In a shallow bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of oats, ½ tablespoon of chia seeds, ½ tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon. Coat a peeled banana with the nut 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 my love affair with chocolate and peanut butter as separate entities, a combo of the two really knocks it out of the park. Plus, these snack bites are actually healthy and you only need three ingredients to make ‘em. Mix 3 scoops of chocolate protein powder, ¼ cup of ground flax seed, and ½ 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 coconut or vegetable oil on a piece of paper towel for a light coating). In a small bowl, mix 1/3 of a medium banana (mashed), ¼ cup of egg whites, ½ cup of quinoa flakes (the flake version of the superfood grain), 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 out with a fork until it reaches all of the edges. Pop it in the microwave for two and a half minutes. Let it cool and enjoy!
24. 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 ¼ cup of roasted almonds. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of melted dark chocolate (to melt: microwave for one minute, stir, and continue heating in 20 second intervals until completely melted). 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.
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 heckuva 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, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and toss to coat. Arrange 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 little guys provides six grams of fiber and six grams of protein.
26. Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Combine 1 cup of pumpkin puree, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk or almond milk, 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, and a ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom (pumpkin spice works too). Aside from shelling out 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 ¾ cup of peanuts in a food processor until it reaches a fine crumb. Add in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, ¼ cup of agave, ½ cup of oats, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, ¼ cup of ground flax seed, ½ 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. Black Bean Brownies
Brownies with beans? 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 black beans 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.
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, made from a seed 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 it first for a bit to thin it out).
What are your favorite high-fiber snacks? Share with us in the comments below or tweet the author @nicmcdermott.