Use This Ingredient To Boost Fiber And Texture In Smoothies

Smoothies have become a go-to way for us to get in our fruit and vegetables for the day. Even with our busy schedules, we find time to throw a few ingredients in the blender and head out the door — smoothie in hand. However, they can be finicky: Too much ice and you have a slushie that melts into a watery soup; not enough liquid and you'll be slurping your straw until your cheeks are sore. While simple and convenient, smoothies require a delicate balance of ingredients that can either make or break the day.

From mango and banana to even sweet potato, it can take time to find a smoothie recipe that fulfills all of our nutritional needs and satisfies our taste buds. Besides the addition of proteins, healthy fats, and those mineral-packed fruits and veggies, fiber is an essential component that ensures our smoothies will keep us full until our next meal. According to Mind Body Green, fiber won't just keep us satiated, but it will also regulate our digestion, support our gut microbiomes, and help maintain our blood sugar levels. Luckily for us, there's one simple ingredient we can use to not only add fiber to our diets but achieve the ideal smoothie texture we look forward to.

Uncooked oats

It's no secret that oats are prized for their nutritional value and health benefits. Originally named Avena sativa, the hearty grain is actually a species of grass that is harvested for its edible seeds (via Harvard School of Public Health). Even though oats contain high values of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, the true source of their power comes from a specific form of soluble fiber: beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are known to slow the rate at which food passes through our bodies, keeping us fuller for longer, slowing down sugar absorption, and reducing our cholesterol intake (via National Library of Medicine).

Whether a fan or foe of oats, we don't need to spend time prepping overnight oats in order to reap their health benefits. Instead, we can simply add ¼ to ½ a cup of uncooked oats to our daily smoothie recipe (via The Kitchn). Not only will we have the satisfaction of knowing that we're getting the benefits of added fiber, but the oats will work to thicken the smoothie while giving it a smooth and creamy texture. Above all, this simple addition to our morning mixtures means that our stomachs won't be grumbling midway to lunch — keeping us full and focused so we can tackle those productive mornings and get the most out of the day ahead.