When it comes to healthy eating, smoothies are probably where it all started for me. When my sister visited me in Sydney, we kept buying smoothies when we went out. It was ridiculously expensive given some places sell them for $12 a pop! At the same time I was working for a client who sells appliances and noticed how popular and affordable blenders were (they start at $15!) A few months later my parents gifted me a Nutribullet for Christmas. I started having a smoothie every day for breakfast, first thing in the morning. Not only did I lose a lot of weight, I also felt so much more energised! It’s been a few years since then, and my smoothie game has evolved a lot.

In the beginning, I grouped my favourite ingredient combinations by colours of the rainbow and used mostly fruit, which ensured they look and taste beautiful above all else. Fast forward to now, I know that smoothies actually are an amazing health hack as they help you up your vegetable intake without you even noticing. They are a true game changer!

Use my matrix and example recipes below to make your own healthy, beautiful and yummy smoothies. All recipes are my own creation and fit into a Nutribullet – they also keep a few days in the fridge if you can’t finish them.

Step 1: Sweetness

Using some sweet fruit ensures sweetness without added sugar. Choose from any of these:

  • Banana – this is probably the sweetest of all. Start here if you’re new to smoothies!
  • Apple, Pear or Grapes – a bit fresher in taste but still sweet
  • Mango or Rockmelon – quite sweet and works best in combination with greens
  • Pineapple – can be a little acidic and goes well with similar acidic fruits like citrus, kiwi or raspberry
  • Papaya or Peaches – add a very mild sweetness and goes with anything

If you’re new to smoothies, start with more fruit, e.g. one whole banana to a Nutribullet, and over time reduce the amount. Use a little less every week and test the waters – you can always add more back in. These days a few slices – roughly 2 teaspoons – of sweet fruit is enough for me.

Step 2: Nutritional needs

Other base ingredients I put in every smoothie:

  • Brazil nuts – to cover your daily selenium intake and fight inflammation
  • Chia seeds and hemp seeds – mainly for protein, but also fibre and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Coconut milk/cream, avocado or nut butter – adding good fats so your body can absorb all the vitamins from the other ingredients
  • Matcha powder and/or adaptogens – lion’s mane mushroom is my current favourite (I’ll tell you more about adaptogens in another blogpost soon)

Step 3: Add some colour!

Choose your colour and flavour and experiment to your taste. Try and always add some greens and use more vegetables than sweet fruit – otherwise the health benefit goes out the window! Berries are a bit of an exception here as they are rich in antioxidants – the more colour they have, the better they are for you. Ideally you’ll have a 3:1 vegetables to fruit ratio, or with berries 2:1:1 veggies to berries to sweet fruit.

Greens you can use are: Spinach, Kale, Beetroot greens, Silverbeet, Iceberg or Cos lettuce, Celery (all parts!), Cucumber, Zucchini, etc

I usually resort to spinach and kale because they are the mildest in flavour, but have a go with any greens you have in your fridge!

Purple

Blueberries & spinach – I love the taste of this combination, and I love the fact that I can mix in some greens without even tasting or seeing them. I sometimes add Acai powder as well. The result is a beautiful dark purple colour and great taste. I love banana in this.

Example recipe:

  • ½ banana (use a whole banana if you like it sweet)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • A handful of spinach (or two)
  • 2 brazil nuts
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • ½ can full-fat coconut milk or ¼-½ avocado (more avo = creamier texture)
  • Water depending on your consistency preference
  • Blend!

Pink/Red

Raspberry, beetroot & greens – this tastes nice and fresh and sweet and is a great combination of flavours. This will have a pretty, vibrant pink colour that is strong enough to cover the greens (and since you’re using beetroot, you might as well use the whole bunch and use the greens too!) You can also use strawberries or mixed berries. I find raspberry and pineapple complement each other very well.

Example recipe:

  • ½ cup cut-up pineapple (more if you like it sweeter)
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ½ cup beetroot (¼ cup if you don’t like beetroot – believe me you won’t taste it!)
  • A handful of kale (or two)
  • 2 Brazil nuts
  • 2 tbsp white chia seeds
  • ½ can full-fat coconut milk or ¼-½ avocado (more avo = creamier texture)
  • Water depending on your consistency preference
  • Blend!

Orange

Carrots & cinnamon – substitute the carrots with pre-boiled pumpkin or sweet potato or use a mix. You can play with adding some orange here as well. The cinnamon adds a cosy christmas feeling, and you can also play with adding ginger and turmeric – all three of them or on their own. This is the only one where I’d go easy on the greens to keep a rich orange colour. If you use banana and sweet potato it would become quite heavy (a good winter combination), whereas apple and carrot would be quite fresh.

Example recipe:

  • ½ apple (use a whole apple if you like it sweet)
  • 2 carrots
  • A handful of spinach
  • 2 Brazil nuts
  • 2 tbsp white chia seeds
  • Pinch of cinnamon & ginger
  • ½ can full-fat coconut milk or ¼-½ avocado (more avo = creamier texture)
  • Water depending on your consistency preference
  • Blend!

Green

Sweet fruit & greens. Any combination will work well! Add mint and cucumber if you like it fresh and cool, or add ginger and celery for a different twist. I also like adding Matcha powder to this one for an extra energy and green colour boost.

Example recipe:

  • ½ cup mango (use more if you like it sweet)
  • A handful of spinach and/or kale (or two!)
  • A few stalks of celery
  • ¼ of a cucumber, cut-up
  • 2 Brazil nuts
  • 2 tbsp white chia seeds
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • ½ can full-fat coconut milk or ¼ avocado (I wouldn’t do any more avo as mango also adds to a thicker texture)
  • Water depending on your consistency preference
  • Blend!

Chocolate

Banana & cocoa – the only combination where brown colour is still appealing is of course chocolate flavour! I use cocoa powder for baking (without sugar) and/or cocoa nibs here. One teaspoon is probably enough depending on the size of your blender – if you add too much it’ll taste bitter. You can also hide greens like kale or spinach in here!

Example recipe:

  • ½ banana (use a whole banana if you like it sweet)
  • A handful of spinach (or two)
  • 2 brazil nuts
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (caution: more = bitter, not more chocolate flavour!)
  • ½ can full-fat coconut milk or ¼-½ avocado (more avo = creamier texture)
  • Water depending on your consistency preference
  • Blend!

I hope this gives you a starting point for getting into the smoothie game. It can be a great summer breakfast addition or a quick breakfast on the go. If it’s all you’re having in the morning, I’d include hemp seeds (and 3-4 tablespoons) for protein – so it keeps you fuller for longer!

Do you have smoothies? What are your favourite combinations? I’d love to hear in the comments.