Creating a nourishing, filling smoothie

There’s nothing like a cool, creamy smoothie for a quick and easy meal. The trick though is getting the balance of ingredients right so it’s both filling and nourishing and you’re not left feeling hungry an hour later! As a nutritionist, one of the common things people say to me is that they love smoothies, but they just don’t keep them feeling full.  So today I thought I’d share with you my tips on creating a balanced smoothie that’s smooth, delicious and filling.

Creating the ‘perfect smoothie:

The right balance of ingredients

If you’re having a smoothie for as a meal, you need to consider how much you’d normally have to eat at a meal. For example, a little coconut water and a handful of berries wouldn’t sustain you for breakfast, so you’d need to add more than that to your smoothie.

To keep you full, a smoothie should have a good balance of fruit/vegetables (which provides carbohydrate for energy), some healthy fat and a protein source, blended together with a liquid.  These are all just general guidelines, everyone is different so take your needs into account, experiment and do what works best for you.

Quality equipment

The other thing that’s essential in creating a perfect smoothie is having the right equipment. The key to getting a nice textured smoothie is a good blender. When it’s a smoothie, you don’t want to have to feel like you have to stop and chew!

I really never enjoyed greens in my smoothies as there’d always be stringy bits or chunks but now I’ve got a NutriBullet, I’m loving it.  The NutriBullet definitely lives up to the hype. Even tougher vegetables are completely blended up so you’d never know they were there.   I snuck cucumber into my husband’s smoothie and he had no idea.

The same goes for nuts, seeds and dates – they’re blitzed up beautifully in the NutriBullet.  This is useful from not just a texture perspective, but also nutritionally for some foods such as seeds.  For example linseeds are a source of omega 3 fatty acids, but unless they are ground, they tend to pass through the body undigested. The NutriBullet really breaks these down so you can get all the goodness out.

What to put in your smoothie:

1. Fruit and vegetables

Full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, fruit and vegetables are the superstars in nutrition. I’d generally suggest sticking to 1-2 serves of fruit in a smoothie for a serving and topping up your smoothie with a serve or two of vegetables.   This provides a good flavour base and provides carbohydrate for energy.

For a creamy smoothie, a banana is always a good base. As soon as mine start to go a bit spotty in the fruit bowl, I chuck them in the freezer to wizz up into smoothies. I pop them in the freezer whole, then when I need one, I either run it under hot water or microwave it for 30 seconds so it’s still frozen, but I can peel off the skin.

Any other fruit can be used in a smoothie, and some of my favourites include kiwifruit, passionfruit, berries of all types and feijoas (when they’re in season).

For vegetables, you can add as many as you like, but I find to keep the taste balance right, generally between 1-3 servings is good.

Here’s some of my favourite vegetables to add:

Leafy Greens – spinach, kale, silverbeet, cos lettuce (1-2 handfuls)
Other vegetables – carrot, beetroot, celery, cucumber

Avocado – avocado is great source of healthy fats and can help make your smoothie nice and creamy.  It’s perfect in a green smoothie.   I’d use about 1/4 of an avocado as a good portion size, and if I used avocado I might use a little less nuts/seeds to balance out the fat and energy content.

2. A source of protein:

Including a source of protein can help will help make your smoothie sustaining.  If you’re making your smoothie with cows or soy milk, this does give it some protein (there are around 10g of protein in one cup of low fat milk), but I like to top it up with either some Greek yoghurt or protein powder.

Nuts and seeds provide both fat and protein, so adding a serve of these will add a small protein boost too.

My two go to sources of protein are:

Greek yoghurt – I’ll often buy Anchor Greek as it’s the highest in protein, but just buy what you like.  I’ll add about 3-4 heaped dessert spoons. Greek yoghurt is also a good source of calcium and provides vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.  Yoghurt also helps thicken the smoothie.

Protein powder – There are so many on the market, and to help you choose I’d suggest looking for a naturally sweetened product that is just protein powder. At the moment I’m using Clean Lean Protein powder, and in the past I’ve used whey but there are plenty of natural options on the market today. Protein powders are not a necessity at all, but can add a good protein boost, flavour and texture.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds pack a huge amount of nutrition into a little package, and the great thing about using a NutriBullet is that it grinds them up to perfection so you don’t have lots of lumpy bits or chunks in your smoothie.

Nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fat which when combined with other foods slows digestion so they help to keep you satisfied and full.

A couple of tablespoons is generally a good serving size, but you can have more or less depending on your own nutritional needs.

Here’s a sample of what you could add, but really, any nuts or seeds that you buy are a nutritious addition:

Chia seeds – Chia seeds are rich in nutrients. They provide omega 3 fats, magnesium, potassium, selenium, calcium and phosphorus as well as smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Chia seeds also swell up and make your smoothie thick if it’s left to sit a while.

Linseeds – these are a lower cost option than chia seeds that also provide omega 3 fatty acids. They are also a source of magnesium, potassium and dietary fibre. The NutriBullet does a great job of grinding them up.

LSA or LSC – these blends of linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds or linseeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds are an easy way to get a variety of seeds/nuts in your smoothie.  Both provide some omega 3 fats plus a range of vitamins, minerals and fibre

Nuts – take your pick – all nuts provide heart healthy fats and plenty of vitamins and minerals.  The image below shows you the star nutrients in certain nuts, but they all contain a range of nutrients.  Find out more here


Herbs and spices such as mint or cinnamon; vanilla bean paste, cocoa powder and Fresh As freeze dried fruit powders are some of my favourite flavour boosters for smoothies. Mint is lovely in green smoothies and fruit powders really boost the flavour intensity. Experiment a little with these and find something you like. They’re not a necessity but they help mix things up and up the tastiness.

There are so many other extras you can buy in the form of Green vegetable mixes to ‘superfood’ powders.  These are not necessary, but if you want to add them feel free. Spend your money on the basics first.

So, lets put all this information together in a couple of delicious, healthy smoothies.


Best Ever Green Smoothie

In my opinion, this is the tastiest green smoothie out. The mint is an essential; it adds a gorgeous taste and helps highlight the sweetness in the banana.

1 frozen banana
1 kiwifruit
¼ small avocado
1-2 handfuls of chopped spinach
Juice from 1 lime
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tablespoon mint leaves
Piece of cucumber, about 8 cm long, chopped into chunks
4 desertspoons of Greek yoghurt (about 150g)
1 ½ tablespoons chia seeds
½ – 1 cup of water

Place all ingredients into the NutriBullet and blend until combined.

Vanilla Boysenberry Smoothie

Slightly sweet, with a hint of vanilla, this is one of my favourites.  You can’t taste the cucumber at all and its a good way to sneak in an extra serve of vegetables

1 cup boysenberries
1 frozen chopped banana
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1-2 tablespoons cashew nuts
8 cm piece of peeled cucumber, chopped
4 dessertspoons of Greek yoghurt (about 150g)
1 tablespoon chia seeds

Place all ingredients into the NutriBullet and blend until combined.

“Carrot Cake” Smoothie

This dairy free smoothie reminds me a little of the flavour of carrot cake

1 small frozen banana
1 small orange, quartered
1 medium sized grated carrot
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 serve of vanilla flavoured protein powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Brazil nuts
2 teaspoons chia seeds

Place all ingredients into the NutriBullet and blend until combined.

This post was made possible thanks to NutriBullet