Best and Worst Smoothies
The real skinny on smoothies, plus 3 healthy smoothie recipes.
They’re refreshingly cool, come in fun, fruity flavors, and are served with
a straw. What’s not to like about smoothies? They’re so popular that you can
now find them at fast food restaurants, grocery stores -- even coffee shops.
But while smoothies may sound like a healthy treat, sometimes they’re anything
Smoothies are usually made with healthy ingredients like soy milk, fresh or
frozen fruit, skim milk, or yogurt. But some also feature plenty of high-fat
and/or high-sugar items like ice cream, peanut butter, sweetened syrups, or
chocolate. What you can end up with is a drink that has upwards of 600
calories, enough saturated fat to rival a double cheeseburger, and carbohydrate
grams in the triple digits -- and that’s just for the small size.
Consider: A 20-ounce serving of Smoothie King’s The Hulk-Strawberry has more
calories than a Burger King Double Cheeseburger with a medium order of French
fries (it totals 990 calories, 52 grams total fat, 19 grams saturated fat).
Dairy Queen’s Tropical Blizzard (with 1,122 calories, 62 grams fat, and 25
grams saturated fat) has more total fat and saturated fat than the same
If you’re looking for a healthy smoothie, your best bet is usually to keep
it simple. The label on Emerald City’s Fruity Supreme Smoothie, for example,
shows just four ingredients: banana, strawberry, nonfat milk, and protein. Any
smoothie that includes nonfat milk, soy milk, or yogurt will likely contribute
a nice dose of protein, along with other goodies like vitamin D, B-12, and/or
If you’re having a smoothie in place of a meal, look for a smoothie with at
least 5 grams of protein and a similar amount of fiber, so it will be more
likely to hold off hunger for more than a couple of hours. If your
smoothie is a between-meal snack, you’re better off choosing the smallest size
possible and keeping the calories below 300.
The Best and Worst Smoothies
And now for my list of the best and worst smoothies, from a nutritional
standpoint. To be considered for the list, the item had to be called a
“smoothie” or something very similar. The serving sizes range from 10 ounces to
24 ounces, so I ranked them by calories per ounce.
All of the smoothies in the “best” list are free of saturated fat, contain
no more than 61 grams of carbohydrate and at least 4 grams of fiber, and have
17 calories or less per ounce.