Now that it’s finally sunny and warm here in LA (hopefully for more than a day or two this time), it’s time for Smoothie Week here at Eating Rules!
To kick things off, it seems only appropriate to start with Jamba Juice.
The ubiquitous juiciteer has expanded their menu significantly in recent years; it’s now much more than just smoothies. Navigating their menu can be challenging, considering the large variety of smoothie, juice, and now even baked (and packaged) options.
Smoothies are notoriously high in sugar — both from the fruit itself, and from the added fruit juice, sherbet, sorbet, frozen yogurt, and/or regular yogurt. So, I suggest keeping an eye on both the calories and sugars as you read through the info below.
For all the smoothies, I’ll list the numbers for the “Original” 22-ounce size, unless noted.
All Fruit™ Smoothies – All Better Choices
These are made with only fruit and fruit juice. As such, they have a fair amount of sugar, but at least it’s not refined or added sugars.
I’ve sorted these from least to most sugar.
Note that the difference in sugar between the Peach Perfection and the Mega Mango (16 grams) is nearly four teaspoons.
300 cal, no sat fat, 0.5g total fat, 30mg sodium, 75g carbs, 59g sugars, 5g fiber, 2g protein
320 cal, no sat fat, 1g total fat, 20mg sodium, 79g carbs, 60g sugars, 6g fiber, 2g protein
Five Fruit Frenzy™
340 cal, no sat fat, 1g total fat, 30mg sodium, 82g carbs, 63g sugars, 6g fiber, 2g protein
300 cal, no sat fat, 0.5g total fat, 25mg sodium, 75g carbs, 64g sugars, 6g fiber, 2g protein
340 cal, no sat fat, 0.5g total fat, 35mg sodium, 85g carbs, 74g sugars, 5g fiber, 2g protein
320 cal, no sat fat, 1g total fat, 5mg sodium, 85g carbs, 75g sugars, 5g fiber, 4g protein
Jamba Classics & Blended with a Purpose – Better Choices
I’m drawing an (arbitrary) line at 380 calories. Under, and it’s a best choice. Over, and it’s a worst choice.
350 cal, 1g sat fat, 2g total fat, 30mg sodium, 81g carbs, 70g sugars, 4g fiber, 4g protein
Sure, it’s got 980% of your day’s recommended Vitamin C. Sadly, last I checked, there is still no convincing proof that mega-doses of Vitamin C will “bust a cold.”
360 cal, no fat, 30mg sodium, 87g carbs, 69g sugars, 3g fiber, 1g protein
360 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 50mg sodium, 82g carbs, 73g sugars, 3g fiber, 3g protein
Protein Berry Workout™ w/Whey
370 cal, no sat fat, 0.5g total fat, 150mg sodium, 72g carbs, 59g sugars, 4g fiber, 20g protein
If you’re a body-builder, then the whey protein might be good for you. Otherwise, it’s likely much more protein than you need, and the only thing you’ll be getting is expensive urine.
Protein Berry Workout™ w/Soy
380 cal, no sat fat, 1g total fat, 210mg sodium, 75g carbs, 62g sugars, 4g fiber, 19g protein
If you’re not a vegan, but you are a body-builder, whey protein is supposedly better than soy protein. Also, see above re: expensive urine.
370 cal, 1g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 50mg sodium, 88g carbs, 73g sugars, 4g fiber, 3g protein
370 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 2g total fat, 50mg sodium, 88g carbs, 75g sugars, 4g fiber, 3g protein
370 cal, no fat, 140mg sodium, 87g carbs, 77g sugars, 3g fiber, 5g protein
Jamba Classics & Blended with a Purpose – Worst Choices
380 cal, 2g sat fat, 6g total fat, 55mg sodium, 77g carbs, 65g sugars, 5g fiber, 5g protein
390 cal, 1g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 55mg sodium, 91g carbs, 74g sugars, 4g fiber, 3g protein
390 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 30mg sodium, 94g carbs, 82g sugars, 6g fiber, 3g protein
They add the “3G Charger” and “Energy” Boosts, which add 120 mg of caffeine. That’s about what you’d get in two cups of coffee.
400 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 90mg sodium, 94g carbs, 72g sugars, 4g fiber, 4g protein
420 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 50mg sodium, 98g carbs, 89g sugars, 3g fiber, 3g protein
410 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 55mg sodium, 97g carbs, 91g sugars, 4g fiber, 6g protein
Strawberry Surf Rider™
430 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 10mg sodium, 103g carbs, 93g sugars, 4g fiber, 3g protein
Jamba Light™ – Better Choice? or Avoid?
These three offerings are made with their “Lower Calorie Dairy Base,” which includes Milk and Splenda. Although Splenda is probably one of the safest artificial sweeteners, it’s an artificial sweetener nonetheless. Depending on your view of artificial sweeteners, these will probably either be a “Best” or a “Worst” option — so I’ll leave it up to you.
Also take note: These have significantly more sodium than the other smoothies.
230 cal, no sat fat, 0.5g total fat, 240mg sodium, 51g carbs, 43g sugars, 5g fiber, 7g protein
230 cal, no sat fat, 1g total fat, 240mg sodium, 51g carbs, 38g sugars, 6g fiber, 7g protein
250 cal, no sat fat, 1g total fat, 230mg sodium, 56g carbs, 48g sugars, 4g fiber, 8g protein
Creamy Treats – Avoid
At least they’re honest and call them “treats.” Sorted here by increasing calories.
Matcha Green Tea Blast®
420 cal, no fat, 230mg sodium 90g carbs, 80g sugars, 1g fiber, 10g protein
Includes 75mg caffeine — equivalent to about a cup and a half of coffee.
440 cal, no fat, 340mg sodium, 92g carbs, 82g sugars, no fiber, 13g protein
460 cal, no fat, 320mg sodium, 98g carbs, 84g sugars, no fiber, 13g protein
Orange Dream Machine®
470 cal, 1g sat fat, 2g total fat, 102g carbs, 93g sugars, <1g fiber, 10g protein
510 cal, 1g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 330mg sodium, 107g carbs, 91g sugars, 1g fiber, 13g protein
570 cal, 2.5g sat fat, 5g total fat, 380mg sodium, 116g carbs, 103g sugars, 3g fiber, 15g protein
Peanut Butter Moo’d®
770 cal, 4.5g sat fat, 20g total fat, 490mg sodium, 125g carbs, 108g sugars, 4g fiber, 20g protein
Organic Hot Blends™ – Better Choices
I’m listing the numbers for 12-ounce drinks made with nonfat milk.
Soy milk has about the same calories, but increases the fat and reduces the sugar. 2% milk adds about 20 calories with about 3 more grams of fat.
Original Spiced Chai™ Tea Latte with Nonfat Milk
150 cal, no fat, 170mg sodium, 27g carbs, 25g sugars, no fiber, 9g protein
Heavenly Green™ Tea Latte with Nonfat Milk
150 cal, no fat, 140mg sodium, 28g carbs, 27g sugars, <1g fiber, 9g protein
Organic Hot Blends™ – Worst Choices
Perfectly Chocolate Chai™ Tea Latte with Nonfat Milk
170 cal, no sat fat, 1g total fat, 170mg sodium, 34g carbs, 29g sugars, 2g fiber, 10g protein
Classic Hot Chocolate with Nonfat Milk
220 cal, 1g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 210mg sodium, 42g carbs, 36g sugars, 3g fiber, 15g protein
Iced Fruit Tea Infusions™ – Avoid
Lemonade and an orange wedge is a sorry excuse for “a complete serving of fruit.”
Although they may have a day’s supply of Vitamin C (which is easy to get), that doesn’t make up for the lack of other nutrients. They’re basically just sugar water — about 5 teaspoons of sugar in the “original” size.
Prickly Pear, Pomegranate and Passion Fruit Tea Infusions
230-240 cal, 54-59g carbs, 48-53g sugars 1g protein
Ideal Meals™ – Better Choices
Numbers below are for the 12-ounce size, which I recommend because these can pack a lot of calories otherwise!
330 cal, 1g sat fat, 5g total fat, 80mg sodium, 65g carbs, 42g sugars, 7g fiber, 9g protein
Mango Peach Topper™
340 cal, 1g sat fat, 5g total fat, 80mg sodium, 69g carbs, 47g sugars, 6g fiber, 9g protein
370 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 5g total fat, 85mg sodium, 77g carbs, 50g sugar, 8g fiber, 9g protein
Ideal Meals™ – Worst Choices
440 cal, 1.5g sat fat, 10g total fat, 40mg sodium, 84g carbs, 48g sugar, 9g fiber, 9g protein
Chunky Strawberry Topper™
520 cal, 2.5g sat fat, 17g total fat, 160mg sodium, 82g carbs, 46g sugars, 9g fiber, 14g protein
They add peanut butter to this one, which explains the extra calories, fat, and protein. Peanut butter isn’t necessarily a bad thing (I’m a fan, in fact), but at least be aware of those 200 extra calories!
Hot Oatmeal – All Better Choices
Info below includes the “Brown Sugar Crumble.” If you skip it and rely on the fruit for sweetness, and you’ll save 40 calories and about a teaspoon of sugar.
220 cal, 1g sat fat, 3.5g total fat, 20mg sodium, 44g carbs, 12g sugars, 5g fiber, 8g protein
Fresh Banana, Blueberry & Blackberry, or Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
280-290 cal, 1g sat fat, 3.5-4g total fat, 20-30mg sodium, 57-60g carbs, 19-25g sugars, 5-6g fiber, 8-9g protein
California Flatbreads™ – Better Choices
320 cal, 3.5g sat fat, 8g total fat, 770mg sodium, 49g carbs, 5g sugars, 3g fiber, 13g protein
390 cal, 4g sat fat, 10g total fat, 690mg sodium, 53g carbs, 5g sugars, 5g fiber, 19g protein
California Flatbreads – Worst Choice
420 cal, 8g sat fat, 16g total fat, 910mg sodium, 46g carbs, 4g sugars, 2g fiber, 21g protein
Baked Goods – Better Choices
None of their baked goods are great, but then again, none of them are horrendous, either. Compared to other restaurants I’d say that Jamba is doing a pretty good job. I’ve picked a few to put on the “Best” list, based mostly on lower fat content and higher fiber or protein content.
Cheddar Tomato Twist
240 cal, 1.5g sat fat, 4.5g total fat, 430mg sodium, 38g carbs, 3g sugars, 2g fiber, 8g protein
Zucchini Walnut Loaf
270 cal, 1.5g sat fat, 9g total fat, 250mg sodium, 43g carbs, 26g sugars, 4g fiber, 5g protein
Apple Cinnamon Pretzel
380 cal, no sat fat, 4g total fat, 250mg sodium, 76g carbs, 14g sugars, 4g fiber, 11g protein
Baked Goods – Worst Choices
Omega-3 Chocolate Brownie Cookie
150 cal, 1g sat fat, 3.5g total fat, 15mg sodium, 30g carbs, 24g sugars, 2g fiber, 3g protein
They include a tiny bit of flaxseed meal so they can slap the name “Omega-3” on it — but the first ingredient is still “sugar.”
Omega-3 Oatmeal Cookie
150 cal, 1.5g sat fat, 6g total fat, 85mg sodium, 26g carbs, 15g sugars, 3g fiber, 2g protein
The first ingredient may be”rolled oats,” but the next two ingredients are sugar and brown sugar — so there’s likely more total sugar than oats in this cookie.
Reduced-Fat Blueberry Lemon Loaf
290 cal, 2g sat fat, 8g total fat, 220mg sodium, 53g carbs, 30g sugars, 2g fiber, 2g protein
Tart Cherry Scone
360 cal, 1g sat fat, 12g total fat, 60mg sodium, 58g carbs, 23g sugars, 1g fiber, 6g protein
Orange Dark Chocolate Chip Scone
380 cal, 3g sat fat, 15g total fat, 65mg sodium, 57g carbs, 27g sugars, 2g fiber, 6g protein
Sourdough Parmesan Pretzel
410 cal, 2g sat fat, 10g total fat, 640mg sodium, 67g carbs, 4g sugars, 3g fiber, 14g protein
I’m not going to group the Boosts into “Best” or “Worst” choices, since they’re all very different. However, I’ll offer some thoughts on each below.
Maltodextrin, Bacillus coagulans (GBI-30 6086). Contains Soy.
It seems everyone is jumping on the Probiotic Bandwagon these days. Although cultures may have a positive effect on your digestive system, most people probably don’t need to supplement their diet unless they’re experiencing digestive or other issues. If you really think you need probiotics, then talk to your doctor.
This contains 120 mg of caffeine, which is about the equivalent as two cups of coffee. Ginseng can have side effects ranging from mild (the jitters) to rather unpleasant (nausea, gastrointestinal distress). Inulin is a soluble-fiber thickening agent, that is considered safe — but likely isn’t as beneficial as the fiber that’s found in foods.
Flax & Fiber Boost
Flaxseed, Arabinogalactan (Larch Tree), Fructo-oligosaccharides, Inulin (Chicory), Maltodextrin (Dietary Soluble Fiber).
Flax seed is great, but only if it’s been ground (otherwise the whole seeds will pass through your system undigested). The jury is still out on whether or not fiber additives truly are beneficial for digestive health. As usual, it’s better to eat whole foods and whole grains rich in fiber.
Daily Vitamin™ Boost
I’m not going to list all 22 ingredients, but suffice it to say that the list reads like the side of a multivitamin bottle. Unless you’re deficient in one (or more) of these vitamins or minerals, there is likely no benefit to taking this boost. Again, it’s best to get your nutrients from whole food sources.
Then again, there’s probably no harm in this boost, either.
If you’re a vegan, this boost could be a good choice, since it provides 100% of your B12 — something that a vegan diet usually lacks.
Calcium Lactate Gluconate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3).
They claim this boost supplies 100% daily value of your Calcium, Vitamin D and Magnesium. See my comments on the Daily Vitamin Boost above.
Sidenote: How is it that they get to trademark the word “Calcium?” Strange.
Whey Protein™ Super Boost
Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Soy Lecithin.
As I’ve said before, unless you’re a body-builder, Whey Protein won’t likely do you much good, as you probably already eat much more protein than you actually need — all it does is add 45 unnecessary calories.
However, the extra protein might help you feel fuller longer — which could actually help you consume fewer calories throughout the rest of the day.
Soy Protein™ Boost
Soy Protein Isolate, Lecithin
See my comments above, re: Whey Protein. If you’re a vegan body-builder, go for it.
Antioxidant Power™ Super Boost
Acerola Cherry Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Mixed Tocopherols, Green Tea Extract, Beta Carotene, L-Selenomethionine
More marketing hype. Eat fruits and berries instead, the more colors and the darker the better.
Taurine, Rhodiola Rosea Extract, Inulin (Chicory), Niacinamide, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Thiamin Mononitrate, Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).
“B vitamins and botanicals to put a spark in your step and help mental and physical stamina.” Riiiight. Yes, B Vitamins are essential for your body’s ability to convert food into energy, but B Vitamins themselves don’t actually give you energy. Also, the evidence is inconclusive about the ability of Taurine to boost energy.
Menu Mondays are my recommendations for the most healthful options at chain restaurants. Although it may be tough to find “perfect” options when eating out, it’s important to choose “better” whenever possible, and I hope these guides will help make that easier for you.
Photo of “A Smoothie’s Eye View” by Watari Goro.