Robeks is a juice bar franchise with about 135 locations. One of the things I like about them is that their default serving is a very reasonable 12 ounces, which helps keep the calories (and sugar) relatively low.
However, they emphasize fruit smoothies as a “meal replacement” — even amidst mounting evidence that consuming liquid calories can lead to greater caloric consumption overall. Personally, I find smoothies can make a good snack, but as a meal they just don’t keep me satisfied long enough.
So, it’s best simply to pick one of the lower-calorie (and lower-sugar) options.
I also recommend that you get a smoothie instead of a plain fruit juice. Better to have whole fruit than just the juice! It’s more satisfying, filling, and nutritious.
A note on their health claims: Their website is littered with various health claims, particularly when it comes to their Nutritional Boosts. It’s wise to be skeptical about these claims, and don’t buy into the marketing hype.
For example, their claims that the “Fiberbek” boost will lower cholesterol are tenuous at best. Although foods naturally containing fiber have been shown to lower cholesterol, fiber additives and supplements may have no beneficial effect at all.
Likewise, claims that creatine “optimizes workout performance” are misleading. Yes, there is some evidence that creatine is helpful for elite bodybuilders and athletes, but one or two doses won’t make a bit of difference. You’d have to take it consistently, and even then there are various theories about “loading phases” and dosage cycling.
The bottom line is that the boosts aren’t likely to hurt you, but they probably won’t help, either.
Smoothies – Better Choices
To qualify as a “Best Choice,” a 12-ounce smoothie must have 200 calories or less and 40 grams of sugar or less. “Best of the Best” are under 30 grams of sugar.
Four of these are on the “Naturally Light” menu (not to be confused with “Natty Ice”), which means they are 100% fruit and juice, plus a “Natural Nutrient Blend.” I guess they leave out the milk and yogurt.
Strawberry Pineapple (Naturally Light)
131 cal, no fat, 33g carbs, 29g sugar, 3g fiber, no protein
146 cal, 1g fat, 32g carbs, 26g sugar, 1g fiber, 2g protein
161 cal, 1g fat, 33g carbs, 26g sugar, 2g fiber, 5g protein
Raspberry Banana (Naturally Light)
161 cal, no fat, 42g carbs, 33g sugar, 3g fiber, 1g protein
Banana Mango (Naturally Light)
162 cal, no fat, 42g carbs, 36g sugar, 3g fiber, no protein
172 cal, 1g fat, 29g carbs [sic], 31g sugar, 2g fiber, 2g protein
Pineapple Mango (Naturally Light)
172 cal, no fat, 44g carbs, 40g sugar, 3g fiber, no protein
181 cal, no fat, 44g carbs, 38g sugars, 1g fiber, 3g protein
182 cal, 1g fat, 44g carbs, 40g sugar, 1g fiber, no protein
182 cal, 1g fat, 42g carbs, 31g sugar, 2g fiber, 4g protein
183 cal, 1g fat, 45g carbs, 40g sugar, 1g fiber, no protein
186 cal, 1g fat, 45g carbs, 40g sugar, 1g fiber, no protein
188 cal, no fat, 44g carbs, 37g sugar, 1g fiber, 3g portein
190 cal, no fat, 46g carbs, 40g sugar, 1g fiber, 2g protein
192 cal, 1g fat, 45g carbs, 38g sugar, 2g fiber, 1g protein
198 cal, 1g fat, 44g carbs, 24g sugar, 2g fiber, 5g protein
South Pacific Squeeze
200 cal, 1g fat, 47g carbs, 36g sugar, 2g fiber, 2g protein
Smoothies – Worst Choices
Honestly, almost all of their smoothie options are pretty good. However, there are a couple that are at the top end of the sugar and/or calories, so it’s worth mentioning them.
274 cal, no fat, 56g carbs, 39g sugar, 2g fiber, 3g protein
282 cal, 2g fat, 66g carbs, 40g sugar, no fiber, no protein
290 cal, 1g fat, 63g carbs, 47g sugar, no fiber, 8g protein
Smoothies – Two More To Consider
I don’t want to put these in a “Best” or “Worst” category, but it’s worth bringing them to your attention. They both have more calories — and much more protein. If you’re looking to boost your protein, they may be good for you. Otherwise, you’re just getting extra calories.
P-Nut Power Shake
362 cal, 16g fat, 39g carbs, 23g sugar, 4g fiber, 11g protein
The extra fat and protein comes from peanut butter. That’s okay in my book, as long as you’re aware of the jump in calories.
800 lb. Gorilla
434 cal, 9g fat, 58g carbs, 41g sugar, 2g fiber, 30g protein
Elsewhere on the website it says 50g protein — though 30g is a bit more plausible. (Perhaps that’s with an extra scoop of Whey Protein?). This one still isn’t so bad — IF you’re a bodybuilder looking for extra protein. Otherwise, you’re getting way (whey?) more protein than you need.
Baked Goods – Better Choices
230 cal, 10g fat, 120mg sodium, 33g carbs, 18g sugar, 1g fiber, 3g protein
270 cal, 4.5g fat, 336mg sodium, 57g carbs, 32g sugar, 4g fiber, 15g protein
300 cal, 10g fat, 312mg sodium, 42g carbs, 18g sugar, 5g fiber, 16g protein
310 cal, 11g fat, 312mg sodium, 43g carbs, 20g sugar, 5g fiber, 16g protein
Baked Goods – Worst Choices
Cookies - Poppyseed, Oatmeal Raisin, or Chocolate Chip
371-426 cal, 7-16 g fat, 264-600 mg sodium, 60-63 g carbs, 25-33 g sugar, 3-6g fiber, 14g protein
Pretzels - Tomato Parmesan, Spinach Feta, or Apple Cinnamon
420-470 cal, 9-25 g fat, 290-730 mg sodium, 67-78 g carbs, 7-38g sugar, 3g fiber, 12-19g protein
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.
indicates the “best-of-the-best,” and indicates the “worst-of-the-worst,” more or less.
Photo by yoshiffles.
PS – I’ve emailed Robeks about the discrepancies in the Banzai Blueberry (29 grams total carbs, but 31 grams sugar) and the 800 lb. Gorilla (30 or 50 grams of protein?). I’ll update if I hear back.