Healthy Options at Robeks Juice

Robeks Juice

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

Awesome Acai
146 cal, 1g fat, 32g carbs, 26g sugar, 1g fiber, 2g protein

Acai Energizer
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

Banzai Blueberry
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

Malibu Peach
181 cal, no fat, 44g carbs, 38g sugars, 1g fiber, 3g protein

Outrageous Raspberry
182 cal, 1g fat, 44g carbs, 40g sugar, 1g fiber, no protein

Infinite Orange
182 cal, 1g fat, 42g carbs, 31g sugar, 2g fiber, 4g protein

Polar Pineapple
183 cal, 1g fat, 45g carbs, 40g sugar, 1g fiber, no protein

Dr. Robeks
186 cal, 1g fat, 45g carbs, 40g sugar, 1g fiber, no protein

Strawnana Berry
188 cal, no fat, 44g carbs, 37g sugar, 1g fiber, 3g portein

Pomegranate Passion
190 cal, no fat, 46g carbs, 40g sugar, 1g fiber, 2g protein

Berry Brilliance
192 cal, 1g fat, 45g carbs, 38g sugar, 2g fiber, 1g protein

Citrus Stinger
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.

Bananasplit Shake
274 cal, no fat, 56g carbs, 39g sugar, 2g fiber, 3g protein

Lemon Freeze
282 cal, 2g fat, 66g carbs, 40g sugar, no fiber, no protein

Orange Freeze
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

Breakfast Bar
230 cal, 10g fat, 120mg sodium, 33g carbs, 18g sugar, 1g fiber, 3g protein

Pumpkin Muffin
270 cal, 4.5g fat, 336mg sodium, 57g carbs, 32g sugar, 4g fiber, 15g protein

Blueberry Muffin
300 cal, 10g fat, 312mg sodium, 42g carbs, 18g sugar, 5g fiber, 16g protein

Banana Muffin
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 X
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 X
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 X indicates the “worst-of-the-worst,” more or less.

Robeks Nutrition Information

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.

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13 Responses to Healthy Options at Robeks Juice

  1. Hannah November 16, 2014 at 3:49 am #

    Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for the advice on good and bad things to consume at robeks. As of late, I’ve been drinking their “Sweet Green” juice. On the menu it says, “kale, spinach, celery and apple.” This can’t be bad for someone wanting to get more fruits and veggies in.. Right? Thank you for the heads up on a pumpkin muffin! I might have to treat myself!

    • Andrew November 16, 2014 at 7:40 am #

      Hi Hannah –

      Are they using whole apples? Or just apple juice? Ounce-for-ounce, apple juice has as much sugar (and calories) as Coca-Cola or Pepsi.

      A small “Sweet Green” has 32 grams of sugar – which is the same as 8 teaspoons of table sugar. It also has more sugar than any of their other juices.

      So my suggestion would be to choose a different one of their juices (maybe the Crazy Carrot?), stick to the small size, and enjoy it as a treat every once in a while. And then to get your veggies, actually eat your veggies… or make your own veggie smoothies at home. :)

  2. Nikk August 8, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    What’s your take on the new ‘green’ smoothies? They’re selling the benefits of green veggies – but they’re still loaded with sugar.

    My favorite is the TropiKale. I order it with extra Kale and Ginger Juice. I have this as major snack or a light lunch.

    • Andrew November 16, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      Hi Nikk –

      I think you answered the question for me: “they’re still loaded with sugar.”

      The “King Kale” and the “Crazy Carrot” have the lowest — 10 grams of sugar in a small (that’s still two and a half teaspoons of sugar)… so if you’re going to get one of these juices (and it’s not replacing an entire meal), I’d suggest one of those two, and stick to the small size. :)

  3. Stewart April 29, 2011 at 6:15 am #

    thanks for the article.

    Some smoothies Robeks doesn’t offer in a 12oz such as the Citrus Stinger. All the “Power Smoothies” must be a minimum next size up which I think is 16oz which I think is kind of stupid. Almost all of their smoothies @ above 12oz is way too much sugar and calories.

    • Andrew April 29, 2011 at 7:15 am #

      Good points! Thanks. (and I agree… way too much sugar!)

  4. Ciara January 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    I love Robeks they’re smoothies and other thinsg are real good. I love their acai bowls, acai smoothies, green tea smoothie, Caja, and their other smoothies. I hope do they well :)

    • Andrew January 12, 2011 at 3:31 am #

      I’ve become wary of any food that has the word “super” in it (such as “superfruit”)… especially when they make health claims. Having said that, it’s likely that these fruits are just as good for you as any other fruit — which is to say, very good! The biggest thing you have to watch out for on the smoothies is the sugar… get a large smoothie, and you’re drinking a ton of sugar. Keep it to the 12 ounce size, and you’re doing great!

  5. Michelle August 8, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    I love me some smoothies, but I’m more of a Jamba Juice gal. :-)

    I’ve been hearing lots of advertising lately from McD’s about their new McCafe Smoothies that contain “Real Fruit” (a smoothie with real fruit, what a novel idea!!!). They must be trying to compete with the more established smoothie chains. How do you think the Mc Donald’s smoothie would stack up next to a Jamba or Robek’s? Is there any way to figure out how much “real fruit” is in each smoothie vs how much is filler and added flavors? Some investigative blogging is needed…

    • Andrew August 9, 2010 at 9:58 am #

      Jamba has actually countered with a (satirical) ad campaign about Cheeseburger Chili Smoothies. It’s pretty funny, actually.

      A little digging on the McDonald’s website turned up the ingredients list (PDF) for the smoothies.

      They’re all pretty similar, so here’s the Strawberry-Banana as an example:

      1st “Ingredient”: Strawberry-Banana Fruit Blend

      Strawberry puree, banana puree, water, sugar, concentrated apple juice, contains less than 1% of the following: cellulose powder, natural (botanical source) and artificial flavors, xanthan gum, citric acid, colored with fruit and vegetable juice, pectin, ascorbic acid (preservative).

      2nd “Ingredient”: Low-Fat Yogurt

      Cultured Grade A reduced fat milk, sugar, whey protein concentrate, fructose, corn starch, kosher gelatin. Contains active yogurt cultures.

      3rd “Ingredient”: Ice.

      Note that both the “Fruit Blend” and “Yogurt” contain added sugars, in the form of “sugar,” “concentrated apple juice,” and “fructose.”

      On the plus side, at least the “Strawberry Purée” and “Banana Purée” were the first ingredients in the fruit blend list.


      • Michelle August 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

        Thanks! Interesting. Not surprising about the sugar, but it actually seems like they attempted to keep the additives to a minimum.

        • Andrew August 11, 2010 at 11:45 am #

          I make smoothies at home, often with nothing more than milk and frozen fruit, and they’re delicious. I still wonder why all the smoothie companies feel they need to add extra sugar (or fruit juice, which is basically sugar).

          I’m taking your advice and doing some more investigation… Working on a new post, putting several smoothies head-to-head in a few different categories. Stay tuned! :)

        • Andrew January 12, 2011 at 3:28 am #

          Here’s my Smoothie Smackdown:

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