As soon as the temperatures start to rise, I’m craving one thing: smoothies. While I’m not too discerning with where I purchase it once the craving hits (shoutout to convenience stores), the cost and caloric count of some popular brands are hard figures to ignore. So I found healthier options from various chains that you can make at home. Start your blenders!
Starbucks’ Orange Mango
Original: When my college was blessed with a Starbucks halfway through my freshman year, I spent most of the remaining spring semester gorging on their Orange Mango smoothies. My mouth was happy, but my stomach was not.
Calories: 260 (with skim milk, only 1 size offered)
Upgrade: A classic with an exotic twist. In this low-cal version, fresh fruits replace the processed juices used in the original. The orange flower water adds a nicer contrast against the mango, and yogurt brings additional texture and nutritional value. Add a dash of protein powder to the recipe to replicate the Starbucks version, and you’ve got a tasty and refreshing reinvention.
Jamba Juice’s Strawberry Whirl
Original: Jamba Juice is my go-to staple when airport hopping. This drink features fresh strawberries, banana, and blended fruit juice. While the idea of fresh fruit seems healthy, 45 grams of sugar does not.
Upgrade: This recipe made me do a double take. Over half the calories, 1/4 grams of sugar AND featuring light whipped cream?! The combination of strawberry-banana-yogurt has never looked this tempting.
McDonald’s Blueberry Pomegranate
Original: Lets get one thing out of the way, I will proclaim my love for McDonald’s fries/apple pies forever. That being said, I’d rather get my calories from these clearly unhealthy items, and stick to a smoothie that does my body some good…44 grams of sugar should be saved for the apple pie.
Upgrade: While the McDonald’s version gets its flavor from fruit purees and juice concentrate, this delicious-looking recipe features whole pomegranate seeds, frozen blueberries and raspberries. Plus, it has over half the calories and a nice nutritional boost. Antioxidants and vitamins had an all-star baby, and it’s this smoothie.
Orange Julius’ Original
Original: Essentially a melted creamsicle, the namesake drink of Orange Julius has a solid fan base. What it also has are some solid calories and 51 grams of sugar.
Calories: 210 (small)
Upgrade: The first time I tasted an at-home version of this drink my mom whipped up, I was hooked. Reviewers commented that this is almost an exact match to what’s served at your local mall (with identical ingredients), but without the additional 130 calories.
Now you’re free to whip up some knockoff smoothies with all the flavor and none of the guilt! Have any other healthy fast-food copycats you’re dying to share? Let us know in the comments!