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Smoothies that top the calorie charts (and healthy options to drink instead)

By Penelope Wall, July 30, 2010 (All day)

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Smoothies that top the calorie charts (and healthy options to drink instead)

I’m obsessed with smoothies. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s all the fresh berries my husband, Colin, and I have been picking at the berry farm. We’ve been going crazy with our blender—a handful of berries, some yogurt and a little ice. Cover, blend, and presto! A tasty, satisfying breakfast (or snack) to grab and go.

Smoothies seem so inherently healthy—one refreshing drink can help you get a few servings of fruit, which boasts fiber and antioxidants, and some calcium from yogurt. But many fast-food versions are just vessels for delivering spoonfuls of sugar through a straw. So here are some things to keep in mind when you’re craving your next smoothie:

  • Studies show that beverages are less filling per calorie than solid foods, so you might not feel as full and be tempted to eat more on top of your smoothie.
  • Some smoothies can pack as many calories as a milkshake and probably have more than the daily-recommended limit for added sugars. (The American Heart Association recommends that women limit added sugars to no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons, and men should stick to less than 150 calories, approximately 9 teaspoons. For reference, a 12-ounce can of cola has about 8 teaspoons.)
  • Look for smoothies made with whole fruit, low-fat plain yogurt and no added sugars. (Amounts of total sugars include natural sugars, which can come from fruit. Added sugars, or ingredients added sugars might lurk in, include honey, sorbet, flavored yogurt and sweetened juice.)

Related Link: 5 More Healthy-Sounding Foods That Sometimes Aren’t

That said, I’m not giving up my smoothies. You don’t have to either: just arm yourself with the facts and choose, or make, these healthier options at home instead.

Diet-Busting Drink: Jamba Juice Strawberries Wild (30 oz.), 510 calories, 104 grams total sugars
Lighter Option to Order: Jamba Juice Mega Mango (22 oz.), 340 calories, 75 grams total sugars
Better Option to Make at Home: Thermos-Ready Smoothie (16 oz.), 288 calories, 43 grams total sugars (Bonus: 0 grams added sugars)
Total Savings vs. Diet-Busting Drink: 282 calories, 78 grams total sugars. Plus, our Thermos-Ready Smoothie has more protein and is high in fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin C and antioxidants.

Diet-Busting Drink: McDonald’s Strawberry Banana Smoothie (22 oz.), 330 calories, 70 grams total sugars,
Lighter Option to Order: McDonald’s Wild Berry Smoothie (12 oz.), 210 calories, 44 grams total sugars
Better Option to Make at Home: Banana-Berry Smoothie (8 oz.), 135 calories, 18 grams total sugars (Bonus: 0 grams added sugars)
Total Savings vs. Diet-Busting Drink: 195 calories, 52 grams total sugars. Plus, our bright and easy Banana-Berry Smoothie packs two servings of fruit, almost an entire day’s worth of Vitamin C, plus soy protein and fiber.

Diet-Busting Drink: Sonic Strawberry Smoothie (Large, 21 oz.), 667 calories, 124 grams total sugars
Lighter Option to Order: Sonic Strawberry-Banana Smoothie (Regular, 14 oz.), 443 calories, 83 grams total sugars
Better Option to Make at Home: Wake Up Smoothie (8 oz.), 157 calories, 17 grams total sugars (Bonus: 0 grams added sugars)
Total Savings vs. Diet-Busting Drink: 510 calories, 107 grams total sugars. Plus, our Wake Up Smoothie delivers more than 100 percent of your daily value for Vitamin C and 16 percent of your daily value for fiber.

Diet-Busting Drink: Dunkin’ Donuts Strawberry Fruit Coolatta (Large, 32. oz.), 590 calories, 30 grams total sugars
Lighter Option to Order: Dunkin’ Donuts Watermelon Fruit Coolatta (Small, 16 oz.), 250 calories, 59 grams total sugars
Better Option to Make at Home: Creamy Raspberry Smoothie (8 oz.), 249 calories, 20 grams total sugars (Bonus: 0 grams added sugars)
Total Savings vs. Diet-Busting Drink: 341 calories, 10 grams total sugars. Plus, our Creamy Raspberry Smoothie packs a healthy dose of Vitamin C, fiber, folate and potassium.

Are you as obsessed with smoothies as I am? Share your favorite flavor combos below! Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Penelope Wall, Diet Blog, Breakfast, Diet, Nutrition, Snacks, Weight loss

Penelope Wall
Penelope is a web producer and writer for EatingWell.com. When she's not busy geeking out at the computer, she loves cooking and trying new recipes on her friends. Some of her favorite foods are dark chocolate, coffee, apples, sweet potatoes and cheese.

Penelope asks: Are you as obsessed with smoothies as I am? Share your favorite flavor combos below!

Tell us what you think:

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