About those Jamba Juice breakfast smoothies -- I ordered a 12-oz. Berry Topper thinking I was getting a low-calorie morning beverage. After all, I didn't get the one with the peanut butter, and I ordered the smallest size. But then I calculated the WW POINTS® value for that sucker, and I realized it has a POINTS® value of 7* (360 calories and 8g fat!). What's the deal? It's just a fruit smoothie. How can that be?
Dear Jamba Shock,
Here's the deal with Jamba Juice and most other national smoothie chains. They typically provide all of their nutritional info online, so you should visit their websites and do a little research BEFORE getting in line to order your beverage. In store, Jamba also has pamphlets with some nutritional info plus a big binder with complete nutritionals, in case you forget to look up the stats online. But back to your question. Here are the main reasons I think "commercial" smoothies are so high in calories (and sometimes fat!)...
1. Size - They're typically HUGE. A medium-sized smoothie can have more than 30 ounces (too big!). Even if it's all blended fruit, no one needs five servings of fruit at once.
2. Ingredients - They often have granola, peanut butter, yogurt, syrups, etc., added to the basic fruit base. In the case of your Berry Topper, the guilty party is the GRANOLA. Just like fruit, granola is fine in moderation (as in, mixing a spoonful or two into some fat-free yogurt). But adding granola to a smoothie is an excellent way to add a SLEW of fat and a whole bunch of calories to that drink.
3. Assumption - Often times these stores think you'll be replacing a full meal with one of their smoothies. That's how they justify the high calorie and fat counts. Sometimes these smoothies are marketed as meal replacements (Jamba bills those smoothies as "breakfast meals"), but with all the options that are available, it's easy to overlook that and just order the most appealing flavor. And unfortunately, most of us drink smoothies as snacks, NOT meals.
Jamba Juice does offer a line of "Light" smoothies that have reasonable nutritionals. A 16-oz. Jamba Light (the smallest size offered) has 150 - 160 calories, 0 - 0.5g fat, 30 - 34g carbs, and 2 - 3g fiber (POINTS® value 2 - 3*). But to me, making smoothies at home is the only way to completely control the ingredients and amounts and know exactly what you're getting into. You can easily make a fantastic fruit smoothie for about 100 calories or so and a POINTS® value of 1* (like our Too-Good Two-Berry Citrus Smoothie!). When it comes to beverages with hundreds of calories, my feeling is this -- why drink all those calories when you can chew 'em? They're WAY more satisfying that way!
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*The Points® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the Points® registered trademark.