Order This, Not That: Jamba Juice

Ice cold smoothies are a delicious treat at this quick serve joint. But not all smoothies are created equal.

Ice-cold smoothies are a delicious treat at this quick-serve joint. But not all beverages are created equal.

The Menu

Over the years, Jamba Juice has expanded its menu to include a variety of drinks, breakfast wraps, fro-yo, baked goods and even kids' options. With so much to choose from, it can make anyone's head spin. But here's how to give this blender bar a whirl.

ORDER:

Always opt for the small size to help keep calories and sugar at bay. The lowest calorie smoothies include:

Peach Perfection (16 ounces): 210 calories, 42 grams sugar
Berry UpBEET (16 ounces): 230 calories, 38 grams sugar
Strawberry Whirl (16 ounces): 220 calories, 46 grams sugar
Orange Carrot Karma (16 ounces): 180 calories, 38 grams sugar

Don't shy away from the kids' menu. It offers 9.5 ounce smoothies, again cutting back on calories and sugar. The Strawberry Gone Bananas Smoothie has 140 calories and 30 grams of sugar while the Berry Beet It has 190 calories and 34 grams of sugar. Both make a delicious and smart snack for an adult!

Freshly squeezed juices are another reasonable option. To get in more vitamins and minerals, choose those that combine a variety of fruits and vegetables, like the Orange Berry Antioxidant Juice Blend (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and orange juice), for 160 calories and 28 grams sugar, or the Triple Revitalizer (fresh carrot juice, bananas and orange juice), coming in at 160 calories and 32 grams sugar.

If you're looking for something with next to no calories, Jamba offers flavors of Talbott teas such as Chocolate Strawberry Temptation and Luscious Lemon Meringue.

Boosts

If you need to "boost" your beverage, remember that many of the fruit and vegetable-based drinks already contain a heavy dose of sugar, so steer clear of boosts with more sugar. Choose boosts made from real food, like Greek yogurt, oats or chia seed.

AVOID:
Some of the highest calorie smoothies include:
Peanut Butter Moo’d (original size): 770 calories, 109 grams sugar
Chocolate Moo’d (original size): 570 calories, 103 grams sugar
Strawberry Surf Rider (power size): 640 calories, 139 grams sugar

Classic smoothies are available in "Make It Light" option, with one-third fewer calories, carbs and sugar than their regular counterparts. However, there is no indication on the Jamba Juice website as to the ingredients in "Make It Light" drinks – so until I know what they're made from, I'm staying away from it.

Several of the tasty bites run in the 200 calorie range, but most are made with palm oil (a trans fat), butter and sugar. You're better off with a 200-calorie smoothie with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Boosts

Although you can add some wholesome boosts, several of them are just a waste of money or outright dangerous. The 3G Charger has a combo of green tea, guarana and ginseng, all of which can interact with common medications. Skip the antioxidant boost -- if you're ordering a fruit smoothie, you'll be getting in plenty of antioxidants.

More nutrition facts can be found at the Jamba Juice website.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

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