Fruit smoothies

Fruit smoothies (Photo by mama_mia on Shutterstock)

Fruit smoothie shops across the nation thrive on a tasty blend of convenience, health, and deliciousness. They offer busy Americans a quick, portable burst of fruit-infused energy, appealing to both health-conscious consumers seeking vitamins and those after a refreshing treat. With endless flavor combinations and customization options, the best fast food smoothies entice taste buds and tap into the nation’s growing love for all things fruity and on-the-go. But just because they are on fast food menus, doesn’t mean they have to be unhealthy. Below, we have compiled some tips for how to customize your smoothie to be a bit more nutritious.

Healthy Smoothie Hacks:

Craving a cool, creamy treat on the go? Fast food smoothies can seem like a healthy option, but their sugar content often tells a different story. Fear not, smoothie enthusiasts! With a few smart ingredient swaps and additions, you can transform those sugary concoctions into nutritional powerhouses without sacrificing taste. Here’s how to hack your next fast food smoothie for optimal health and flavor:

Ditch the Sugar Overload:

  • Skip the sugary bases: Many fast food smoothies rely on pre-made mixes packed with added sugars. Opt for smoothies made with fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
  • Request less or no added sweeteners: Honey, agave nectar, and syrups can quickly escalate the sugar count. Ask for your smoothie unsweetened or with minimal natural sweeteners like stevia.
  • Choose low-sugar fruits: Berries, melons, and leafy greens naturally add sweetness without the sugar spike. Think blueberries, strawberries, spinach, or kale.

Pump Up the Nutrition:

  • Add protein power: Protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer and helps with muscle repair. Blend in Greek yogurt, nut butter, or protein powder for an extra boost.
  • Go green: Leafy greens are not only low on sugar, but they are also nutritional powerhouses, adding vitamins, minerals, and fiber without overpowering the taste.
  • Healthy fats: Avocados, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are rich in healthy fats that promote satiety and provide essential nutrients.

Flavor Fusion Fun:

  • Spice it up: Ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric add a touch of warmth and complexity to your smoothie. They also boast impressive health benefits, like anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Citrus twist: Lemons, limes, and oranges add a refreshing zing and a boost of vitamin C.
  • Herbal haven: Fresh herbs like mint, basil, and cilantro can add a unique and unexpected flavor dimension.

Pro Tip: Remember, customization is key! Most fast food chains allow you to personalize your smoothie order. Don’t be afraid to get creative and mix and match your favorite ingredients.

With so many drive-thru blends available, smoothies have propelled from a niche health choice to a mainstream American favorite. Based on 10 expert reviews, we have compiled a list of the best smoothies that were most recommended across the board. These options offer a delicious, convenient, and customizable way to blend health and indulgence, fueling our busy lives and satisfying our thirst for both flavor and wellness. Let us know your favorite smoothies in the comments below!

smoothies
Fancy smoothies (Photo by Brenda Godinez from Unsplash)

The List: Best Fast Food Smoothies, According to Foodies

1. Smoothie King

Founded in 1984, Smoothie King, with its clean-blend promise and focus on purposeful ingredients, claims the throne as the largest smoothie franchise in the United States, blending fruit-fueled beverages for health-conscious individuals and active lifestyles. 1851 Franchise raves, “In terms of name recognition, it’s hard to beat Smoothie King, one of the most widespread smoothie brands across the world. The NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans play in the Smoothie King Center, after all.”

TopFranchise.com praises Smoothie King from a business owner’s viewpoint: “Each Smoothie King store sells smoothies and a variety of vitamins, minerals, low fat snacks and nutritional supplements. Smoothie King gives franchisees a chance to inspire people to live healthier, more active lifestyles while also providing a fantastic business opportunity.”

Verified Market Research exclaims why Smoothie King is an industry leader. They write, “Smoothie King is famous for its different line of smoothies that serve different purposes and tastes. The main goal of the company is to offer the most nutritious smoothies to its consumers so that they can accomplish their health and fitness goals. The name of the company speaks for itself, as it is regarded as the unrivaled king of the smoothie industry.”

2. Jamba

Founded in 1995, Jamba Juice remains a vibrant pioneer in the American smoothie scene, and they have since re-branded simply as Jamba. Churning out fruit-filled blends and healthy bites through its colorful counter-serve chain, all with a playful, “whoa”-inspiring attitude is their niche. FranchiseAmerica.com says, “Jamba Juice started out as a little juice shop with a big idea – that healthy living starts locally. They have made it their purpose to infuse that thought into everything they do.”

The Daily Meal talks about Jamba’s overall success in the United Staes: “The company was founded in 1990 and now boasts more than 850 locations. The most impressive thing about Jamba is how the company strikes a balance between convenience and nutritional value. Customers get nutrition-dense smoothies, made to order, with large portions. The smoothie menu is broken down into options featuring yogurt, 100% plant-based, and superfood-infused varieties.”

The legacy of this smoothie giant has been building for quite some time. “Known for its delicious smoothies, smoothie bowls, and juice shots, Jamba—which dropped ‘Juice’ from its name in 2019—has been keeping people satisfied since the 1990s. Founded in San Luis Obispo, California, Jamba actually started as the ‘senior project’ of a California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo student named Kirk Perron, who was big on biking and following a healthy lifestyle,” adds Eat This, Not That!

3. Planet Smoothie

Founded in 1991, Planet Smoothie operates over 850 locations across the U.S., blending real fruit, protein, and vibrant flavors into healthy and delicious treats. Their goal: fueling active lifestyles and satisfying sweet cravings nationwide. Business Insider comments, “Planet Smoothie is one of the biggest smoothie chains in the U.S. and, aside from having fun, quirky names for all of its menu items, the chain says it serves up the ‘best-tasting smoothies on the planet.’ Considering their claim and that the chain specializes in smoothies, we kind of expected to be blown away.”

For more information about the company’s history as well as their approach to highly customizable drinks, Mashed has the scoop: “Planet Smoothie first opened in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1995 and holds itself to the idea that not all smoothies are created equal… This chain focuses on providing a diverse menu to appeal to each customer’s needs so that everyone walks out the door feeling happy and nutritionally fulfilled.”

There’s something for everyone here! FranchiseChatter mentions their wide variety of ingredients. Their review states: “Patrons can go sweet with yogurt blends or high-protein and everything in-between with 31 different add-ins. There are 32 signature smoothies for fast ordering and a steady stream of new and featured offerings, the most recent of which were three different Dragon Fruit smoothies.”

4. Clean Juice

Clean Juice reigns as a popular organic haven, its cafes brimming with vibrant smoothie bowls, cold-pressed juices bursting with fresh-squeezed vitality, and wraps packed with wholesome goodness, all certified USDA organic for an uncompromised taste of health. The Daily Meal explains, “Clean Juice was founded in 2014 and offers customers nothing but healthiness with its wide selection of handmade juices, acai bowls, nutritional smoothies, wraps, and salads. The chain’s smoothies are packed with vitamins and minerals and include ingredients like kale, spinach, pineapple, ginger, almond milk, and maca root.

Mashed notes that Clean Juice is ranked as a healthier option. They say, “When it comes to finding the healthiest juices and smoothies possible, Clean Juice is definitely our pick. The rapidly growing juice bar franchise offers USDA-certified organic products to guarantee customer satisfaction. Founded in 2015, this chain now has about 100 locations in operation.”

FranchiseChatter praises their nutrition-forward menu, writing, “Clean Juice uses only 100% USDA Certified Organic ingredients… It also sells cold-pressed juices in bottles, bottled cold-pressed shots, and offers a six-bottle juice cleanse regimen using its cold-pressed organic juices. Customers select how long they want their cleanse to last, from one to five days.”

5. Nékter Juice Bar

Nékter Juice Bar blends handcrafted juices, acai bowls, and smoothies packed with fresh fruits and veggies. The Daily Meal claims, “Nékter is one of the fastest-growing smoothie chains that focuses on clean ingredients and nutrient-rich items. The company prioritizes healthiness without sacrificing taste. It was founded in 2010, and has since grown to more than 180 locations, with 150 in development in 22 states.”

Nékter offers a vibrant taste of health on-the-go for conscious and active consumers. Eat This, Not That loves their healthy ingredients. They mention that “Nékter Juice Bar is the place to go if you’re on the hunt for top-of-the-line smoothies that are made without unnecessary hidden sugars, artificial flavors, and processed ingredients. The popular spot… offers a bunch of different smoothies, both classic and creative, plus smoothie bowls, fresh juices, juice shots, and juice cleanses.”

Mashed reviews the company’s history and rapid growth: “Nékter Juice Bar dates back to 2010 when its founders opened it with the belief that healthy, affordable food should both taste and feel good. The company began in Southern California and has since expanded to more than 160 locations throughout the United States, sharing its unique approach to health and wellness with communities nationwide.”

6. Pressed Juicery

Pressed Juicery shines bright with cold-pressed juices boasting organic and sun-drenched California produce, capturing the state’s vibrant flavors in every bottle. From El Capitan’s medley of apple, pineapple, and carrot to Big Sur’s earthy beet and ginger blend, each sip evokes the sunny essence of the Golden State. According to Eat This, Not That, “Founded in 2010 by a group of friends, the popular smoothie and juice spot first appeared as a small 25-foot ‘juice closet’ in Los Angeles and then a juice truck in Malibu, but has now grown into a famous chain that has stores throughout the country. Each of their smoothies or juices is made with premium ingredients, including seasonal produce, and the brand always tries to avoid added sugars and preservatives.”

Mashed assures that Pressed Juicery makes a unique smoothie that differs from competitors because of their preparation methods. “Pressed is renowned for its cold-pressed juices, which use a unique extraction method that preserves more nutrients and enzymes compared to traditional juicing techniques. The chain’s bottled juices include a wide range of ingredients, from greens and roots to citrus and fruits. Pressed also provides several juice cleanses for those looking to detoxify and reset,” the site states in their review.

The Daily Meal raves about one of their favorite juice blends: “Barry’s Recovery Smoothie offers an excellent post-workout, with a pick-me-up that includes pineapple, cherry, and protein supplements. The Tropical Protein Smoothie includes a delicious blend of pineapple, mango, banana, and dragon fruit. You can also purchase a variety of smoothie bowl selections, such as the dragon fruit power smoothie bowl and acai superfood smoothie bowl.”

7. I Love Juice Bar

I Love Juice Bar, with locations across the United States, blends vibrant, nutrient-packed creations. Mashed says, “What sets I Love Juice Bar apart from other chains is that it uses fresh fruit and omits ice or other fillers to bulk up its drinks. The menu includes 10 different smoothies and eight juice options. While there isn’t a ton of selection, every item is bursting with flavors thanks to the creamy mix of freshly squeezed or blended fruits and vegetables. “

They utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients, offering a delicious and energizing escape from the ordinary, sip by sip. FranchiseAmerica adds, “Juicing is red hot. Juice bars have become a magnet for millions of Americans who are looking for healthier dining choices and who are eager for food that is authentic, local and nutritious. The marketplace is huge.”

FranchiseChatter likes their excellent plant-forward offerings. “I Love Juice Bar uses ingredients that are plant-based, gluten-free, and organic when possible, always using whole fruits and vegetables and never anything ‘yucky’ or processed. The menu offers 10 signature juice blends, 12 smoothies, 12 shots, and six smoothie bowls along with a couple sandwiches, a seasonal soup of the day, oatmeal, spring rolls, and three food bowls (Kale Quinoa, Nori, and Pad Thai Noodle).”

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Sources:

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About Alan Corona

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2 Comments

  1. John L. Futch, Rice.(1966) says:

    Whatever h happened anchvies? Pepperoni, mushrooms , and anchovies ruled the day near Chicago in the 60s¡

  2. Rose Weber says:

    It is both stunning and discouraging that Jamba remains successful, given that their customer service is among the absolute worst in the industry. It is virtually impossible to reach a human being there, and if you somehow succeed in doing that, the person will have ZERO interest in resolving your issue.