Is Jamba Juice Healthy?

Smoothies have earned a reputation as being a health food. That reputation isn't always deserved, however, because many smoothies contain just as much sugar and the same number of calories as a decadent dessert. That holds true for Jamba Juice, a chain restaurant specializing in a large selection of smoothies as well as fruit juices and treats. Healthy items can be found at Jamba Juice, however, if you know which ingredients to choose and which ones to skip. Use a calorie counter app to help you decide.

Smoothies have a reputation for being healthy food. Credit: jenifoto/iStock/GettyImages

Tips

Jamba Juice may not be as healthy as claimed. Some smoothies may have as much sugar as your favorite sweet treat. Keep it healthy by choosing all-fruit and veggie smoothies.

Seriously Sugary Smoothies

Many of the smoothies and other menu items on the Jamba Juice menu are packed with a large amount of added sugar. Too much sugar raises your risk of unhealthy weight gain and heart disease. For example, certain smoothies are made with frozen yogurt or sherbet, which drive up the sugar content of the treat. Certain smoothies can contain more than 60 grams of sugar. The smoothies do contain a good dose of certain nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium, despite their sugar content.

More Smoothie Stats

Jamba Juice offers several smoothies that are nutritious and can be part of your healthy eating plan. Opting for a smoothie that includes fresh fruit or vegetables is a wise place to start. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Order one of the All-Fruit Smoothies, which are made with fresh fruit and 100 percent fruit juice. While they still contain sugar, it's the healthy, natural variety that deserves a place in your diet. Consider the Carrot Orange Fusion Smoothie, which includes chia seeds, Greek yogurt, soy milk, bananas and plenty of vitamin-A rich carrots. All the sugar in this smoothie is natural, making it a wise choice.

Off the Smoothie Menu

If you're looking for something other than a smoothie, Jamba Juice has a limited selection of juices, snacks and meals. The fresh-squeezed juices, such as carrot or orange, are smart choices that pack a huge burst of nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and potassium, into a small cup. Unsweetened coffee and tea are also healthy choices. If you're hungry, opt for one of the three breakfast wraps on the menu. They're low in saturated fat, and also supply protein, calcium and iron. The steel-cut oatmeal is rich in fiber and protein, and the fruit and yogurt parfaits supply protein and calcium. Skip the flatbreads, however, because they're high in saturated fat and sodium.

Making the Right Choice

If you want one of the Jamba Juice specialty smoothies, consider ordering it in the "light version." The sugar content of these smoothies is reduced by at least one-third, which also reduces the calorie count. Many Jamba Juice employees are willing to customize your smoothie. If you want a certain blend that includes sugary ingredients such as frozen yogurt, ask to swap the frozen yogurt for plain yogurt. It won't change the taste much, but it will significantly reduce the added sugar content of the smoothie. A shot of wheatgrass, which contains just 5 calories and no fat, adds a huge boost of vitamin A, vitamin K and iron to your Jamba Juice order. Stir a shot into a smoothie or drink it plain to reap these impressive nutritional benefits.

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