Fresh fruit smoothies are one of the most refreshing tastes of summer. Healthy, filling, portable and a generous portion of any number of fruits and vegetables in one serving – it’s arguably a perfect food. So what happens to the smoothie when McDonald’s gets a hold of it? You might be surprised, but they didn’t do it much harm.
For as much grief as we give the fast-food leader, this is one menu addition they got fairly right. If you’re taking a spin through their drive-thru, it might be one of the healthier choices you can make. We were impressed to see real strawberry and banana purees listed as the first two ingredients in its Strawberry Banana Smoothie, followed by water, sugar and concentrated apple juice. For the Wild Berry Smoothie, strawberry puree leads water, sugar, blackberry puree, blueberry puree, concentrated pineapple juice and concentrated apple juice. Both smoothies contain less than 1% of other ingredients.
Are the extra sweeteners, like sugar and fruit juices, necessary? Not at all. The fruits and berries are naturally very sweet, and the addition of these ingredients only ups the calorie and sugar counts. But the fact that there is so much of the fruit included over these sweeteners bodes well for the smoothies.
Each smoothie contains low-fat yogurt that also contains sugar, fructose and corn starch – more sweeteners.
Take a look at how the McDonald’s Smoothie nutritionals compare to some of its competitors. It’s right on par, actually falling right in the middle. Each of these calorie, fat and sugar counts is based on a 12-ounce serving (size small at McDonald’s) of a strawberry banana (or similar) smoothie.
- McDonald’s Strawberry Banana: 210 Calories, .5g Fat, 44g Sugar (same for the Wild Berry)
- Jack in the Box Banana Berry: 220 Calories, 0g Fat, 42.5g Sugar
- Panera Strawberry with Ginseng: 195 Calories, 1.1g Fat, 39.8g Sugar
- Jamba Juice Strawberry Banana: 223 Calories, .8g Fat, 45.9g Sugar
- Starbucks Strawberry: 210 Calories, 1.1g Fat, 30.8g Sugar
What does a similar preparation at home look like? Using 6 ounces of non-fat Greek yogurt, a half-cup of ice, a cup of strawberries and a medium banana, you end up with 251 Calories, 0g Fat and 28.1g Sugar. Only minimally more calories, and definitely less sugar, and remember that it’s all fresh, unprocessed with no additional or unnecessary ingredients. And they take only seconds to make!
So if you’re out and about, in need of a quick fix, then these McDonald’s Smoothies are a decent choice, when you compare to some of the other things you could order.
August 3rd, 2010