Summer is upon us, which can only mean one thing – it’s smoothie season. From chocolate and peanut butter concoctions to strawberry banana to tropical mango, there’s a blend for every tastebud, but not all smoothies are created equal. Some are chalk-full of protein powder and fresh berries while others are blends of sugary juices and concentrates that rack up the calories. If you’re looking for a dessert drink, there are plenty of options, but if you’re hoping to find something a bit more nutritious that you can swap for a meal, you’ll want to keep a close eye out on the ingredients listed (avoid juices and syrups and opt for fresh fruit and veggies). We’ve pulled together a list of both healthy fast food smoothies and ones that’ll be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Enjoy!
Fast Food Smoothies From Your Favorite Places
Starbucks – Blended Strawberry Lemonade
Starbucks doesn’t sell real smoothies anymore. I learned this the hard way when I was having a bad day and desperately craved a sugary strawberry banana drink. However, my disappointment led to an amazing discovery – the drive-thru barista encouraged me to try something called a Blended Refresher. Let me tell you, I will never go back. Blended Refreshers take the popular iced drink and turn it into a frozen beverage with the consistency between a smoothie and a slushy. All the flavors are vibrant and fruity and contain a caffeine pick-me-up from the green tea extract that’s in them. I love the Strawberry Lemonade flavor, especially in the summertime, but you can also enjoy flavors like Dragonfruit, Acai Lemonade, Very Berry Hibiscus, Pink Drink, Violet Drink, or Strawberry Acai.
McDonald’s Strawberry Banana Smoothie
McDonald’s smoothies are the healthy kind of beverages you’d want to drink after a workout, but they are the kind that taste like dessert. The Strawberry Banana flavor is an all-time favorite of mine, but there’s also the Mango Smoothie if you’d like to try something different.
But forewarning: this smoothie is made out of fruit purees and juices, not fresh fruit, which is apparent in the taste. It’ll give you more of a sugar high than anything, but it sure is delicious. However, it does have a base of low fat yogurt, so it’s nice and creamy.
Jamba Juice Pink Starburst Smoothie
There are two kinds of people in this world – those who want a smoothie to taste like candy and those who want it to taste like kale. If you’re the former, you’ll love Jamba Juice’s pink Starburst Smoothie. Because let’s be serious: who doesn’t want to slurp their favorite Starburst flavor in a 16 ounce cup? You should know, however, that you won’t find the Pink Starburst Smoothie on the regular Jamba Juice menu. It’s a secret menu item, so you’ll need to know which ingredients it’s made of if you want to be able to order it. In case the worker doesn’t know what this smoothie is, show them this recipe:
- 6 oz. Lemonade
- 6 oz. Soy Milk
- 1 Scoop Raspberry Sherbet
- 1 Scoop Plain Sherbet
- 1 Scoop Frozen Yogurt
- 2 Scoops of Strawberries
Panera Bread Peach & Blueberry Smoothie with Almond Milk
If you’re looking for a nutritious snack or meal, Panera Bread has you covered with the Peach & Blueberry Smoothie with Almond Milk. It’s sweet, fruity, and creamy with a blend of peach and mango puree, juice concentrates, fresh blueberries, and almond milk.
Panera is certainly healthier than traditional fast food chains, but if you’re concerned about nutrition, keep an eye out on concentrates and juices in your smoothies. Those contain higher amounts of sugar than smoothies with fresh fruit and milk.
Smoothie King Peanut Power Plus Chocolate
Smoothie King has an obvious advantage when pit up against other fast food chains. You can get a drink made from juice concentrate or one made from fresh fruit, supplements, and nut milk. The choice is yours – and you get what you pay for. Smoothie King is quite pricy compared to the other options on our list, but the portion sizes are huge. Most options are nutrient-dense enough that you can safely skip a meal and replace it with your favorite smoothie. And while it’s hard for me to decide which one is the best (seriously – the menu is massive), I love getting the Peanut Power Plus Chocolate smoothie when I’m craving something indulgent. It’s healthier than eating a Reese’s Cup but tastes a heck of a lot like one. Plus, it’s filling enough to serve as a meal or afternoon snack.
The main reason I love Smoothie King? They have tons of options on their menu, but you can completely customize your order to suit your dietary needs and cravings – they’ve got 40 ingredients and several nutritional enhancers to choose from. There’s even fitness and keto blends, as well as smoothies to help you lose or gain weight (looking at you body builders). And if you’re in need of an energy boost, there are plenty of caffeinated options, as well.
Dunkin’ Tropical Mango Smoothie
Dunkin’ only has a couple of smoothies on their menu, but the Mango flavor is the perfect alternative to coffee or tea if you want to switch things up. This fast food smoothie is super sugary, though, so it may not be the best beverage to pair with your morning donut or muffin. And if you’re not a big mango fan, Dunkin’ also has a Strawberry Banana flavor.
Orange Julius – Orange Julius
Is the classic Orange Julius a smoothie? I’m up for a debate, but I’d say this creamy, fruity blend of orange juice and ice cream qualifies, but it may be hard to find a drive-through near you. Orange Julius locations are few and far between nowadays. Up until last year, Dairy Queen used to sell these delightful drinks, but now they’re only available at Orange Julius locations around the country. If you don’t have one nearby, try our super quick and easy Orange Julius recipe.
Baskin-Robbins Tropical Banana
Baskin-Robbins may specialize in frozen custard, but that doesn’t mean they can’t whip up a darn good smoothie, too. I’m a big fan of the Tropical Banana smoothie, which is a blend of banana, guava, orange, passion fruit, and nonfat Vanilla flavored frozen yogurt. I love how exotic it tastes compared to the over-used strawberry banana flavors (Baskin-Robbins does have one of those on the menu, too, if that’s your cup of tea). You don’t find ingredients like guava and passion fruit in many fast food smoothies, so I’ll give it a gold star for originality. In addition to Tropical Banana and Strawberry Banana, there’s a Mango Banana Smoothie available.
Cold Stone Creamery Blueberry Banana
Unlike most options at Cold Stone, the smoothies are full of nutritious, energy-boosting ingredients. The Blueberry Banana smoothie contains real bananas, blueberries and our Lifestyle smoothie mix. Although Cold Stone doesn’t share what exactly is in their Lifestyle smoothie mix, it says it’s some kind of juice. In addition to the Blueberry Banana flavor, you can try Pineapple Blueberry, Strawberry Mango, Mango Pineapple, or Strawberry Banana, all of which are a blend of fresh fruit and juice. If you’re looking for something more indulgent, try a cup of ice cream or a shake.
Sonic Strawberry Real Fruit Slush
Okay…so it’s not a smoothie per say, but Sonic’s fruit slush is a delicious blend of fruit and an icy juice mixture. Sounds enough like a smoothie to me. This beverage is an ultra sweet, borderline sour concoction that’s perfect for the first hot days of summer. In fact, you can get the Strawberry Real Fruit Slush half-price during Happy Hour (anytime when you order through the mobile app).
Tropical Smoothie Dragon Fruit Smoothie
Tropical Smoothie is the perfect lunch spot, serving delicious and healthy sandwiches, quesadillas, wraps, and of course – smoothies. The Dragon Fruit Smoothie is a blend of dragonfruit, mango, pineapple, and banana, creating an exotic and vibrant flavor profile. It’s brand-new at Tropical Smoothie and definitely worth a try. And if you’re in the mood for a full meal, this smoothie pairs especially well with the Chipotle Chicken Club Flatbread.
If you need a little caffeine boost, check out the best fast food iced coffee to get you through summer.