Food on the Run: McCafe' Fruit Smoothies

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/15/2010 1:26 PM   :  206 comments   :  29,144 Views

The smoothie has increased in popularity over the last several years. So much so that the smoothie maker has recently become one of the hottest selling small appliances. At the same time, smoothie and juice bars have popped up in malls and communities all over the country.

Earlier this week my son asked to stop for a smoothie. Since he is a growing teenager that eats almost hourly as well as being a "fruit boy," as we fondly refer to him, I made the stop. Since this was my first trip to this particular smoothie cafe, I let him make his selection while I looked over the menu boards. While we waited and I reviewed the "supercharged power up" vitamin and protein additive options, I wondered exactly what was in the concoction he had selected that set me back $4.58. He walked out happy with his selection of a 24-ounce Island Lemonade Smoothie (frozen lemonade) while I was a bit disappointed that he ended up with nothing more than a specialty frozen sugar drink instead of something more nutrient rich. The next day I came across an article discussing the new McDonald's McCafe real fruit smoothies that caused me to take a deeper look. I wondered if this could be a more nutrient wise option for the next time my son wanted a smoothie.

A thick, creamy smoothie can be a cold nutrient rich option for a snack or a meal. Choices are unlimited when it comes to selecting combinations of favorite fruits or sweet vegetables and whether you include fat-free yogurt, ice cream, soymilk or ice. Making your own is certainly the most cost effective and nutrient wise option and there are plenty of recipes to help you get started. However, if you are out running errands and you (or your teenager) want a cool drink, a McCafe' smoothie might be an option.

Strawberry Banana Fruit Smoothie

Calories - 210

Fat - .5 grams

Sodium 35 mg

Carbohydrates 49 grams

Fiber 2 grams

Protein 2 grams

The strawberry banana fruit blend is made by blending strawberry and banana fruit puree with water, sugar, and concentrated apple juice a well as several preservatives and thickening agents. This blend is mixed with low fat yogurt and ice.

Wild Berry Smoothie

Calories - 210

Fat - .5 grams

Sodium 30 mg

Carbohydrates 48 grams

Fiber 3 grams

Protein 2 grams

The wild berry fruit blend is made by blending strawberry puree, water, sugar, and blueberry puree with concentrated pineapple and apple juices and several preservatives and thickening agents. This blend is mixed with low fat yogurt and ice.

A 12 fl oz serving provides 70 percent daily value for Vitamin C as well as 70 mg of calcium. At $2.29, perhaps I will stop at Mickey D's next time my son needs a smoothie pick-me-up while we are out running errands.

Have you tried either of the new McCafe' Smoothies and if so, what did you think? If you like to make your own smoothies, what are your favorite concoctions?


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Comments

  • 156
    I've never had a smoothie in a restuarant that could compare with homemade. Making it ourselves cuts calories dramatically, ups fiber enormously and vitamins too. I don't even try to get tehm anywhere but my own kitchen anymore. I do spend about 8$ a week though on good frozen berries... - 7/18/2010   3:40:43 AM
  • 155
    I have tried the berry flavored one at McDonalds it is great! - 7/18/2010   1:53:46 AM
  • 154
    I like making smoothies at home but if we're out and my teenage daughter chooses a smoothie from McDonalds instead of french fries or something like that... I'm glad she's choosing the smoothie... and she's tried the Strawberry Banana Smoothie and really liked it a lot...;-) - 7/18/2010   12:46:32 AM
  • 153
    Buying it from McDonalds, you are paying for the convenience of having someone make you one. I prefer making my own - not saying that I wouldn't stop for one - but I wouldn't anyway - Again, making it from home is more "fruitful" :-) - 7/17/2010   10:54:29 PM
  • 152
    I had the strawberry banana from McD's and actually loved it, but wouldn't make a special trip to buy one - there was one in a WalMart in Orlando and I was hungry. I usually make my own - my basic ingredients are the same - yogurt, soymilk, a little honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon. The rest is whatever fruit I have in the house. So my smoothie is hardly ever the same thing twice. - 7/17/2010   10:41:17 PM
  • 151
    I never go to McDonald's anymore. My husband got food poisoning twice (different items, different McDonald's) and we have never been back. If I want a smoothie, I will make it myself or go to Jamba Juice or IntaJuice. - 7/17/2010   9:45:21 PM
  • SPARKLYN-
    150
    Here is a smoothie I love to make at home. It's very similar to a strawberry julius only healthier.
    1 cup frozen strawberries (more or less)
    2/3 c. nonfat dry milk powder
    1 can cold Diet orange soda
    1 tsp vanilla (optional)
    2 TBSP egg whites (optional)
    1-2 TBSP ground flaxseed (optional)
    Add all of above ingredients and blend until smooth. You are getting close to 20 grams of protein in this smoothie depending on whether you add the egg whites and/or flaxseed, but you would never know it.



    - 7/17/2010   9:25:18 PM
  • 149
    I just recently started making homemade smoothies since we went strawberries and blueberries picking in bulk this season. Then I have some good friends who are thinking of opening a smoothie cafe/bar here in town, so I am experimenting with ingredients here and doing my recipe calculator to get the healthiest options going to figure out possible costs. Thanks for the blog, it will give me more food for thought to see what can be imagined with healthy choices being the objective. - 7/17/2010   9:19:35 PM
  • ASHLEYJONES11
    148
    If you like making smoothies at home I highly recommend buying the Magic Bullet blender. You can find it at Bed, Bath & Beyond or just search online (i.e. Amazon.com). Instead of using a large blender container (which is such a pain to clean, especially if you make smoothies daily like I do) the Magic Bullet comes with 4 cups that attach directly to the small base. You just put all of your ingredients directly into the cup, put it on the base, and blend! Easy to use, and VERY easy cleanup! - 7/17/2010   8:18:22 PM
  • 147
    I've seen these advertised but assumed they were much higher calories. I just might have to try one! - 7/17/2010   6:52:49 PM
  • SBFRIAR68
    146
    Haven't seen them advertised here, but will keep my eyes peeled! - 7/17/2010   4:57:25 PM
  • 145
    I have tried both smoothies and they taste great! I was a little worried about the nutrition since they come from a fast food establishment but they are surprisingly low in calories. - 7/17/2010   3:28:20 PM
  • 144
    Apparently, there will be a coupon for a free McD's smoothie in Sunday's paper (in the Parade mag). I probably wouldn't pay for one unless I was stuck, but for free it's worth a go. I like the Tropical Smoothie Cafe smoothies--they make them without sugar as well and are pretty big for few cals. - 7/17/2010   2:35:54 PM
  • 143
    A note to AMEND.ALLSTAR, what is it you put in your protein drink? I have never made one, plus I have never tried one of any kind. I'm no cook, and go for the easy receipes. Please tell me what Myoplex Lite and EAS carb advantage is?? Thank you so much for the information. Wilsoncando :-) - 7/17/2010   2:15:24 PM
  • KELMAZ
    142
    Thanks for the info- good to know when I find myself there due to circumstances beyond my control! - 7/17/2010   1:30:47 PM
  • 141
    It's a better alternative than a Big Mac.
    If I find myself at McD's with friends, I would opt for this instead. - 7/17/2010   1:08:11 PM
  • KILLEEN20
    140
    I prefer Booster Juice smoothies myself. Just tried to check nutritional info online, but it's not there. I believe the sugar content isn't too bad, and there are lots to choose from. Mostly though, I make my own at home. - 7/17/2010   12:14:16 PM
  • IRAQIFLOWER
    139
    thank you for the tip; this looks like a good deal. - 7/17/2010   12:07:56 PM
  • JEWELSMG
    138
    I havent tried the Mcdonalds smoothie and do not plan to. I prefer to make my own smoothies including whole fruits and "powerhouse" veggies like spinach or kale. Then adding some healthy fat like flax seed. - 7/17/2010   10:20:11 AM
  • 137
    Thanks for the info. I love smoothies, but can't seem to drink without brain freeze! I was afraid these would be super high in calories. If you made this your breakfast, it'd be low cal, if you made it dessert, it'd be a little high, but doable. - 7/17/2010   9:44:51 AM
  • 136
    I never go to McD's because even their "healthy" items aren't that healthy. I'll continue to make my own smoothies.
    - 7/17/2010   9:39:28 AM
  • 135
    to many carbs for me. I'm diabetic, can't eat that much sugar. I eat my berries straight up. LOL - 7/17/2010   9:37:44 AM
  • 134
    Thanks for looking into these. Been wanting to try but was waiting until you had checked them out. A bit high in sugar but better then some other options. The Wild Berry one will be my choice. - 7/17/2010   12:52:27 AM
  • 133
    Too many carbs for me (I'm diabetic)...maybe if they didn't add sugar. Just have to make my own!!! - 7/17/2010   12:43:37 AM
  • ETHELMERZ
    132
    Once again, McDonald's doesn't seem to "get it" that there are loads of people with diabetes out there, and the last thing we need is another food item from them featuring 48 or 49 grams of sugar, but disguised with some fruit in it, so it sounds like it's healthy to those out there who don't know what's going on and order anything................. And then the news media shows overweight people walking and has news reports commenting on the obesity crisis in America and pretends people are doing enough exercise. - 7/16/2010   10:38:47 PM
  • 131
    I am glad to see this posted, because I tried a smoothie the other day, and wondered what was in it and how much fruit is actually in it as well. I think from now on, I will stick to making my own. I am glad however to see that it's not as bad in calories as I thought it would be. :o)

    - 7/16/2010   9:36:23 PM
  • 130
    I was thinking about trying one. After this post, I am sure I will. - 7/16/2010   9:34:23 PM
  • 129
    I had a very strong suspision that there wasn't too much "fruit" in the fruit smoothies. My kids tried them today and they stated that the one made at home last night was better. We didn't use any fruit, but ice cream. I would never drink one and would choose the fruit and yogurt parfait. - 7/16/2010   7:11:38 PM
  • FOX2566
    128
    Smoothies are a wonderful occasional treat...If sweet fruit is used, sugar can be onitted. - 7/16/2010   5:23:17 PM
  • 127
    Interesting, I saw the commercial on TV and wondered how many calories were in each one- they aren't as bad as I thought! - 7/16/2010   5:05:10 PM
  • MROUSSEAU
    126
    For extra protein in my peach and banana smoothie I love adding a tablespoon of all natural no sugar added chunky peanut butter. It is the best! - 7/16/2010   5:01:47 PM
  • 125
    I have a Vitamix and I use it to make smoothies. Mixed frozen berries, protein powder, soy or almond milk, ice cubes and spin on high until it almost gets like ice cream. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm - 7/16/2010   4:57:20 PM
  • 124
    I never buy smoothies but make my own at home. I have a Vitamix blender and I use frozen strawberries, frozen blueberrys, fresh banana, protein powder, fresh carrot juice, soy milk and flaxseed in mine. The calorie count is high but I split the smoothie in half and drink part of it as my breakfast and the rest after my bike ride or gym workout. I've actually lost more weight since I started drinking these. - 7/16/2010   3:45:42 PM
  • APRIL7832
    123
    I noticed that the amount of sugar isnt listed in the nutrition facts, Im sure the smoothie from mc d's has an good amount, and what are "thickening agents" ? I dont go anywhere near mc d's but I often get smoothies from smoothie king where u can hav them leave out the sugar and still get enough sweetness from the fruit purees. - 7/16/2010   3:40:55 PM
  • 122
    I am a HUGE fan of Berry Blendz (Previously IntaJuice). While I did Weight Watchers a few years ago, I went through their smoothie nutrition and assigned the point values.

    I still go there pretty regularly. They make them to my specifications and even leave it chunky for me.

    If you have either store nearby, it's definitely worth a try! - 7/16/2010   3:01:20 PM
  • 121
    btw There are printable coupons all over the internet for a free 12 oz. McD's smoothie or frappe. The McDonald's corporate website also has printable $1 off coupons. I make my own smoothies at home too but I'm curious as to what McD's smoothies taste like. If it's free, I'll try it. - 7/16/2010   2:41:05 PM
  • 120
    I agree, POUNDSTOGO3. No need to add sugar when fresh fruit is nice & sweet. - 7/16/2010   2:04:25 PM
  • CHICKFORCHRIST
    119
    I was actually there today and was eyeing the smoothies, but the ones I have gotten before ended up being way higher in calories and fat content. My guess would be that making it with the low fat yogurt is a help and added healthy benefit! Maybe i will just get one next time! - 7/16/2010   1:16:31 PM
  • 118
    I had the strawberry banana smoothie a few weeks back. I think I'll pass next time. Homemade smoothies are the best. - 7/16/2010   12:52:09 PM
  • 117
    I have had the Wild Berry smoothie!! :) Atleast where I live I saw a sign that said free small smoothie on Fridays! :)

    I have also made my own, they are pretty decent! :) And I've had the yoplait ones from the freezer section at the grocery store I like those best! :) - 7/16/2010   12:44:02 PM
  • 116
    I tried the strawberry and banana smoothie and didn't care for the flavor at all. Had a bitter after taste or something. Just my opinion though. You might like it. - 7/16/2010   12:38:51 PM
  • 115
    My hubby loves McDonalds breakfasts ( I used to as well but since joining spark people I've found that I can't tolerate the grease and salt) so when we stop there I have a very hard time finding anything. I usually end up with a sugar free iced coffee. Now I can actually get some nutrients! Thanks McDonalds! - 7/16/2010   12:34:20 PM
  • MARICAM3
    114
    easy smoothie recipe:
    1 cup any flavor fruit juice
    1 cup any flavor yogurt
    1 cup any frozen fruit - 7/16/2010   12:28:58 PM
  • MIEZEKATZE
    113
    Funny that this article would pop up right when I've been having a smoothie phase this summer. That being said, no, I haven't had nor will ever have a McDonald's smoothie, simply because of this - "strawberry and banana fruit puree with water, sugar, and concentrated apple juice a well as several preservatives and thickening agents."

    Preservatives and thickening agents? No thanks! I'll stick to making smoothies at home. Currently, I've been making banana-strawberry-pineapple smooothies... so easy! And you don't need to add sugar.

    Ingredients:
    1 banana (freeze it beforehand if you like thicker smoothies)
    1 cup fresh strawberries
    3 spears (or 1 cup chunked) fresh pineapple
    1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt (I love Trader Joe's French Vanilla yogurt.)
    2 handfuls of ice

    Blend! Sip! Enjoy!
    - 7/16/2010   12:01:30 PM
  • 112
    I had forgotten about making smoothies so thank you for refreshing my memory! - 7/16/2010   11:38:00 AM
  • PFROTH
    111
    I think the point of the article was not whether you can make a better smoothie at home (we all know we can!) or not, but rather is it an acceptable choice when you're out and about. - 7/16/2010   11:09:56 AM
  • 110
    good to keep in mind - 7/16/2010   11:09:01 AM
  • 109
    Just had a wild berry smoothie this week. it was good and satisfying but VERY heavy on carbs.....But the calories are not bad - 7/16/2010   11:02:27 AM
  • ZANNE71
    108
    Thanks for the info! It looks like it beats most of the other alternatives when I give in to my daughter's begging and find myself in the McD's drive-through line. - 7/16/2010   10:57:49 AM
  • SKTHOBURN
    107
    Skip the thickening agents and added sugar. Make a smoothie at home in your blender. My recipe is 1 banana, 1 cup frozen mango chunks, 1 cup orange juice, 3/4 cup greek nonfat plain yogurt. Blend until smooth and thick and make two glasses. This is sweet, filling and has calcium, protein, vitamin C and A. - 7/16/2010   10:20:36 AM

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