Years before Jamba Juice was a thing, my hometown of Bakersfield had a local shop called Bagels and Blenders. It was a favorite in our family and on occasion, we began our Saturday mornings before sports and activities with a stop here. I still remember their Peanut Butter Bagel, an oblong shaped bagel with chunks of peanut butter throughout- something I’ve never seen anywhere else. Yum. They also had a giant list of blenders, aka smoothies, and those were delicious as well. Before there was much talk of carbs, this seemed like a good concept.
I distinctly remember thinking I was having a healthy breakfast! It was good fuel, for sure, but I cannot imagine what the crash would have been like with all those carbs…although I don’t really remember it being a thing. It was the 80s and this was health food at its finest. I have clear memories of our family making smoothies at home. With a family of 6, this was definitely a smart economic choice, which my parents were very good with. They usually consisted of fruit juice, frozen fruit and ice.
Fast forward to the opening of Jamba Juice in the early 1990s and smoothies were everywhere. What town didn’t have a Jamba Juice? Their early menus consisted mostly of fruit smoothies that had juice, frozen fruit and often sherbet or frozen yogurt. Basically – sugar, sugar, and more sugar. But it had fruit! So we were all good…
The most recent menu at Jamba Juice doesn’t look much like it’s original menu. The old saying – when you know better you do better, certainly applies here. The offerings now, thankfully, have many more redeemable qualities such as non dairy beverage instead of fruit juice, Greek yogurt instead of sherbet or frozen yogurt, and combos of veggies and fruits. It’s a refreshing treat that we can feel better about, but with the price of those jambas, it’s still considered a treat in our household.
The most healthy and economical option is to make smoothies at home. A good quality blender such as the VitaMix is invaluable and a worthy investment if you’re a fan of smoothies. For over 15 years, with few exceptions, our family has made a smoothie every single day – it resembles many of those you now see at Jamba Juice, but always with a balance of fruit, veggie, protein and often with added fiber. We’ve never used a recipe, so it’s been a challenge to measure out everything and think about serving size. I tried my best with the posted recipes, but I suggest that you use them as a guide. And before long, your family will come up with great combos that magically serves just enough for everyone to have a glass.
Ben’s Tropical Smoothie
Since my kids were little, they have always loved the Mango-a-Go-Go smoothie at Jamba Juice. With all that sugar from the juice and sherbet, who wouldn't? Here's a much healthier alternative. My youngest makes his own version with no measurements that rivals anything we have purchased at Jamba Juice. I did my best to copy his recipe!
- 1 cup frozen mango chunks
- ½ cup frozen pineapple
- 1 banana
- ¼ cup plain Greek whole milk yogurt
- ¾ cup almond milk coconut or soy milk are also great options
- ¼ cup orange juice or 1 whole peeled orange
- 1 handful spinach optional
- 1 tbsp ground flax meal
- 1 tsp honey
- 2-3 ice cubes
Place ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.