Healthy Smoothies That Won’t Ruin Your Workout

Try one of these nine local alternatives to avoid the all-too-common smoothie fat trap

Illustration by Justin Renninger

Illustration by Justin Renninger

Smoothies were meant to be healthy. But somewhere along the lines they’ve became as bad (or worse, in some cases) as a milkshake, devoid of nutrients and soaked in sugar and blended with far-from-natural versions of fruit, sweetened yogurt, or even frozen yogurt or ice cream. I cringed when Dunkin Donuts started selling those diabetes-friendly excuses for smoothies, which can run upwards of 500 calories and 60 grams of sugar in a single serving. But, luckily, there are still some healthy smoothies around town. You just have to know where to look. Check out our round up below.

And when you’re ordering a smoothie, do yourself a favor and ask a few questions, like “Are you using fresh fruit?, “Are there any added sugars?”, “Is the yogurt flavored (if so, that adds lots of sugar)?”, and don’t be afraid to make substitutions. I love the soy smoothie at Raindrop Cafe, below, but to cut down on sugar and carbs, I’ll swap in blueberries for the bananas and I hand them a stevia packet to mix in for a bit of sweetness in lieu of honey. So when in doubt, speak up! — Smoothie writeups and research by Kelly O’Shea

Raindrop Café
The Soy Smoothie at Raindrop Café tastes as good as it is for you (a 16-oz serving size weighs in at only 191 calories). The frozen treat is made with nonfat soymilk, strawberries, bananas, and honey, all blended together with ice. To cut calories/carbs even more, sub in blueberries for the banana and ask them to go easy on the honey. Add a free optional health shot—protein, immune-boosting—and you’re good to go. (Don’t do soy? Sub in non-fat milk for an extra 25 cents. 1900 Market Street, 215-569-3836.

Mugshots CoffeeHouse and Café
2100 Fairmont Avenue, 267-514-7145
The Recovery Shakes at Mugshots are made with all-natural ingredients, so you won’t find any refined sugars or preservatives in this smoothie, and they’re also lactose-free. This 16-oz or 20-oz shake is simply natural fruit purée blended with ice. Try Acaí, Mango, Northwest Berry or Strawberry.

Sook Hee’s Produce
‎At Sook Hee’s Produce you can create your own smoothie. Each smoothie is made with 100-percent fresh fruits and vegetables and blended with ice. Feel free to sweeten it up with some honey or add in milk, soymilk, or soy protein. With flavors ranging from apple to watermelon to pear, there’s something here for every craving. 1701 JFK Boulevard, 215-568-2834

The Green Tea Matcha Smoothie at Fuel is the perfect way to cool down post-workout. It’s main ingredient is matcha, a Japanese green tea that’s known as a detoxifying agent, mood enhancer, and for increasing metabolism, and it’s mixed with skim milk. 1917 East Passyunk Avenue, 215-468-3835

Smoothie King
1625 Chestnut Street, Suite 207, 215-557-9557
The Island Treat at Smoothie King will surely make you wonder, “Why doesn’t everyone move to the islands for flavors like this?” Bananas, papaya, soy protein and honey make up this smoothie. A 20oz serving only sets you back 233 calories while the larger 32oz amounts to 349 calories. Don’t forget to “make it skinny” and ask the King to leave out the turbinado, which saves calories and carbs.

The Juice Bar at City Fitness

These fruit shakes are made from the skins, seeds, and pulp of vine-ripened fruit with no added sugars. They are lactose free, made with no artificial ingredients, colors, preservatives, or hydrogenated oils. Try the Banana Nut Blaster with banana, peanut butter, soymilk and whey protein. Swap in skim milk if you’d prefer, just ask the bar’s specialists, they’d be happy to help. 200 Spring Garden, 215-923-4114

Kaffa Crossing
The Mangolicious smoothie at Kaffa Crossing offers a pleasing blend of fresh mango and lime to send your taste buds on a vacation. Mixed with soy and honey, this healthy treat is sure to please. 4423 Chestnut Street, 215-386-0504

Soy Café
This quaint café offers a wide variety of deliciously tasting smoothies, but the most popular is the Milli Vanilli. Made with peaches, bananas, vanilla soymilk, and honey. If you’re not a fan of soy milk or want to cut down on sugar, swap in plain skim milk. Add a protein boost to make your smoothie extra creamy. 630 North 2nd Street, 215-922-1003

J&K Euphoria
The smoothies at J&K Euphoria are 100% all natural. Build your own smoothie with your choice of milk; 2%, skim or soy. Pick from a wide variety of flavors, including passion fruit, blueberry, banana or pineapple. Add a non-fat protein powder, if you’d like. 1001 North 2nd Street, 215-238-9209