The brand, Starbucks, needs no introduction - it is America's national coffee. But, Starbucks is known for its innovative menu that goes beyond traditional coffee. Just recently, it added Starbucks smoothies to its growing repertoire of drinks.
Yes, the creators of the infamously calorific Unicorn Frappuccino is going to Healthy-Ville with its new line of healthy options.
What Are the Benefits of Smoothies?
What is a smoothie? And, why should fans line up to get the new Starbucks smoothies?
A smoothie is a cold beverage made from fruits pureed using a blender. Popular fruits include mango, strawberry, kiwi, and banana. Sometimes, vegetables are used for a subcategory known as a green smoothie because of the leafy green vegetables used like kale, celery, spinach, and more.
To create a smoother consistency (hence the name), it is often blended with other liquids like crushed ice, fruit juice, sweeteners (syrup, honey), dairy (milk, yogurt), plant milk (soy, almond), ice cream, or water.
Dry ingredients are also added to improve the flavor such as whey powder, nuts, chocolate, seeds, grains, tea (match powder), protein, cheese, and butter. A smoothie with milk or yogurt is often mistaken for a milkshake, but the latter is mainly milk with light fruit flavors.
Smoothies first became popular in the United States in the 1960s, during the boom of counterculture movement that promoted a healthy lifestyle. Then it cemented itself as the health drink of choice in the 2000s when the health food craze hit the nation.
Health and Other Benefits of Smoothies
There are many reasons health buffs should be excited for Starbucks smoothies.
- It tastes great. If you find the healthy branding too fancy, then maybe the taste will sway you. The creamy smooth mix of fruits and other ingredients is a medley of flavors that tastes better than it looks. Yes, healthy foods can be delicious, too.
- It is chock-full of nutrition. For example, a 202 gram cup of mango smoothie contains 120 calories with 1.6 grams of dietary fiber, 4.5 grams protein, 336 milligrams of Potassium, vitamins A, B, C, and other nutrients.
- It can be a good fruits and veggies allowance. It is not meant as a substitute, but it is a quick source of nutrients for those who don't have access to fruits or veggies.
- It is good for weight loss. Weight-watchers and calorie-counters can drink this without guilt. It is good in liquid diet regimens because it is rich in dietary fibers and other elements that aid in weight loss.
- It is a good protein source. Bodybuilders and athletes like protein-based smoothies because it tastes better and is more nutritious than the commercial protein shakes. Plus, the proteins are absorbed in the body in liquid form faster and better than solid meals.
- It improves digestion. Smoothies makes the belly happy while the dietary fibers and probiotic (in yogurt) make it healthy. Drinking smoothies also aids in digestion problems such as acid reflux or indigestion.
- It is quick and easy to make. All you need is a blender and your choice of fruits and other ingredients. It doesn't take much time to blend the ingredients together. It is also a culinary exercise as you can design your own blends!
- Kids love it. If you have kids, a smoothie is the best way to condition their palates to eat their dreaded veggies. You can actually hide your veggies behind the sweet and creamy taste of smoothies. Just pick their favorite flavors, and they will drink it heartily.
- It is good for detox. Every day we are exposed to chemicals around us and in our food. Smoothies are a tasty way to cleanse our body of these toxins, thanks to its fibers and liver-friendly nutrients.
- It is good for the skin. Smoothies are rich in Vitamin C, D, E, and other nutrients good for the skin. It is a skin-care product in one tasty package.
- It is good for the immune system. You can boost your body's protection from diseases from the nutrients in smoothies. Whoever said an apple a day keeps the doctor away will definitely love a glass of smoothie.
- It can be a meal substitute. People on strict diet programs, or those who miss regular meals due to work, can gulp a big tasty cup of smoothie as their meal for the day.
- It reduces cravings. People on a diet can satisfy their urges by drinking a glass of smoothie during mealtime to make them feel full and healthy.
- It is an energy drink. One glass of chocolate or peanut butter smoothie every morning is enough to get you through the day. The carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats in a smoothie can perk you up better than a cup a coffee.
- It helps improve your sleep. A glass of smoothie before bedtime has been found to aid in getting a good night's sleep.
- It improves memory and brain functions. Besides the energy spike, smoothies also provide nutrients like flavonoids and Vitamin E that are good for brain functions, and iron for healthy blood circulation.
- It improves the mood. Not only does it taste good, but a chocolate smoothie helps release oxytocins that are feel-good hormones!
Menu & Prices
Now for the exciting part: Starbucks smoothies!
Starbucks smoothies come in three delicious flavors: Orange-Mango, Strawberry, and Chocolate. It is only available in one size - GRANDE.
Each glass contains about two scoops of protein powder. This is whey protein isolate (made from milk) so lactose intolerant people may want to request to remove it. If you don't like the taste of protein, you can ask the barista to eliminate it. All smoothie flavors contain one whole banana as the fruit base.
A shot of unsweetened orange-mango puree is added to the banana and protein powder base and then blended together with 2% milk (optional) and shaved ice. You can choose to sweeten it with sugar or Splenda.
The strawberry used in this one is the same used in Strawberries and Creme Frappuccino, so if you like the taste, you can try the smoothie version. It also contains 2% milk, but, of course, you have the option to remove or replace it (soy, coconut or almond).
According to their website, the fiber powder used contains whey protein isolate, chicory root extract, soy lecithin, and xanthan gum.
Chocolate lovers should rejoice because Starbucks had you in mind for its third smoothie flavor: chocolate!
Unlike the other two flavors which are fruit-based, the main flavor is mocha syrup. Mocha is mainly dark chocolate, so it does not contain much sugar (thus, not sweet). If you have a sweet tooth, you can ask the barista to add sweeteners (or add it yourself).
Other options: you can ask the barista to add soy milk instead, as soy tastes good with chocolate. You can also ask to add a shot of espresso because as you know, coffee + chocolate + banana = heaven.
Refreshers - Fruity Alternatives
If you don't like the creamy taste of smoothies, you can always choose the refreshing fruity taste of Starbucks Refreshers, its signature line of fruit juice drinks lightly caffeinated with Green Coffee extract.
You can choose from refreshing flavors:
- Mango Dragonfruit
- Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade
- Strawbery Acai
- Strawberry Acai Lemonade
- Very Berry Hibiscus
- Very Berry Hibiscus Lemonade
- Strawberry Acai (aka Pink Drink)
- Blackberry Hibiscus (aka Violet Drink)
Depending on the flavor, these drinks may also contain fruit pieces like dragonfruit bits or strawberry pieces. Pink and Violet Drink both contains coconut milk (hence the creamy look), but you always have the option to switch to zero milk or milk (dairy, soy, almond).
All drinks are available in four different sizes: Tall ($), Grande ($), Venti Iced ($), and Trenta Iced ($$).
Why Starbucks Has Added Smoothies to Their Menu
The health craze is sweeping the nation across all fronts, including restaurants and food shops erstwhile labeled as unhealthy. Starbucks is no stranger to these accusations. Its line of fancy coffee drinks have gained the reputation for being tall glasses of sugar and a bit of coffee. This is why over the years, it gradually introduced healthier options such as tea (black tea, matcha, etc.) and fruit blends (called "Refreshers"). The Starbucks smoothies are the latest addition to this array of health drinks.
Introducing healthy drinks, like smoothies, is not only part of a re-branding effort, but is also a marketing strategy to get a slice of the healthy food pie. The market for organic and healthy food is already making millions of dollars, and its potential is still untapped. More people are advocating and living healthy, sustainable and organic lifestyles. And, Starbucks is smartly positioning itself as a supporter of this lifestyle.
Starbucks smoothies are delicious, healthy and literally and figuratively cool; as a brand, a glass is definitely a status symbol worthy of social media posts. So go to your nearest Starbucks shop and grab a drink now!