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Is the Jamba Juice New School Smoothie a Healthy Choice?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Last year the new school lunch guidelines were unveiled including new guidelines for the kind of milk to serve. Since that time, school districts across the country have been putting plans in place for implementation at the start of this school year. We have seen popular restaurants like Domino's get creative to provide cost effective quick serve options that meet the revised USDA guidelines as they seek to expand their business through school lunches.
Last month, at the School Nutrition Association Conference in Denver, a variety of other companies presented their products in hopes that school districts would include them in their new plans. Jamba Juice was one of those companies and unveiled a new smoothie they developed with the National Dairy Council. The naturally sweetened smoothie contains fruit, fruit juice, and fat-free milk with the goal of providing schools with a nutritious milk option at a reasonable cost-per-serving. Here is how this new smoothie stacks up.

Jamba Juice is trying to transition to a brand associated with healthy, active lifestyles. As part of that effort, they have introduced small JambaGo kiosks with readymade products in food courts, special event venues, and schools.

The new JambaGO smoothies are currently set to begin service in 100 schools according to the company press release and that number is expected to grow to 400-500 schools by the end of the year. The fat-free dairy and fruit smoothie offers the vitamins, minerals and some fiber from fruit and the calcium, potassium and protein of dairy. Schools currently have a choice between berry and peach flavors, which both provide one serving of fruit and one-half serving of fat-free dairy in an eight fluid ounce serving. This can be a real benefit for students that do not typically drink milk while also helping them meet the increased school lunch requirements for fruits and vegetables.
Many families may want to avoid school lunch lines altogether by packing healthy school lunches at home.  If you like the idea of a smoothie for lunch, here are five fantastic fruit smoothies you can make at home and freeze the night before for a perfect lunchtime smoothie as part of a nutrient rich packed lunch.
Simple Smoothie

Breakfast Smoothie

Cocoa Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

Mixed Fruit Smoothie

Quick and Easy Mango Smoothie

What do you think about companies like Dominos and Jamba Juice creating products especially for school lunches?  Do you believe they will help school age children with weight concerns?

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It's just marketing... Report
I don't think the JambaJuice is a bad idea on the whole. Domino's for me would certainly be out, though. Report
I worked in a middle school cafeteria for a few years. We would try to get the kiids eating a good meal that was good for them. As soon as the kids left the serving area they would go over the trays and throw away what they didn't want. Even some of the lunches brought from home were sorted out and just a few items kept the rest pitched. I don't know what the answer is but something sure needs done. Report
My son is a sophmore and he hates school lunches. They are skimmpy and poorly cooked. I believe if we took the government out of the lunch program, we might have better lunches. I remember my school lunches as something that was worthy of the money spent and also filling, even as a teenager. Report
This is ridiculous! These companies are trying to make money and using students and schools is wrong! The new school lunches are a joke! There is not enough food to function. Our churches are providing meals to kids and families in summer and trying to keep food in our food pantries and the government is trying to starve our children! Does this make sense? Keep fast food/chain restaurants busines out of our schools and leave school menus to school dietians. I work for our school district and have seen hungry children. Report
I have been making mostly vegetable shakes with only a little fruit.
Carrots, celery, spinach, kale, zucchini etc plus one fruit and water or juice. plus ice.
I have it for breakfast or it is what I have for dinner. I usually add fat free tofu or yogurt. Report
sugar? so this is a milk product Report
If the sugar content is high, it doesn't matter how many nutrients you pack in it. Report
I'm VERY skeptical. Dominos, JambaJuice, etc., are more concerned with developing market share than they are providing healthy food for kids. It's all about name recognition. If kids are accustomed to thinking that these are 'good for them' they'll eat more indiscriminately at the restaurants/food court stands themselves, and the brand recognition will ensure the continued popularity of the brand, not the healthy choice.

If D's and JJ's were willing to serve their product anonymously--that is, in containers without their logo, I might begin to trust their motives, maybe, in 3 or 4 years. Report
I think it's wonderful that it is even a concern. Bravo for "trying" to make school lunch options healthier. It's a good start. Report
I'm a "retired" school lunch lady and this is what I saw first hand.

Lots of PROCESSED other foods.
We did offer fresh fruits and vegetables, but most of the kids didn't take them.
A couple years ago they took the salt away from the kids. (Can't let them add more salt to their salty processed foods, you know.)
This year they are still using the precooked, processed foods, and pushing even more milk. The sixth graders in our district are being served a full PINT of milk at lunch.

The more I learn about nutrition, the more I provide lunch for my kids. There is no way the new guidelines will help. I believe government has no business in nutrition. They and big business have been lying to us. And I don't believe that fast food has any business in school lunch. It may be healthier, but it's still not healthy. Just take a look at the supposedly healthy menus in the restaurants. Report
Am I missing where this article gives the nutrition facts on this smoothie? I've looked a couple of times and can't find it. How can we decide if it is healthy or not without any actual facts? Report
Is this really a healthy alternative though? Healthier, maybe, but healthy? No. We eat WAY too many carbs in our society, and that is something that we are passing down to our children. Chances are significant that this smoothie has more than the 30-40 grams of carbs (Canadian counts) that are recommended for an adult meal. This might be fine if it were a stand alone, complete lunch item, but with low fat, and likely not stellar amounts of protein, there is no way that this can be substantial enough to give the kids what they need to make it through the rest of the day. It is a step in the right direction, but not enough. Report
Chocolate milk is OUT in our district and I'm happy to see it go. The new guidelines are reducing salt, upping portion sizes of fruits and veggies and making school districts provide healthier food. Now to increase the Phys Ed time... Report
With a new kindergartner this year, we are just beginning to navigate the waters of school foods. I am so worried about being out of control of his foods. His weight is healthy and normal now, but... I doubt he would choose a smoothie, not if chocolate milk was available. But, I think it is a reasonable response to increasing the intake both of dairy and freggies. If it is milk, fruit, and juice? Ok. Add more than that and I'd have questions. Report
What do I think of Jamba Juice & Domino's trying to make the grade? I think they're trying to make $$$. I, too, would encourage people to serve whole milk products and omit the added sugar (yes, that's what fruit juice is). But I love the idea of packing and freezing a smoothie to take to school - thanks for the suggestion. Report
I think home made smoothies are healthy. Ones from a place like Jamba Juice are a treat. Not the same thing as milk. Report
I think smoothies send the wrong message that they are a nutritious eating choice. In reality, most are chock full of sugar and many have fat (I use yogurt in mine). People suck down those calories very quickly and they are quickly absorbed by the body causing a sugar spike and absorbed calories leads to obesity. Kids need to eat whole foods and less processed foods. We all do. A smoothie now and then is fine, but thinking you are enjoying health food is a fallicy. Report
I'm pretty sure it's fat free because everything else you're getting for lunch in grade school has plenty of fat already. Don't worry, if they're eating school lunches, they're definitely not skimping on that. Take it from someone who just graduated and checked lunch nutrition facts often. Report
Yes, why fat free? Wasn't there just a blog about how you actually need a little fat in milk to help absorb the nutrients better? Report
Why Fat Free???? Please! Kids, of all people, need natural fats (not processed, mind you) for a healthy body. Fat is essential for hormones to work properly. Cut out the processed sugar and give them the natural fat. Report
How much added sugar? Report
This is news to me, so I just was searching to find nutritional info on JambaGo. Can't find it anywhere online, not even their site. My kids and I like smoothies, and I even have started including smoothies in my junior higher's lunchbox, but I wouldn't pay for a JambaGo without knowing the nutritional scoop. I like that the smoothies I make him are whole foods and that this is an easy way for me to supplement my son's rapidly growing body. Report
Love the idea of healthy alternatives to the processed stuff. I'm all for this, but like anything else, moderation is the key. Report
I'm not a big fan of prepackaged smoothies, but its a great option for the schools. I know my daughter would choose it over sodas or milk. Report
If kids only have healthy choices in cafeteria lines then they will either eat healthy food, starve, or bring the junk food from home.

I can just hear the whining now, "Mom you gotta pack me a lunch, all they have in school is health food." Report
If a Jamba Juice smoothie had been an option when I was in school (long ago in prehistoric times), I would have chosen it over the corn dog and fries I usually ate. Report
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