Are strawberry banana smoothies from mcdonalds healthy?

Quick Answer

Strawberry banana smoothies from McDonald’s can be a healthy option in moderation. A small smoothie provides a serving of fruit, calcium, vitamin C and potassium. However, they are high in calories and added sugars, so drinking them frequently or in large sizes may lead to weight gain or other health issues. Enjoying a small smoothie occasionally can fit into a balanced diet.

Nutrition Info

Here is the nutrition information for a small McDonald’s Strawberry Banana Smoothie (12 oz):

Calories 210
Total Fat 1g
Sodium 50mg
Total Carbohydrate 51g
Sugars 44g
Protein 3g

The smoothie provides 100% of the daily value for vitamin C and 10% for calcium. It also contains carotenoids like beta-carotene from the strawberries and bananas. However, over half the calories come from added sugars.

Calories and Added Sugars

At 210 calories, a small smoothie is a significant source of calories, especially if consumed frequently or in larger sizes. The standard smoothie size at McDonald’s is medium (16 oz) which contains 280 calories. The large size (32 oz) has a whopping 560 calories.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 25 grams (100 calories) per day for women and 36 grams (150 calories) for men. The small smoothie already exceeds these limits. Consuming added sugars at high levels can lead to weight gain and increase risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other health problems.

Beneficial Nutrients

On the positive side, strawberry banana smoothies provide a full day’s worth of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports immune function and tissue repair. The smoothies also contain 10% of the calcium requirement, which benefits bone health.

The strawberries supply anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation. Bananas contribute potassium, which regulates fluid balance and blood pressure.

Overall, the smoothies provide beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from fruit. But the high sugar content is a drawback.


Here are the ingredients in a McDonald’s Strawberry Banana Smoothie:

– Lowfat Yogurt: Yogurt provides protein, calcium, potassium and probiotics. Choosing lowfat yogurt reduces saturated fat.

– Strawberry Puree: Pureed strawberries offer fiber, vitamin C, anthocyanins and carotenoids.

– Banana Puree: Banana puree increases the creaminess and contributes potassium and other nutrients.

– Nonfat Dry Milk: Added milk provides calcium, vitamin D and protein. Using nonfat milk reduces fat.

– Natural (Nontropical) Fruit Flavors: Fruity flavorings enhance the taste.

– Guar Gum: This thickening agent helps create the smooth, creamy texture.

– Cellulose Gel or Cellulose Gum: Another thickener that contributes to texture.

– Citric Acid: Citric acid adds tartness and helps preserve the smoothie.

– The smoothies are also sweetened with added sugars like fructose or liquid sugar.

The ingredient list is relatively simple. But the high sugar content compared to fresh fruit is concerning.

Healthier Alternatives

There are ways to make McDonald’s smoothies healthier:

– Order smallest size available (12 oz).

– Request no added sugars. McDonald’s can make smoothies without liquid sugar on request. This cuts the calories and sugar substantially.

– Substitute milk for yogurt to increase protein and reduce carbs if not lactose intolerant.

– Add spinach for extra nutrients. McDonald’s can include leafy greens upon request.

– Boost fiber with chia seeds, flaxseeds or hemp hearts.

– Avoid sugary toppings like whipped cream.

Making smoothies at home gives you full control over ingredients. Blend fresh or frozen fruit with yogurt or milk for a nutrient-packed meal or snack. Include healthy fats, protein, greens and superfoods while avoiding added sugars. Homemade smoothies are cheaper too.

Weight Loss Smoothies

Can strawberry banana smoothies help you lose weight? Smoothies can help with weight loss if kept low in calories, sugars and fat. Loading up on fruits and vegetables increases beneficial nutrients that may facilitate fat loss.

Here are some tips for making smoothies for weight loss:

Protein-rich Ingredients

Protein increases satiety, sustains energy and preserves muscle mass during weight loss. Good protein sources include:

– Greek yogurt
– Cottage cheese
– Milk
– Plant-based milk
– Protein powder
– Chia seeds
– Hemp hearts

Healthy Fats

Fats help you feel full and provide essential fatty acids. Choose unsaturated fats like:

– Avocado
– Nut butter
– Coconut
– Flaxseed
– Chia seeds

Greens and Vegetables

Greens are very low in calories but high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Veggies add bulk and nutrients. Options include:

– Spinach
– Kale
– Mixed greens
– Cucumber
– Zucchini
– Carrots

Fresh or Frozen Fruit

Fruit provides fiber, antioxidants and natural sweetness. Berries, peach, mango, pineapple and banana work well. Go for frozen to save money.

Ice and Liquid

Use liquid to achieve desired consistency. Good options are:

– Water
– Unsweetened almond milk
– Coconut water
– Green tea
– Fresh lemon juice

Avoid caloric beverages like fruit juice, soda, sweet tea and sports drinks.

Natural Flavor Boosts

For flavor, try:

– Fresh herbs
– Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
– Vanilla extract
– Cocoa powder
– Citrus zest

Avoid artificial sweeteners and limit added sugars. Stevia, monk fruit or small amounts of honey, maple syrup work for sweetening.

Are McDonald’s Smoothies Suitable for Diabetics?

People with diabetes need to carefully monitor carbohydrate intake. Each McDonald’s smoothie contains 51g total carbs, including 44g sugars. That’s a significant amount of carbs in one drink.

Here’s how the smoothies may impact blood sugar levels for diabetics:

Blood Sugar Spike

The high glycemic load of the smoothies can quickly raise blood sugar after drinking. All those liquefied fruit sugars enter the bloodstream rapidly.

Carb Overload

The 51g carbs in a small smoothie already provide 17% of a day’s carb needs. Consuming high-carb beverages makes it harder to stay within carb limits.

Added Sugars

The American Diabetes Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 25g/day for women and 36g/day for men. McDonald’s smoothies far exceed these guidelines.

Lack of Fat, Fiber and Protein

Smoothies provide carbohydrates without much fat, fiber or protein. This combination can spike blood sugar severely. A balanced meal with protein, fat and fiber blunts the glycemic response.

Rapid Drinking

Drinking smoothies quickly floods your system with sugar. Sipping slowly or using a straw can possibly help curb spikes. But gulping down smoothies generally overwhelms blood sugar regulation.

What Diabetics Should Do

To manage blood sugar, diabetics should:

– Avoid drinking smoothies or consume only occasionally as treats.

– Stick to smallest size smoothie possible (12 oz).

– Request no added sugar and add lower glycemic ingredients like nut butter, chia seeds or protein powder.

– Consume with a meal or snack high in protein, fat and fiber.

– Check blood glucose before and 2 hours after drinking to see individual impacts.

– Consume slowly through a straw.

Making smoothies at home allows better control over carbohydrate content and ingredients. Diabetics should count smoothie carbs as part of daily meal planning.

Do McDonald’s Smoothies Have Artificial Ingredients?

McDonald’s smoothies are made with relatively recognizable ingredients like fruit, yogurt and milk. However, they do contain some artificial additives:

Natural Flavors

The “natural flavors” listed on the ingredients panel may contain artificial compounds. Food manufacturers are allowed to classify flavorings as “natural” even if they are chemically produced in labs.

Artificial Coloring

Different colored smoothies like strawberry banana contain artificial coloring derived from petroleum to make them more vibrant. McDonald’s used to use Red #40 but seems to have replaced it with other artificial dyes like Blue #1 or Yellow #6.

Cellulose Gum

Cellulose gum is used as a thickener and stabilizer. It is extracted from wood pulp using chemical solvents in a highly processed manner. Some question whether it deserves to be classified as natural.

Caramel Coloring

Caramel coloring, made by heating sugars, contains potential carcinogens according to studies. It shows up in chocolatey smoothies like the McCafe Mocha.

Natural vs Artificial

No smoothie from McDonald’s is 100% artificial. They do contain nutritious ingredients like yogurt, fruit and milk. However, artificial sugars, coloring and chemical flavorings are added during processing. Companies can creatively market these artificial additives as “natural” on the label. But consuming whole foods makes it easier to avoid artificial ingredients. Overall, the smoothies cannot be considered completely natural products, despite marketing efforts.

Are Smoothies Really Healthy?

Are smoothies health foods? Or are they glorified sugary drinks masquerading as healthy? A closer look at the pros and cons:


– Provide servings of fruit and vegetables

– Offer important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

– Can add protein from dairy, powders or plant sources

– Provide fiber, especially from whole fruits with pulp

– Are portable for on-the-go nutrition

– Make fruits and veggies approachable for picky eaters

– Offer versatility with diverse ingredients


– Often high in natural and added sugars. Too much sugar promotes obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

– Lack fat and protein compared to whole produce which blunts blood sugar spikes

– Fiber content lower than whole fruit and vegetables

– Drinking calories doesn’t satisfy hunger as well as eating produce. People tend to consume more calories.

– Artificial ingredients like coloring and chemical flavorings are common

– Fast drinking floods bloodstream rapidly with sugar compared to slowly chewing whole foods

– Expensive and environmentally questionable compared to just eating produce

– Not actually better than eating whole fruits and vegetables

Tips for Healthier Smoothies

To maximize nutrition, make sure your smoothies:

– Use whole ingredients like raw oats and Greek yogurt rather than juice

– Include protein powder or nut butter

– Add greens like spinach or kale

– Include chia, flax or hemp for fiber and healthy fats

– Use mainly frozen or fresh fruit instead of sugary juice blends

– Sweeten naturally with banana, dates or small amounts of honey or maple syrup

– Avoid artificial ingredients like coloring and chemical flavorings

– Drink slowly through a straw rather than gulping rapidly

Ultimately smoothies are no substitute for eating whole fruits and veggies with fiber. But they can provide a nutrient boost if carefully balanced. Homemade smoothies give you control over ingredients and sweetness.


McDonald’s strawberry banana smoothies provide important vitamins and minerals. But their high sugar content from both naturally occurring and added sugars makes them hard to justify as a regular dietary choice. Diabetics and those limiting carbs or sugars need to be particularly cautious.

Enjoying the smoothies only occasionally in the 12-ounce size can fit into an overall healthy diet. Making smoothies at home allows better control over ingredients. Blend whole fruits and vegetables along with healthy fats, proteins and fiber for satisfying nutrient-dense smoothies. With mindful ingredient choices, smoothies can provide wholesome nutrition in a convenient format.

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