Watching out for ‘smoothie’ criminals

Don’t let the word “fruit” fool you. Some smoothies pack more than just vitamins, and there are plenty of places to find them on Main Campus.

Don’t let the word “fruit” fool you. Some smoothies pack more than just vitamins, and there are plenty of places to find them on Main Campus.

For those students with a penchant for grabbing meals on the fly, fruit smoothies are a great way to satisfy hunger pains and boost energy without resorting to an expensive latte.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adamantly suggest eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day to maintain good health. But if eating five oranges a day doesn’t sound appealing, there are other ways to figure in the fructose.

COLIN KERRIGAN TTN Fruit trucks like this one located on Main Campus may offer fresher and healthier smoothie options than those at Dunkin’ Donuts and Einstein Bros. Bagels.

When choosing a fruit smoothie – and there are plenty of places to grab one on and off campus – the most important decision is choosing a nutrient-rich drink. A fruit smoothie should foremost contain adequate amounts of fruit. And the fresher, the better.

It’s OK to enjoy one of those monster-ccino drinks with whipped cream and syrup on top once in a while, but these calorie vampires shouldn’t be a regular routine.

To make things less complicated, here’s a guide to some of the best blended drinks on Main Campus.

At the intersection of Broad Street and Montgomery Avenue is the former Take 5 lunch truck, now known as TJ’s Corner. Owner Kevin Doan recently introduced smoothies to his menu about two months ago. Doan, who used to sell smoothies in New York City, is happy to transplant the craze to Philadelphia.

“They sell very well, about 50 per day,” he said. “Of course, back in New York, I would sell 300 a day.”

Doan said his truck prides itself on providing healthy drinks to its customers.

“We do not put any added sugar or artificial flavoring into the smoothies, just fruit and ice. I tried a smoothie from another truck in the past and knew there had to be something added to it like syrup,” he said.

To make a smoothie, for instance the popular strawberry-banana, Doan blends four or five regular-sized strawberries and one banana with 1/2 cup of crushed ice. The simplicity is key here, as the fruit is fresh and sweet enough to not require any added ingredients.

If a student has a request, however, Doan will happily oblige to add it into the blender. Some choices include bee pollen, ginseng, Vitamin C or creatine. For example, students interested in weight lifting may opt for 33 grams of whey protein added to any smoothie.

In addition to smoothies, students can try fresh vegetable or fruit juice (a small is $4, and a large is $5).
Though TJ’s Corner is a popular spot, Nancy’s Fruit Salad Truck is a few trucks away, at the intersection of Beasley Walk and Montgomery Avenue.

Here, a 16-ounce strawberry-banana smoothie will cost just $3. The smoothie is made with about six fresh strawberries and one banana, blended with ice. A flavor syrup is also added. The strawberry flavor syrup contains 80 calories per ounce, with 19 grams of sugar. Only one pump is added to the smoothie, and Nancy says customers can opt out of it upon request.

The number of food trucks on campus provides students with ample decisions for a smoothie, but for freshmen and others who are shackled to a meal-plan, healthy smoothies are not in the mix.

At Einstein Bros. Bagels in the Student Center’s food court, a concoction called the Strawberry Bros. Blender is served. The nutritional information on Einstein Bros’ Web site shows the 18 ounce drink has 450 calories and 64 grams of sugar. That’s more sugar than there is in two and half Hershey’s chocolate bars.

The blender is made with a strawberry mix, ice, dairy product and whipped cream on top, which, according to the Web site, contains 35 calories per two tablespoons.

Another major purveyor of refreshments near Main Campus fairs no better.

The Dunkin Donuts on Cecil B. Moore Avenue serves smoothie-esque Fruit Coolattas. A small 16-ounce Strawberry Coolatta costs $2.99, packing 300 calories and 65 grams of sugar. The coolatta is made with a refrigerated fruit concentrate that is then blended with a slushy concentrate mix.

In other words, “You ’Kin Do It,” but just do it in moderation.

Other locations on campus serve up smoothies, and this is only a primer to the varieties of popular drinks out there. Though a piece of sliced fruit is healthiest to the naked-eye, enjoying a fruit smoothie can be just as rewarding.

Mark Newman can be reached at

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