This Healthy Orange Julius Smoothie is a flashback to childhood! They were my favorite treat when visiting malls. This fresh orange smoothie is a much healthier version, as shown in the nutritional stats comparison below!
*This post was originally published in April of 2015, but has been updated with new photos, and a recipe with the amount doubled. It continues to be a popular recipe on Vitamin Sunshine, and a favorite treat in our house!
As a kid, we didn’t go to malls or out to eat often. When we did, my mom was pretty lax about the choices we made. She turned a blind eye when I would fill my plate with an egg-bacon-cheese “salad” and chocolate mousse at buffet restaurants, and order deep fried chimichangas at Mexican restaurants.
A stop at Orange Julius when we were in malls was mandatory! Creamy, delicious, and — made of oranges? A pretty good “treat”, right?
Here’s the ingredient list of a classic Orange Julius:
I’m not quite sure what sodium carboxymethylcellulose or Maltodextrin is, but I am pretty sure I will NOT be feeding it to my son. I do see dextrose, sugar, and corn syrup solids — 3 different forms of sugar. (Lots of these ingredients are on my Food Additive Nix List (free printable available)- a great resource for navigating nutrition labels!).
I was surprised to see actual concentrated orange juice on the list, especially considering the nutritional stats.
Nutritional Stats of a classic Orange Julius vs. a Homemade Orange Smoothie:
The mall drink is packed with more sugar than a can of soda, and besides having vitamin C from the orange juice it contains, it’s devoid of nutrients. It’s a sugar bomb with no protein and no fiber.
My Healthy Orange Julius Smoothie is made with real fruit, and contains no added sugars — the 20 grams it contains come straight from the oranges and banana. Because it’s made with whole ingredients, it also has a nice dose of fiber, Vitamin A, calcium and iron.
Are Oranges Good in Smoothies?
I didn’t start using whole oranges in smoothies until I got a Vitamix. That thing will blend just about anything into a smooth texture. Since I use the oranges fresh and not frozen in this smoothie, it will also work in a regular blender.
Fresh oranges add a ton of sweetness and a tart flavor that I love to smoothies – so although this fruit is often overlooked at smoothie bars, it shouldn’t be!
How do you Make an Orange Julius at Home?
An Orange Julius is just a frothy vanilla-orange smoothie. When I was a kid, my mom would make them for us at home by using concentrated orange juice, and blending it with ice and vanilla. That’s where I got the idea for this easy Orange Julius recipe.
The one from the mall is light and creamy, so I like to add either almond milk or coconut milk. I also find that using whey protein isolate, in addition to giving it a protein kick to make it more satiating, gives it that frothy and light texture.
How to Make a Healthy Orange Julius Smoothie:
Make it Vegan: Sub your favorite vegan protein, or omit the protein power.
Make it Your Own: Turn this healthy Orange Julius Smoothie into a healthy Strawberry Orange Julius by adding a couple of strawberries. Add spinach for an extra nutrient boost. I also like making this with grapefruits for an extra tart but still creamy and delicious treat.
Healthy Orange Julius Smoothie
Replace the classic mall drink with a healthier orange smoothie made with whole fruit. This version is naturally sweetened with fruit and makes a healthy and refreshing snack!
- 2 oranges peeled
- 1 banana large, peeled, quartered & frozen
- 1/4-1/2 cup almond milk or sub coconut milk
- 15 large ice cubes
- 20 grams whey protein isolate optional*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
For a thick smoothie, be sure your banana is completely frozen prior to making a smoothie. I also only use 1/4 cup of liquid to keep things on the thicker side.
Add peeled oranges, frozen banana, ice cubes, your choice of milk (can sub orange juice for a sweeter smoothie), optional protein powder, and vanilla to a blender. This works best in a high speed blender, but can be made in a good quality standard blender.
Blend until the oranges are completely smoothie and the smoothie is thick and creamy. Top with a dollop of yogurt or coconut cream, if desired.
*Use almond milk for the lowest calorie/sugar smoothie. Use orange juice if you'd prefer a sweeter smoothie. I often use coconut milk to add a bit of extra creaminess and richness to the smoothie.
*Whey protein is optional, but I recommend it for the best texture. The whey protein isolate I've linked to in the recipe is unsweetened, but has a natural vanilla flavor added that also adds an extra boost of vanilla flavor.
Other Healthy Orange Smoothie Recipes:
- Immunity Boosting Orange Smoothie, by Kristine’s Kitchen Blog
- Strawberry Orange Sunrise Smoothie, by Garnish and Glaze
- Orange Dreamcicle Green Smoothie, by Vitamin Sunshine