This Healthy Orange Julius Recipe 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!
A Healthier Version of the Popular Orange Julius
As a kid, we didn’t go to malls or eat out 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.
What You’ll Need
My Healthy Orange Julius Smoothie is made with real fruit, and contains no added sugars. The 20 grams of sugar 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.
- Whole Oranges (no juice!)
- Banana (peel, quarter and freeze ahead of time for a cold, thick smoothie!)
- Vanilla Extract
- Protein Powder (I use whey isolate, but use any good tasting protein powder you enjoy)
- Coconut Milk (lends a creamy sweet taste, but can use almond milk as a sub)
Just 5 healthy ingredients!
Are Oranges Good in Smoothies?
I didn’t start using whole oranges in smoothies until I got a Vitamix. That machine will blend 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 in smoothies. Although oranges are often overlooked at smoothie bars, they shouldn’t be!
Also try this delicious Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie, made with mandarin oranges and spinach for more added nutrition!
How to Make Orange Julius at Home?
An Orange Julius is a frothy vanilla-orange smoothie. When I was a kid, my mom would make them for us at home using concentrated orange juice blended with ice and vanilla. Here treat is where I came up with 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
Step 1: Add peeled oranges, frozen bananas, almond or coconut milk, ice, and vanilla to a blender. Add whey protein if using (I highly recommend this!).
Step 2: Process the smoothie until it’s light and frothy.
Step 3: Serve the smoothie right away so that it stays icy cold!
Step 4: If desired, garnish the smoothie is orange zest and whipped cream, if desired. You can keep this orange smoothie vegan by using a vegan protein powder and coconut whipped cream.
The Perfect Orange Smoothie Recipe
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.
Add Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt adds probiotics and some additional protein! Add 1/4 cup and blend until smooth with the rest of the ingredients.
Other Healthy Orange Smoothie Recipes:
- Orange Dreamcicle Green Smoothie, by Sunkissed Kitchen
- Golden Turmeric Smoothie, by Sunkissed Kitchen
- Strawberry Banana Orange Julius, by Sunkissed Kitchen
Healthy Orange Julius Smoothie
- 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.