What to Eat at Tropical Smoothie Cafe: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Strawberry caesar salad on a white plate

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In This Article

For more than 20 years, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has been a go-to quick-service restaurant for smoothies, salads, and other classic healthy options. What started as a beachfront smoothie hut with a specialty for beverages has grown into more than 700 locations nationwide with healthy menu items for a variety of diets and lifestyles. 

As the franchise grows, so does its menu. Despite what the name suggests, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has more savory food options than it does smoothies. Their staple menu items include more than two dozen smoothies. They also offer flatbreads, wraps, quesadillas, sandwiches, bowls, and more.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe also makes efforts to include two very popular diet types with both vegetarian and gluten-free substitutions. With its Beyond Meat partnership in 2013, the cafe is also vegan-friendly.

When eating out at quick-service restaurants like Tropical Smoothie Cafe, cafe visitors should be cautious of the calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar in some of the menu items. With some careful reading of the menu and optional modifications, almost anyone can enjoy a healthy breakfast or lunch at Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

What Experts Say

“Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers a wide range of healthy food, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. If you order a smoothie, consider it a meal replacement since it can be high in calories and sugar (some over 600 calories). You can also customize your smoothie to be made without sweetener and with healthy ingredients to make it more filling and prevent post-meal crash. Try adding spinach, kale, probiotic, green matcha, multivitamin, or protein powder.” —Barbie Cervoni, RD, CDE 

Navigating the Menu

Though the cafe offers an extensive smoothie menu, Tropical Smoothie Cafe isn’t your average smoothie bar. It makes strong efforts at including balanced meals that are often high in protein and other nutrients. However, there are also some indulgent menu items for when the carbs are calling your name.

For being a quick-service restaurant, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has a long-winded menu with more than 60 total meals and sides to choose from. The cafe breaks its vast food and smoothie menu down into the following main categories:

  • Smoothies
  • Flatbreads
  • Wraps
  • Quesadillas
  • Sandwiches
  • Bowls
  • Breakfast
  • Sides
  • Beverages

In each category, cafe visitors are bound to find a menu item that suits their dietary preferences and taste buds.

Most Nutritious Options

  • Detox Island Green Smoothie

  • Chicken Pesto Flatbread

  • Thai Chicken Wrap

  • Three Cheese Chicken Quesadilla

  • Half Turkey Apple Dijon Sandwich

  • Thai Chicken Bowl

  • All American Breakfast Wrap

  • Fresh Fruit

  • Brewed Unsweetened Tea

Least Nutritious Options

  • Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie

  • Cali Chicken Club Flatbread

  • Hummus Veggie Wrap

  • Sante Fe Chicken Quesadilla

  • Chicken Caprese Bacon Sandwich

  • Supergreen Caesar Chicken Bowl

  • Peanut Butter Banana Crunch Breakfast Flatbread

  • Miss Vickie's Sea Salt & Vinegar Chips

  • Soda

Smoothies

Since their days on the beaches of Florida, Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s smoothie selection has come a long way. What once was a handful of choices has grown into more than two dozen classic and superfood smoothies. Smoothie ingredients vary, but many of their recipes include a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, nut butters, fruit juices, non-fat yogurts, and supplements.

Most Nutritious Option

The Detox Island Green smoothie is a fan favorite, and it’s also the lowest in calories. It contains spinach, kale, mango, pineapple, banana, and ginger. The nutrition facts represent the simple ingredients in this 24-ounce smoothie: 180 calories, 0g fat, 43g carbohydrates, 4g protein, and 35mg sodium. It’s also rich in fiber, yet it’s low in sugar (29g) compared to other menu items.

Least Nutritious Option

With ingredients that resemble those of a shake — peanut butter, banana, and chocolate — the Peanut Butter Cup smoothie should be reserved for special occasions. It’s among the highest-calorie smoothies on the cafe’s menu. Each 24-ounce serving contains 710 calories, 20g fat, 8g saturated fat, 127g carbohydrates, 12g of protein, and 250 mg sodium. It’s also high in sugar with 107g.

Flatbreads

Flatbreads are often marketed as healthier alternatives to pizza. However, Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s flatbreads are closer in appearance and ingredients to toasted sandwiches. Since bread is the main ingredient, the flatbreads tend to be high in carbs and calories. 

Each flatbread is also made with chicken, which increases the sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat content. Fortunately, the chicken can be swapped out for the plant-based alternative, Beyond Meat chicken-free strips.

Most Nutritious Option

The Chicken Pesto Flatbread is the lowest in calories among the selection. It’s also the lowest in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, though it’s not significantly lower in these nutrients. This item contains 430 calories, 16g fat, 5g saturated fat, 43g carbohydrates, 28g protein, and 1,090mg sodium. 

Least Nutritious Option

The Cali Chicken Club Flatbread brings on the meat and dairy. Not only does it contain chicken and bacon, it also has pepper jack cheese and chipotle-flavored mayonnaise. The animal products on this sandwich may explain the nutrition facts: 570 calories, 29g fat, 7g saturated fat, 47g carbohydrates, 30g protein, and 1,520mg sodium.

Wraps

Wraps are an easy way to pack in more veggies while still getting the satisfaction of handheld food. Tropical Smoothie Cafe has a handful of wraps to choose from. They range from 500-740 calories, so choose wisely.

Most Nutritious Option

The Thai Chicken Wrap is the lowest in calories among the wraps, but it’s followed closely by the Buffalo Chicken Wrap. It’s also lower in fat and sodium compared to the other items. Each Thai Chicken Wrap contains 500 calories, 15g fat, 3g saturated fat, 62g carbohydrates, 30g protein, and 1,350mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Like many Tropical Smoothie Cafe menu items, the Hummus Veggie Wrap has pros and cons. For starters, it’s the lowest in cholesterol among the others with just 25mg cholesterol. It’s also the highest in fiber with 11 g per serving yet lowest in carbs. However, it’s the highest in calories. This item contains 740 calories, 38g fat, 8g saturated fat, 83g carbohydrates, 18g protein, and 1,410mg sodium.

Quesadillas

Tropical Smoothie Cafe only has three quesadillas on its menu, so this is a small section with few choices. All three share two main ingredients — chicken and cheese — which explains why the nutrition facts are similar.

Most Nutritious Option

The Three Cheese Chicken Quesadilla contains the least amount of calories and sodium in this category. It has 550 calories, 27g fat, 14g saturated fat, 41g carbohydrates, 33g protein, and 1,880mg sodium per quesadilla.

Least Nutritious Option

The Santa Fe Chicken Quesadilla is among the highest in sodium of the entire menu. It’s also high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Each quesadilla contains 600 calories, 28g fat, 14g saturated fat, 50g carbohydrates, 35g protein, and 2,270mg sodium.

Sandwiches

There are seven different sandwiches on Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s menu. However, four of the sandwiches can be split in half, which reduces calories, carbs, and fat. 
Most Nutritious Option

The Half Turkey Apple Dijon Sandwich comes with turkey, bacon, kale, and apple slaw on 9-grain bread. It contains 320 calories, 16g fat, 5g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrates, 22g protein, and 830mg sodium. 

Least Nutritious Option

The full-size Chicken Caprese Bacon Sandwich is served warm and has simple ingredients. However, it’s not a low-calorie, low-fat, or low-cholesterol option. This sandwich contains 790 calories, 35g fat, 12g saturated fat, 64g carbohydrates, 49g protein, and 1,730mg sodium per serving.

Bowls

Ordering from this section of the menu is a great way to cut down on carbs since there’s no white bread. The bowls that come on a bed of lettuce are also rich in fiber and other nutrients.

Most Nutritious Option

It’s no surprise that the Thai Chicken Bowl is the most nutritious option in this category as it closely resembles a salad. It has mainly whole-food ingredients: chicken, vegetables, herbs, seeds, lettuce, and sauce. This bowl contains just 380 calories, 13g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 40g carbohydrates, 26g protein, and 1,160mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Though the Hummus Veggie Bowl contains the most calories, the Supergreen Caesar Chicken Bowl is the least nutritious option because it’s the highest in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Despite containing ample greens, the Supergreen Caesar Chicken Bowl contains 570 calories, 43g fat, 11g saturated fat, 13g carbohydrates, 33g protein, and 1,140mg sodium.

Breakfast

Tropical Smoothie Cafe has a small breakfast menu since its smoothies are a popular item in the mornings. The breakfast food options include savory wraps and a sweet flatbread.

Most Nutritious Option

The All American Breakfast Wrap has just five ingredients — eggs, ham, bacon, cheddar, and mozzarella — served in a tortilla. Since it consists heavily of animal products, this wrap is high in cholesterol with 145 mg per serving. It also contains 430 calories, 20g fat, 9g saturated fat, 37g carbohydrates, 22g protein, and 1,160mg sodium. 

Least Nutritious Option

Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s sweet breakfast option, the Peanut Butter Banana Crunch Flatbread, is best reserved for special occasions. This is because it contains 590 calories, 24g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 77g carbohydrates, 18g protein, and 730mg sodium. While the ingredients are simple, including peanut butter, banana, granola, and honey, it also contains 22g sugar per serving.

Sides

To go with your main entree, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has a small variety of sides to choose from. They mainly include fresh fruit, kale & apple slaw, and chips.

Most Nutritious Option

Fresh fruit is an easy win for the most nutritious side at Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The options include apples, bananas, and oranges. Choosing an orange will yield the fewest calories, carbs, and grams of sugar. One orange contains 60 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrates, 1g protein, and 0mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Of the six varieties of chips to choose from, Miss Vickie’s Sea Salt & Vinegar Chips contain the most calories and sodium. Each bag contains 200 calories, 11g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 23g carbohydrates, 3g protein, and 230mg sodium. If you’re craving chips but want a lower-calorie option, go for the Oven Baked Original Lay’s, which only have 110 calories per bag.

Beverages

Like most quick-service restaurants, the cafe has a variety of bottled and fountain drinks to choose from. If water doesn’t sound appetizing, try one of the iced teas rather than going for carbonated soda pops.

Most Nutritious Option

Water is always the most nutritious drink option because it’s vital for human health and hydration. However, the runner-up is unsweetened iced tea, which is naturally calorie-free, fat-free, sugar-free, and low in carbs. 

Least Nutritious Option

Fountain drinks are typically high in calories and sugar. Plus, they’re associated with health risks. Tropical Smoothie Cafe has several soda options like Coke and Sprite as well as sweetened lemonade. Reserve these for special occasions.

Diet-Specific Options

Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers choices for gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets, but could improve its low-carb, low-FODMAP, low-fat, and diabetes-friendly menu items.

Gluten-free

The cafe has several menu items that are labeled gluten-free without any modifications. These options include:

  • Hummus Veggie Bowl
  • Many smoothies
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Kale & Apple Slaw
  • Brewed Sweetened Tea

Low-carb

Depending on which low-carb diet interests you, the following cafe menu items are the lowest in carbs:

  • Kale & Apple Slaw
  • Supergreen Caesar Chicken Bowl
  • Buffalo Chicken Bowl
  • Brewed Unsweetened Tea

Low-FODMAP

The low-FODMAP diet recommends consuming low amounts of fruit. At Tropical Smoothie Cafe, fruit-based menu items like smoothies are the only FODMAP-friendly options:

  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Blueberry Bliss Smoothie
  • Jetty Punch Smoothie
  • Paradise Point Smoothie

Diabetes-friendly

People with diabetes may follow a strict diet with certain restrictions, such as low-sugar, low-sodium, or low-carb. Depending on which diabetes-friendly diet you may follow, the following items may require some modifications:

  • Avocolada Smoothie
  • Chia Banana Boost Smoothie
  • Thai Chicken Bowl
  • Hummus Veggie Wrap
  • Hummus Veggie Bowl

Low-fat

For a zero-fat option, opt for a smoothie. Many of the menu items contain several animal products, so they’re naturally high in total and saturated fat. Swap in Beyond Meat where possible to decrease the fat. Some low-fat options include:

  • Caribbean Jerk Chicken Bowl
  • Half Turkey Bacon Ranch Sandwich
  • Island Green Smoothie
  • Kiwi Quencher Smoothie
  • Sunshine Smoothie

Low-sodium

Being a quick-service restaurant with many processed food options, low-sodium can be hard to find on the Tropical Smoothie Cafe menu. Even the most nutritious options contain high amounts of sodium. If low-sodium is important to you, take a closer look at the sides and smoothies:

  • Fresh Fruit
  • Kale & Apple Slaw
  • Paradise Point Smoothie
  • Strawberry Limeade Smoothie
  • Pomegranate Plunge Smoothie

Vegetarian and Vegan

Since its partnership with Beyond Meat, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is known for its vegan- and vegetarian-friendly food options. Simply swap in Beyond Meat in any entree containing chicken. Plus, the majority of smoothies can be made vegan by omitting yogurt and whey protein. Some plant-based menu items include:

  • Smoothies
  • All chicken entrees made with Beyond Meat chicken-free strips
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Kale & Apple Slaw

Food Allergies and Safety

Tropical Smoothie Cafe has made efforts to incorporate gluten-free and vegetarian options on its menu. Many are even labeled as such.

However, there is room for improvement for customers with allergies to dairy, eggs, and nuts. People with allergies to soy and fish should also be able to find a safe option on the cafe’s menu. Some modifications may be required.

In severe cases, people with food allergies should be cautious of cross-contamination where food may be prepared on shared equipment.

A Word From Verywell

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a quickly growing quick-service restaurant that many people enjoy. Their wide selection of fruit and vegetable smoothies with optional supplements appeal to almost everyone, even those with food allergies, special diets, and dietary restrictions. Their menu goes beyond smoothies with savory foods that are delicious and can be worked into many different lifestyles.

Since it’s a health-conscious establishment, many of the menu items at Tropical Smoothie Cafe can be adjusted to your dietary preferences and food allergies. However, even the seemingly healthy options at the cafe are high in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Smoothies remain some of the healthiest options at Tropical Smoothie Cafe because they contain the simplest ingredients that are the closest to whole foods. While a green smoothie may be the cafe’s healthiest option, you shouldn’t feel restricted to splurge on a sandwich or quesadilla if that’s what you truly enjoy.

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