Thursday, June 14, 2012

Yogurt Parfaits



The belief that all yogurt parfaits are healthy is one of the largest nutrition misconceptions.  In fact yogurt parfaits are on the top of the deceptively high calorie foods list.  In many instances I have picked up yogurt parfaits that are 500 calories or greater.  The calorie content of the parfait depends on your portion size in addition to the granola, yogurt, and fruit used.


How can a parfait be calorie dense when healthy ingredients are used?
Although yogurt is an excellent source of both calcium and protein, when a non fat-free version is chosen it is no longer a low calorie food.  Let's talk about the granola - we know that granola is a great source of fiber, however due to the high calorie content granola should be eaten in moderation.  Did I mention the sugar content in most parfaits?  On average most parfaits exceed 30 grams of sugar per serving.  In a previous post "Is Sugar Toxic?" we discussed the recommended intake of sugar per day.  Let's just say that 30 grams nearly meets the recommended intake for the entire day.


So how can I make a healthier parfait?
  1. Limit the amount of granola used to 1/4 - 1/2 cup depending on sugar and the fat in brand purchased.  I like to mix plain oatmeal (sometimes toasted) in the granola to lower the sugar content, while still adding fiber content.
  2. Use a fat free plain or light yogurt.  Limit portions to under 1 cup per serving.
  3. Use your favorite fresh fruit.  Avoid using canned fruit if possible as they can have high sugar content and lack fiber.
Bottom Line: Fruit parfaits created following the guidelines above can be a part of a healthy diet.  When you are "out and about" it is a better idea to skip the packaged or pre-made fruit parfait.

Recipe for a healthier fruit parfait:
Ingredients
3/4 cup of fat-free plain or light yogurt
1/4 cup plain oatmeal (uncooked or toasted*)
1/4 cup low-fat granola
1/2 cup fresh fruit (I love strawberries)


*To toast oatmeal bake in oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until browned

Directions: 
1.  Mix oatmeal and granola together.
2.  In a small cup or bowl layer granola, yogurt, and fruit.  I usually but granola on bottom, topped with yogurt, topped with fruit and granola, another layer of yogurt, and finally top with fruit.
Note: Parfaits can be prepared in advance.  I prefer to prepare my parfait at night and then consume the following the morning.


Nutrition:
Servings: 1 • Calories: 257 kcal • Protein: 11.1 g • Sodium: 164.9 mg • Carbs: 44.6 g • Fat: 4.7g • Fiber: 5.0 g • Sugar: 20.5 g


Enjoy!
360FN




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