How to Make a Healthy Parfait

It’s National Parfait Day!  I don’t know about you, but I LOVE fruit and yogurt parfaits.  They’re quick and easy, versatile, and, most importantly, delicious!  But are they healthy?  Here are a few things to keep in mind when building your perfect parfait:

Type of Yogurt
With dozens of different yogurts to choose from – where do you begin?  Lately, yogurt seems to have been branded as a “health” food, but look at the Nutrition Facts Panel and you’ll find that many yogurts have just as much sugar as ice cream!  My suggestion?  Choose a low-sugar or a plain yogurt.  Now, I know what you’re thinking…plain yogurt just isn’t sweet enough!  I agree.  If you want something a little sweeter, add some sweetener yourself.  Adding a little agave nectar, maple syrup, honey, or even plain white sugar can give you the sweetness you’re looking for – without going overboard.  In most cases, you’ll never end up adding as much sugar to your yogurt yourself as you’ll find in commercially sweetened/flavored yogurts.  You also might find that after adding some fruit and granola the plain yogurt tastes sweet enough anyway.

You’ve got options with protein content too.  Regular, Greek, French, Icelandic, the list goes on and on…  Which one is the best option for you?  That’s going to depend on your individual protein goals and the other foods you consume throughout the day.  If you’re making a yogurt parfait for breakfast and yogurt ends up being your main source of protein choosing a higher protein yogurt, like Greek or Icelandic, may be a better option for you.  If yogurt is a side dish along with your scrambled eggs and bacon, on the other hand, you could stick with regular yogurt.  Ultimately, it all depends on your individual goals and taste preferences.

Variety is key here–and the possibilities are endless!  From berries to bananas you can create limitless fruit combinations.  You can even choose between fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit options.  If you’re buying canned, frozen, or dried make sure to choose the low-sugar or no sugar added options.   

Buyer beware!  Granola has also been branded as a “health” food, but take one look at the Nutrition Facts Panel and the sugar content will surprise you!  A good rule of thumb is to choose a granola with less than 10g of sugar per serving (or as low as you can find).  Granola is also relatively easy to make yourself and that way you get to customize it however you want–win, win!    

Once you’ve got your ingredients together simply layer the fruit and yogurt, sprinkle some granola on top and you’ve got a healthy parfait!  What’s your favorite combination?

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