Are Yogurt Parfaits Healthy?
A yogurt parfait is served in a tall glass with layers of several different ingredients. Yogurt is the star of the recipe, but many add-ins, such as fruit or granola, also make an appearance. If you enjoy yogurt parfaits, you may be wondering if your choice is a healthy one or not. That depends on the ingredients you select. Paying attention to what you put in your yogurt parfait will allow you to create a nutritious snack or dessert that supplies many key nutrients.
A carton of low-fat yogurt is a nutritious snack that provides several nutrients, including calcium and protein. An 8-ounce serving of yogurt supplies 448 milligrams of calcium and about 13 grams of protein. Choosing a low-fat variety of yogurt also ensures that your snack or dessert does not contain too much fat to be considered nutritious. Low-fat yogurt has about 4 grams of fat in an 8-ounce serving. Plain yogurt is a healthier choice than flavored yogurts because it is often much lower in sugar, about 17 grams compared to 34 grams in many flavored choices. Low-fat plain yogurt is your healthiest choice for making a parfait.
Many recipes for yogurt parfaits include some type of fruit. Adding fruit to your yogurt parfait will increase your intake of important nutrients like potassium and vitamin C. Fresh fruit often works best because it does not contain as much juice as frozen and canned varieties, and is often lower in sugar. Blueberries, sliced strawberries or chopped bananas are nutritious additions to your parfait. Chopped kiwi, sliced apples and orange or grapefruit segments are additional options that supply many different vitamins and minerals.
Granola is one of the most common additions to a yogurt parfait. A healthy granola choice is one loaded with fiber, but low in fat and sugar. Read the ingredient list and nutrition information to find one that contains fiber, vitamins and minerals, and is low in added sugar and fat. Ground flaxseed or oats are other high-fiber additions that increase the nutritional value of your parfait. Dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries, can also enhance the taste and nutrition of your yogurt snack or dessert.
There are many unhealthy ingredients that are often added to a yogurt parfait, but decrease how nutritious this snack or dessert can be. Chocolate chips add several grams of saturated fat and sugar, as do most types of candy. Crushed cookies are another common add-in that increase the fat and sugar content of your parfait. Other add-ins to avoid include candy sprinkles and chocolate syrup because they take away from the healthfulness of your parfait.
- "Cooking for a Crowd"; Susan Wyler; 2005
- USDA Nutrient Database: Yogurt, Plain, Low-Fat, 12 Grams Protein Per 8 Ounce
- USDA Nutrient Database: Yogurt, Vanilla, Low-Fat, 11 g Protein Per 8 Ounce
- delicious mix made of berry fruits, yogurt image by mashe from Fotolia.com