A yogurt parfait is one of the healthiest desserts you can concoct at home, and with very little effort. It requires no cooking skills and no prior culinary experience as well. Anyone can assemble a yogurt parfait and produce great results, as long as the ingredients are just right. A yogurt parfait has four essential ingredients, which are all healthy: a mix of berries, yogurt, honey, and granola.
Healthy Ingredients for Yogurt Parfait
You can make natural granola at home with some oats, seeds (pumpkin seeds and pecans), coconut oil/EVOO, and real maple syrup. For more layers of flavor, add some dried fruit like cranberries, raisins, cherries, and apricots. Some citrus zest (one or two teaspoons will add some freshness to the mix). This homemade granola mix is ideal because it contains protein, complex carbohydrates, monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other nutrients for optimal health.
All kinds of berries are good for the body – they consider superfoods, and they provide a nearly endless stream of flavonoids and phytonutrients. Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals abound in blueberries, blackberries, and other berries used in parfaits and cereals. It’s just a good deal to have a serving of berries each time you have a dessert. It’s literally like taking a multivitamin pill.
Yogurt has been on people’s dining tables for centuries. A single serving of yogurt provides 49% of a person’s calcium requirement. It is also naturally rich in vitamin B, especially riboflavin and vitamin B12. These B-vitamins are known for being heart-protective, and they also help protect the unborn from neural tube defects. Since yogurt is a dairy product, it is also naturally rich in macronutrients – particularly fats and protein. If consumed in the right proportions and the right serving sizes, yogurt will not make you fat, nor will it contribute to someone’s weight gain any time soon. It is too packed with good things to be ever considered junk food. And finally, let’s not forget that yogurt is one of the easiest sources of probiotics. Probiotics are essentially good bacteria that support great digestive health.
Honey is superior to sugar because it is unprocessed, and it’s good for the body. It contains some trace amounts of nutrients (under one percent RDA), but it contains no fat, so it’s best for those who require a low-fat diet. There are different kinds of natural sugars in it, too, including sucrose and fructose.
Ingredients to Avoid When Making Healthy Yogurt Parfait
Yogurt parfaits can be prepared in various ways, and the list of ingredients that you can use in the recipes is nearly unlimited. Yogurt is essentially a blank canvas, so ‘anything goes’ applies when you are feeling experimental. However, there are some ingredients that you should avoid if you want to make your parfait healthy.
While we all love a drizzle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup on our pancakes and almost any dessert on the planet, the fact of the matter is that the composition of chocolate syrup barely fits ‘healthy’ in any form.
Whatever benefits there are to be had with consuming chocolate syrup’s chocolate content are outweighed by the disadvantages of having so much sugar per serving. Several years ago, the FDA wrote to Hershey’s to warn them about their claim that chocolate syrup is healthy because it isn’t – even if you have replaced cane sugar or HFCS with sugar-free sweeteners.
Hershey’s was warned to remove the terms “fortified” and “plus” as the terms were misleading and make consumers think that they’re buying something that was 100% good for their health.
Plus, it was largely misleading labeling, to begin with. So our advice would be – if you like a little chocolate on your parfait, go for 70% dark chocolate instead. Add the crumbled chocolate to the parfait. Skip the chocolate syrup completely.
It’s a given that desserts need to be sweet but not so sweet – and the sugar well goes on and on if you routinely add table sugar to what you are preparing. If given a chance, always use raw honey to sweeten your desserts at home. If this isn’t available, go for brown sugar because it has more nutrients.
And if all is absent, that’s the only time you should pick up a spoon to use white sugar. Consuming too much sugar has been linked to so many conditions that it’s barely wise to continue eating it daily.
For one, sugar causes your blood sugar level to spike suddenly and then drop. Simple sugars are metabolized fairly quickly by the body, and this causes you to feel hungry afterward. You will keep going for sugar because it is addictive, and you will no longer notice how many calories you have been consuming via this route.
This is one of the biggest issues with drinking soda, too. When you drink calories, you get a momentary buzz from the sugar content, and then when it disappears, you end up wanting more sugar to replace what has already been metabolized. In the end, you consume hundreds of more calories from sugar, and you don’t feel a difference.
Some people like putting ice cream on everything. This is the case with some homemade yogurt parfait recipes – it’s so easy to plop a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream on top to sweeten the deal. However, if you are like us, you are probably in the market because you want to try out desserts that provide lower calories. Lowering calories won’t be easy if you keep adding ice cream to most desserts. Due to ice cream composition, expect a much higher fat content that you would like, and some added sugar, too. We already know why extra sugar in anyone’s diet is bad news – so hold off on the ice cream for now.
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