A Sweet Treat

Yogurt Berry Sundae

Yogurt Berry Sundae

Yumm! – Level 1 Recipe
– November 4, 2010

I tried just about every diet that came along.  Not one of them worked because they all aim to make an immediate change in absolutely everything we eat.  That can’t be done without the feeling of deprivation and often hunger sooner or later.  I could hang on to any crazy diet for a week, month or longer but it always failed because I felt deprived and wanted to “treat myself.”

So instead of taking on a full diet filled with unsatisfying foods I started a quest to find healthful options that satisfy that junk food junkie in me.  One of the challenges is to find options with whole foods rather than processed crap.

Several years ago, during one of my “slip ups” I went to McDonalds but I had a little fight in me so I chose the yogurt parfait.  Their yogurt parfait consists of vanilla yogurt, berries and sweet granola.  It was really good so I rejoiced when I found a treat that would be more healthful than the other McDonald’s options … until I looked at the nutritional information (and that’s just the snack size.  Check out the info on the full size).

It turns out that the McDonalds yogurt parfaits are full of calories and a large portion of the calories is sugars.  But I really liked the taste and thought I could improve on the nutritional quality so I started to make my own.

Here is the general idea:

1 cup yogurt
1/3 cup sweet something
1/3 cup crunchy something
Layer or stir together in a bowl, sundae dish, wine glass or paper cup and enjoy every bite.

I started using regular vanilla yogurt, a mix of frozen berries and granola.  It tasted better than the McDonalds parfait, it took seconds to make and it was a healthier alternative.

As time passed, while I enjoyed my yummy treat for breakfasts and in place of an ice cream or sweet cravings, I figured out ways to make it even better.  I started using low-fat or nonfat vanilla yogurt, fresh fruits (berries when in season are fantastic), and Grape Nuts cereal for the crunch.  After getting used to each change it tasted as good as or better than the first version. I continue to make it better by looking for ways to enjoy my treat while making it more healthful.  This is what I make now:

  • I choose low-fat vanilla yogurt with active cultures and try to select the brand with the least amount of sugars (it varies widely).
  • I replaced Grape Nuts with an organic flax or hemp seed granola.  They have much lower sugars, higher fiber and lots of Omega 3’s.
  • I still use fresh local berries when in season, but out of season I use frozen or sometimes I will just stir in a little unsweetened fruit preserves.

Over time, little changes make for big benefits.  I took my time in making these changes so my palate got used to each change.  Now, the McDonalds’ parfait is too sweet, rich and doesn’t satisfy me.  When I crave something sweet or sweet and crunchy my mind focuses on my yogurt staple rather than ice cream or pastries.

Give it a try and be creative.  Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.