Looking for a gift idea this Mother’s Day? Show your thoughtfulness and creativity by setting up a yogurt parfait bar – it’s healthy, satisfying and looks appealing too. This brunch has my favorite breakfast foods: Greek yogurt, berries and granola. It’s also full of nutrients and cancer-fighting compounds, and the variety of options make it a meal your whole family is sure to enjoy.
The starring ingredient is Greek yogurt. This type of yogurt has a rich, creamy texture because it goes through an extra straining process that removes milk’s liquid whey. So how does Greek yogurt stack up against the traditional kind on the health front?
Both Greek and regular yogurt can be part of a healthy diet. Aim for the low-fat varieties without added sugars. Greek yogurt packs an extra protein punch. A 6 oz serving of plain, non-fat Stonyfield yogurt contains 8 grams of protein; the same amount of non-fat Stonyfield Greek yogurt has an impressive 17 grams of protein. Protein can help keep you feeling full longer, fighting off those afternoon hunger cravings.
Greek yogurt has fewer carbohydrates than the traditional, all in roughly the same amount of calories. But Greek yogurt does contain about a third less calcium.
This parfait also includes plenty of other healthy foods. Berries, for example, are rich in antioxidants. The walnuts are a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And the fiber in the granola is linked to reducing the risk of colorectal cancer.
Now that we’ve gotten to the bottom of the nutrition, here’s what you’ll need to set up your Mother’s Day Brunch:
Serving bowls filled with:
- Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
- A variety of fresh fruits (bananas and berries taste great in yogurt)
Smaller cups/bowls with these toppings:
- Walnuts or pecans
- Dried fruit (raisins or dried cranberries)
- Low-fat granola, made with whole grain
- Honey to drizzle on top
- Small glass parfait cups (or bowls)
When the spread is all nicely laid out, it’s time for the fun part: building a parfait! My favorite is to layer yogurt, berries, a little more yogurt, and finally top it with a tablespoon of granola and a drizzle of honey.
Note: To make sure your breakfast is moderate in calories, use more yogurt and fruit and only small amounts of the other toppings.
Food for Thought: How do you include yogurt as part of a healthy diet?
Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is a research program coordinator at Johns Hopkins leading a supermarket intervention study. She has a passion for promoting a healthy lifestyle and reducing obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.