The sun is shining, the groundhog is gone (Did he see his shadow or not?) and it's time for March Madness. Our madness has less to do with basketball and more to do with springtime treats. As a nutritionist I want to give you delicious, healthy recipes that won't break your calorie bank. As I tell you in my new book, Bread is the Devil, it's crucial to live your life, not your diet. So yes, dessert is allowed!
Greek yogurt has seen a recent popularity in every facet of the food world -- even Ben & Jerry's has created a frozen swirl. What's not to love? Greek yogurt is high in protein, low in sugar and is one of the most versatile ingredients around. When it comes to sweet treats, Greek yogurt is the way to go.
Here are three ways to knock out your sweet tooth while whittling your waistline.
Mainstream ice cream brands are pumping out their Greek yogurt lines faster than dietitians are comfortable with. It's tempting to toss a few pints into your shopping basket and call it a day, but buyers beware! Some of these brands contain over 400 calories per half-pint, which is the same amount as regular ice cream. And let's face it, who really eats just a half-pint anyway? I could put an entire one away before you say "30 Rock."
This doesn't mean that you can't partake in an icy indulgence. My best advice is to try making your own fro-yo at home. You'll need an ice cream maker, but it's well worth it.
Combine 2 cups of 2% plain Greek yogurt, ¼ cup honey and a ½ teaspoon of vanilla into an ice cream maker to yield one pint. If you'd like to add fresh pureed fruit, this is the time to do it. Be sure to blend well! The amount of time the yogurt will need to mix will vary by manufacturer. The key to a great consistency is the second freeze. After the yogurt is done "pre-freezing" in the machine, place the mixture in your regular freezer for at least four hours. The result will be a smooth, creamy delight!
One of the simplest things to make at home, store-bought parfaits can clock in at about 40 grams of sugar and 350 calories per serving. That's one way NOT to start off your day.
By switching to this homemade approach you can avoid extra calories and sugar while still getting over 15 grams of protein and six grams of fiber. They are also a dinner host's dream, as they can be made ahead of time and placed in the fridge to set.
Choose your favorite individual sized 0% or 2% Greek yogurt and mix well. Scoop half of the container into a parfait glass. Instead of using high-fat loose granola, crumble one half of a Kashi TLC Crunchy Granola Bar on top of the yogurt. Sprinkle a handful of berries over the granola.
Repeat, and enjoy!
Fruit and cream is a delicious combination, and can be done in a healthy way that will still satisfy even the strongest sweet tooth. Store-bought brands are loaded with added sugar and lack fresh fruit, that's why I prefer to make these pops at home.
They take about 10 minutes of prep and then you're done!
To make six pops, puree 1 cup each of plain 0% Greek yogurt and fresh berries with 2 tablespoons of honey in a food processor. Fill 3-oz. paper cups with mixture, insert Popsicle sticks and place in the freezer for at least six hours. These are great to make in bulk and keep in your fridge for guests, kids or a simple craving!
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