How To Elevate Your Yogurt Parfait
I grew up starting my day with a fruit and yogurt parfait every single morning. It was my mom’s way of making us eat our fruit before moving on to the savory portion of our breakfast. We would always have fresh, whole milk yogurt with fruit, usually honeydew, papaya, apple, banana, or kiwi. We would top it with granola, amaranth, raisins, almond slices, pecans, walnuts, raw honey, or anything else we could find.
Last year Sean and I got to go to Greece and Italy for our honeymoon, and to our surprise, we found their yogurt to be one of the best delights. The creamy, delicious yogurt with apple slices, walnuts, and honey was a particular stand-out in Greece.
Fruit and yogurt bowls have just been a constant in my life. It rubbed off on Sean, and now I often find myself scrambling to keep up with our consumption of yogurt and toppings.
They’re the perfect breakfast, snack, or dessert. So now let’s talk about how you can make them extraordinarily nutritious and satisfying. The goal is to add in so much flavor and texture while simultaneously giving your body so many nutrients.
Start with your favorite yogurt.
- Dairy-free yogurt: My favorites at the moment are Culina’s plain & simple and Lavva’s plain or vanilla. These options are dairy-free and unsweetened. However, my favorite thing about them is that they don’t contain unnecessary gums or filler ingredients. They’re also perfect for anyone watching their sugar consumption. Both claim to have live probiotics, giving your gut microbiome that extra support.
- Conventional yogurt: Of course, if you don’t have issues with dairy, raw and organic is ideal. The benefit of raw, unpasteurized dairy is that it still contains the beneficial live organisms and its naturally-occurring enzymes that make it more easily digestible and its nutrients more bio-available. However, raw dairy products can be challenging to find. If you’re ambitious, check out realmilk.com to see where you can get some in your area. Otherwise, at least aim to find a yogurt that is full-fat, hormone- and antibiotic-free, organic, with live cultures.
- Fruits: peaches, mango, papaya, apples, banana, kiwi, fresh or frozen berries. These require no explanation. Choose what makes you happy. If you’re looking to prepare for or recover from a workout, banana could provide some natural sugars and potassium. If you’re wanting some digestion support, papaya might be your choice. If you’re craving a crunch, go with apple. If you’re trying to keep it as glycemic-friendly as possible, go with the berries. If what you’re seeking is antioxidant support, then you can’t go wrong with any of these.
- Root veggies: sweet potato, butternut squash, acorn squash. Either roast them halved or whole until slightly caramelized and use as the bowl to your parfait. Or, roast them with coconut oil, Ceylon cinnamon, and pink salt. So delicious. (Side note: if you haven’t heard me rant about this already, Ceylon cinnamon provides glycemic support, meaning that it can help minimize crazy spikes in your blood sugar).
- Drippy nut or seed butter. Ensure that your nut butter of choice doesn’t contain any unnecessary ingredients such as added oils or sweetener. The ingredients should only list the actual nut or seed, and salt.
- Protein powder. Another way to get in some collagen peptides! While collagen is not a complete protein, it is great for connective tissue repair. This is why it can support your gut, hair, skin, nails, and joints. You can also add your favorite complete protein powder. Adding protein to your parfait will make it much more filling. Generally speaking, I would say that many people are not getting enough protein in their diet, so sneaking some in here is definitely a good idea.
Pro tip: Frozen berries + Sunbutter. Mix it around as the berries thaw & get swirly ribbons of PB&J-like deliciousness.
Go hard or go home, friends.
- Sprouted nuts: I love sprouted walnuts and pecans. Sprouting nuts (also called activating), reduces their phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that makes nuts a little more difficult to digest. It also increases the bio-availability of their nutrients. Plus, in my opinion, it makes the taste and texture so much nicer. You can buy activated nuts and seeds, but you can also do it yourself by soaking them in a bath with a little apple cider vinegar for a few hours and then dehydrating.
- Coconut shreds or toasted coconut chips: check for unsweetened. These are my absolute favorite. There’s not a day I don’t eat these in excess! They’re rich in fiber and minerals, but the best part about them is the taste… I am obsessed.
- Hemp hearts: hemp seeds add texture, but they also add extra protein and healthy fat.
- Cacao nibs: check for unsweetened. Cacao nibs are essentially the purest form of chocolate that you can get. They are such a rich source of polyphenols (antioxidants). Plus, they add a nice chocolatey crunch.
- Bee pollen: another antioxidant-rich ingredient. Bee pollen and other bee products have great immune benefits. It contains amino acids and B vitamins, making it a perfect energy-boosting food.
- Raw honey: I mean, who doesn’t love raw honey. My favorite sweetener. A nutritional powerhouse. Immune-support. Energy-boosting. You simply cannot go wrong.
That’s is, we’ve officially dissected the yogurt parfait. As always, I hope that this inspires you to play with your food!