I like sweets…like a lot. One of my biggest problems is my sweet tooth, but rather than dumping cups of it into everything I eat, I try to find healthy ways to satisfy it. This normally consists of fruit, cereal, and dairy. I know dairy isn't inherently considered a sweet, but for some reason I must have milk whenever I have a dessert.
One of my favorite combinations of these ingredients is the parfait. I know it sounds uppity, but it is delicious and can be one of the best snacks or desserts when done right. Traditionally the parfait has a lot of calories. It is normally made with ice cream or a similar creamy high calorie substance. This version replaces that with Greek yogurt, the plain variety that has fewer calories, less sugar, and more protein.
Why do we want more protein? First, it helps build muscle. Second, it keeps you full longer. Proteins are important as they are digested to release amino acids, which make new proteins. They are essential to rebuilding muscle and may be used as an energy source. Therefore, you should try to get more of it in your diet. One way is with your desserts and snacks like the one I have included a recipe for.
Below is my recipe for a Protein-spiked Parfait. It is simple and requires no difficult cooking processes or skills. You only have to know how to stir and measure.
Protein-spiked Parfait Recipe
- 5.3 oz of plain Greek yogurt (just buy a prepackaged cup)
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla protein powder (I used Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 cup of granola plus some for garnish
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fruit*
*Canned or “containtered” (as I like to call them) peaches work well. If you prefer fresh fruit, try blueberries and strawberries. Avoid fruits that have seeds.
1. Using a whisk or fork, stir the protein powder, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract into the greek yogurt. Get rid of as many lumps as you can. Trust me, lumps of protein powder are not good!
2. Next, put a layer of yogurt mixture (a little less than half of the mixture) in the container or dish you are going to use.
3. Spoon roughly half of the granola on top of the yogurt and then add a layer of fruit to cover the layer of granola.
4. Alternate layers of yogurt, granola, and fruit until the container is nearly full. Keep a little of the granola for the topping.
5. Once you have reached the top of the container, add the last bits of granola as a garnish.
6. Finally, get a spoon and enjoy. Num num num!
Nutritional Facts: 426 cal (240 from the granola), 2.5g fat, 75g carbs, , 31g protein*
*Approximately 8g is added from protein powder; however, this depends on how much protein there is per gram.
Below are the ingredients I used:
- Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Powder
- Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt
- Dole Peaches in Juice
- Bear Naked Vanilla Almond Granola
Feel free to change these to adjust your caloric intake.
Notice how many calories are in this parfait - almost that of a whole meal and then some, but only 2.5 grams of fat. Also I need to mention that the parfait has 36g of sugar (roughly 144 calories, which is just under the recommended 150 calories a day for men and over the 100 calories a day for women). This is a meal you eat only once if you are watching your sugar intake.
You can cut the teaspoon of sugar as it is only there to mask the taste of the protein powder.
Another way to substantially cut calories is to use fresh as opposed to canned fruit and read the label on your granola. Under no circumstances should you use fruit that is packaged in heavy syrup unless, of course, you’re throwing caution to the wind!Anthony Fowler is a certified Army Master Fitness Trainer who has been a fitness and nutrition enthusiast since he was 19. He has tried everything from Kefir to Tribulus in his quest to gain muscle mass and maintain a healthy lifestyle. He is a husband and father of three, and aspiring chef who enjoys lifting heavy weights, cooking healthy meals, and sharing his knowledge and experiences with anyone who will listen.
Main Photo Credit: John S. Quinn/shutterstock.com