I love frozen yogurt, and fortunately, there isn’t a frozen yogurt store here in our town. We had a TCBY here for the longest time, but they closed it down several years ago. It isn’t just the frozen yogurt that is oh so tasty and yummy, but it’s all the good stuff you put in it and on it. That kind of the problem. I ran across this article by Stephanie Saunders at BeachBody and she breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly about frozen yogurt. Enjoy!
Frozen Yogurt: Your Diet Frenemy
By Stephanie Saunders
Nothing says summertime like a cool, creamy treat, a refreshing pick-me-up when we feel like cooling ourselves. Frozen yogurt, in particular, has made a huge comeback recently with stores popping up everywhere from here to Punxsutawney. One major reason for this is that while there’s no denying its sugary, tangy, goodness, it’s also considered healthy, low in carbs and calories, and essentially fat-free. Yes, frozen yogurt could be the dream dessert, but be careful. Read on for the facts!
A few sweet slipups and it becomes a sneaky caloric nightmare, with calories far exceeding what most of us eat in an entire meal. Fortunately, there is hope for the creamy dessert junkie. Here are a few easy ways to keep things light and healthy.
When we look at the calorie count in frozen yogurt, it is usually broken down by ounce, and we fail to do the math. The wide assortment of toppings can add a bit of crunch or flavor, but these toppings can also add inches to our waists. And the amount of sugar in frozen yogurt is astounding. It is the second ingredient in all the leading brands—they can have up to 40 grams of sugar per serving!
After the age of 10, most of us stop ordering the child size of anything. There is something very exciting about being able to order off of the adult menu. And this is America, where anything is better supersized! When we look at calorie counts for frozen desserts, they are usually for the 4-ounce servings, which is a child’s size. Here is a caloric breakdown of some popular yogurt establishments:
Pinkberry® 28–34 calories per ounce
Menchie’s® 20–40 calories per ounce
Golden Spoon® 25–30 calories per ounce
Penguins® 20–25 calories per ounce
Ben & Jerry’s® 35–45 calories per ounce
TCBY® 28–33 calories per ounce
So, if we actually ordered the child-size serving, we are looking at 80 calories for the not-so-tasty sugar-free version and up to 180 calories for the low-fat version. Also consider that most establishments pile on considerably more than the ounces determined by the little cup, hence the cute swirl on top. So, should you order the medium size, we are looking at 160 to 360 calories. And this is before we have even looked at toppings.
To top it off
Since the invention of the self-serve yogurt establishment, astounding things have been piled onto yogurt. Gummy bears, chocolate chips, Fruity Pebbles®, rainbow sprinkles, cookie dough, Oreos®, hot fudge, brownie bites, malt balls, and REESE’S PIECES—my friend once topped her yogurt with all of these! And yes, my friend was over the age of 14 and not pregnant. It is amazing what we will consume when given access to an unlimited supply that will only cost us forty cents an ounce. But for those of us who are a bit more reserved, even the fruit toppings, granola, nuts, and low-fat fudge can determine our waistlines. The reason, of course, is sugar. Here is a look at what some basic toppings can add up to calorically—each calorie count is for a 2-tablespoon serving.
Hot fudge (sugar free) 90 calories
Oreo topping 90 calories
Strawberry topping 107 calories
Granola 150 calories
Brownie 139 calories
Chocolate chips 50 calories
Peanuts 160 calories
Rainbow sprinkles 40 calories
Again, all of these toppings are 2-tablespoon servings. I have yet to see an establishment use that little of a topping at any point in my yogurt shopping frenzies. One would assume we should double that number in most cases. Even then, these numbers do not look particularly horrible, until you add in the 250-calorie yogurt, and then you are looking at a meal. Although tasty, that “meal” will probably not satisfy much of your hunger and lacks the major nutrients your body needs.
Hope for the hungry
So before you throw your punch card away and go back to fighting off chocolate cravings, let’s look at some ways to enjoy your favorite dessert without destroying your P90X®, Slim in 6®, or INSANITY™ physique.
Choose a nonfat, sugar-free, or low-carbohydrate flavor. No, they do not taste as good. But again, if it saves you 100 calories, you are that much closer to looking hot for your high school reunion.
Top with fresh sliced fruit or low-fat granola. Often, the fruit topping is a preserve or covered in sugar, so be sure to ask. Also, make sure it is low-fat granola; otherwise, you are adding sugar and butter to your yogurt experience.
Get toppings on the side. Think of a topping the way you do salad dressing. You can control how many tablespoons go on your yogurt, and you usually get enough to share with a friend.
Choose richer flavors. This is simply tricking your taste buds. If you aim for flavorful bases, you will be less apt to need a bunch of flavor on top. Really think about what you are craving and see if there is a yogurt flavor to match it.
Avoid the pint. For most of us, it impossible to stick to the serving size on the side of the container. And then it lives, and taunts you, in your freezer. Keep large amounts of creamy sugar out of the house.
Use the scale. I know this sounds really dorky, but ask them to weigh your cup of joy. I doubt any of us would ask them to remove a few ounces of yogurt, but it might make us stop before we hit the bottom of the cup.
Make it an occasion. Try to think of any dessert experience as a special event. Save it for a celebration, a special date, or a night out with the girls or guys. We are all too prone to going out for dessert when we are bored or having an evening craving. Try going on a walk instead. Your love handles will thank you.