Health Benefits of “Fro-Yo”!

If you look around your town, I bet you have noticed a growing trend of frozen yogurt shops opening left and right.  These places sing the health benefits of the icy treat, while enticing you with toppings galore.  Today, during National Frozen Yogurt Week, we celebrate the good things about frozen yogurt, and help you get the most health benefits out of this tasty treat.

Yogurt is known for being a good source of calcium and protein. There are popular frozen yogurt chains that hold the certification seal for including live active cultures such as Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus, which are found in regular yogurt.  These cultures or probiotics are known as “good bacteria” which live in the intestine and enhance digestive health.  Be cautious, because if the store does not hold the certification, the cultures may have been destroyed in the freezing process, thereby eliminating this particular health benefit.  But if you do choose a frozen yogurt complete with the seal, that is one big thumbs up frozen yogurt has over its ice cream counterpart.

When too much sugar is added into the mix, it negates the probiotic and protein power of frozen yogurt, and makes it similar to eating ice cream.  Many frozen yogurt places offer healthy toppings like berries, kiwi and mango.  Choosing fruit as your topper enhances the health benefits of frozen yogurt by adding phytochemicals and fiber to the equation.  You won’t often see these toppings offered at a sundae bar, so another point goes to frozen yogurt!

Now for some helpful tips when selecting your perfect treat.  A lot of the new frozen yogurt places are self-serve.  This is good because you are in control of your portion size.  Be smart and choose a size cup that is 4 oz. (or a half cup), which would be the equivalent of one dairy serving.  Usually if you read the advertisements that boast about the low sugar in frozen yogurt, it pertains to a 4 oz. serving.  If you are choosing a larger size, remember to take into account that you are doubling the calories and grams of sugar in your snack.  Yogurt is often advertised as a fat free snack, which is great and usually true if you opt for the nonfat version, but beware of how much sugar is in the blend.  Healthier frozen yogurts usually taste more like regular yogurt; if they taste too much like ice cream, they probably contain too much sugar and/or fat.  Nutritional information is typically available on location at the frozen yogurt stores, so be your own researcher and make sure to check out the brand.

Back to toppings.  This is where things can go very wrong for someone who is not as savvy in the health department as you.  Alongside the healthy toppings you will usually see unhealthy ones such as candies, sugary cereals, caramel sauce and chocolate syrup.  Steer clear of these, and load up on fruit or even dark chocolate chips if they are offered.

Stick with these tips and frozen yogurt will become the snack for your healthy lifestyle.

Let me know about some of the delicious frozen creations you have come up with this week!

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