Yogurt parfaits are tantalizing treats made with fresh, whole ingredients and no refined sugars. Unless of course you’re buying them from coffeehouses or fast food joints. Then, you could be in for more sugar, gelatin, starch and calories than you bargained for. Making your own parfait is not only easy to make, but also allows you add unprocessed sweeteners, whole berries and healthy granola into the mix.
Summer berry benefits
Farmers markets are bursting with fresh summer berries, so now is the time to stock up. And of course, if you can’t make it to a farmer’s market, check out the frozen section at your grocery store for non-GMO, organic berries.
Berries are potent sources of antioxidants that help prevent cell damage. And we all know that cell damage leads to premature aging and disease. But even more exciting, antioxidants are also linked to weight control. Research out of the University of Florida found that people who consume more antioxidants naturally weigh less, even when they consume more calories.
Probiotic Greek yogurt
One of the most touted health benefits of Greek yogurt is the gut-healthy probiotics it contains. Greek yogurt also stands out for containing double the protein compared to traditional yogurt. Since protein takes the body longer to digest, it can help make you feel and stay full for longer, which is great for keeping you satiated between meals.
Granola when done right — meaning made by you, in your own kitchen — has many health benefits. Granola lowers cholesterol, regulates digestion and helps with weight loss, says Organic Facts. It is may also improve heart health, lower blood pressure, increase energy and prevent anemia. Again, the key is to make your own, which allows you to control the sugar and oil. This recipe uses coconut oil, gluten-free oats and maple syrup to sweeten.
Summer Berry Parfait with Homemade Granola Recipe
5 mason jars
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (make sure your oats are certified gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 cup almond pieces
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup dried goji berries (unsweetened)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries (unsweetened)
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3 cup mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 quart plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cups homemade granola
- 5 250-ml mason jars and lids
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almonds, seeds, coconut, dried berries, salt and cinnamon. Stir to blend.
- In a medium bowl, blend vanilla, coconut oil and maple syrup. Pour over the granola mixture and combine well.
- Pour the granola onto the prepared pan and spread it in an even layer. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway. The granola will crisp up as it cools. Allow it to cool completely before breaking and storing in an airtight container.
- For the yogurt parfait, add 1/2 of the berries and maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Cook until slightly soft — about 5 minutes — just enough to release juice. Add the remaining berries and blend.
- Add two spoonfuls of fruit to the bottom of the mason jars. Top with two spoonfuls of yogurt and sprinkle with granola. Repeat the process so that you end up with fruit on the top. Sprinkle additional granola over fruit.
- Secure parfait-filled jars with snap caps and rings. Store jars in the fridge for quick snacks and lunches. Enjoy!
— Katherine Marko