Food Fight! – Yogurt Parfaits

At least once a month, I treat myself to a McDonald’s Yogurt Parfait. Either I’m caught out running errands and don’t have a snack in my glove box, or I’m traveling and the hotel breakfast bar is a dietary disaster, or maybe I’m just in the mood for an indulgent-but-not-nutrition-wrecking snack. Whatever the reason, the drive-thru parfait has been an acceptable, if limited, alternative on more than one occasion.

So imagine my delight when I noticed this sign while ordering a side salad at my other drive-thru option, Chick-fil-A:

My heart leapt with joy!  This had to be a Very Good Thing! After all, this is Chick-fil-A, home of the Grilled Chicken Salad with carefully measured (and tiny) amounts of cheese and separate packets for croutons and sunflower kernels. Their version of the parfait would have to be at least marginally healthier than McD’s! Joy-joy!

Well, maybe not. This is fast food, after all, and while it’s better than KFC, CfA has its own set of problems. (If you’ve seen the size of their salad dressing packet, you know what I mean. It lasts me for 5 at-home salads, before I toss the  left over.)

I decided to check the nutritional info online before ordering one.

Ouch! According to Chick-fil-A’s website, where the Yogurt Parfait is listed under the breakfast items, this. little 6.5 oz. baby has 180 calories, 3 g of fat, 1 g of fiber, 6 g of protein and 33 g of sugar! And that’s without the granola! Jiminy Cricket! Their “cinnamon cluster”, which I’ve never had but assume is something akin to a cinnamon roll, has less sugar (28g) than that! But lots more fat, of course.

By comparison, McDonald’s 7 oz., pre-granola, yogurt parfait, which they have the good manners to list on their dessert menu, is 130 calories, 2 g of fat, 0 fiber, 4 g of protein, and 19 g of sugar. Not a health food, to be sure, but for me a better on-the-go choice than CfA.  Not to mention that McD’s  costs 60% less. Oh, and just to keep all things even, McD’s fat-laden Cinnamon Melt has 32 g of sugar, less than CfA’s parfait.

The best choice for yogurt parfaits, of course, is the at-home, DIY variety, but we still have to pay attention to the nutritional value of the yogurt. I use Oikos Greek Yogurt, which Kroger is frequently kind enough to have on their 10/$10 special. A 5.3-oz. container of Oikos has 90 calories, 0 fat, 0 fiber, 15 g of protein, and “only” 6 g of sugar. Toss in 10 calories worth of sliced strawberries, and you have yourself a magnificent 100-calorie snack, or a great start to a healthy breakfast. Plus, you can stir in extras like ground flax seed.Or chocolate chips.

If, on the other hand, I chose a similarly-sized yogurt like Yoplait Strawberry, I’d have 170 calories, 15 g of fat, no fiber, 5 g of protein, and 27 g of sugar. That definitely falls into my “dessert yogurt” category.

I’m not saying I won’t ever order the CfA Yogurt Parfait, but it’s not very likely. I’ll stick to the salad menu.

My curiosity o’ the day is what your favorite yogurt toppings might be. My DIY parfaits are feeling a bit routine these days, so it’s time to shake things up.

Closing with a personal note: Thank you ALL who jumped in and played on Monday’s Look Who’s Talking post. (waves maniacally to newcomers!)  We are indeed a beautifully diverse group of folks and while we may use different approaches, we have the shared goal of better health. Ahhhh….

0 thoughts on “Food Fight! – Yogurt Parfaits

  1. Wow. I do like Chik Fil A's salads, so I assumed this newest offering would be equally guilt-free. The fast food yogurt parfaits are one of the few go-to snacks I can turn to on the turnpike. Probably should just make and bring my own. Don't have a favorite topping, but insist on at least having something crunchy in it.

  2. WOW, that's alot of sugar! I even find the McD ones pretty sweet as is.

    I'll have to look for this Oikos stuff next time I'm in the states. We don't have it here in Western Canada.

    My favourite toppings are fruit and sometimes a little cereal (Kashi Go Lean Crunch, Vector, All Bran Guardian Cinnamon Hearts). I love a little crunch!

  3. My favorite yogurt toppings are fresh berries (or frozen) ground flax seed, slivered almonds,and sunflower seeds.
    Sometimes if I'm really hungry, I add a tbl of whole oats!

  4. My favorite yogurt toppings are fresh berries (or frozen) ground flax seed, slivered almonds,and sunflower seeds.
    Sometimes if I'm really hungry, I add a tbl of whole oats!

  5. Well the price would make me steer clear of it. My fav topping for yogurt is blueberries but any fruit will do. I love Yoplait's(sp?) light Key Lime Pie and Lemon Pie at 100 calories. These are dessert for me. The greek yogurt you mentioned has a honey one at my Wal-mart that is soooooooo good. It is the only flavor Wal-mart carries of that brand. Thanks for doing the research on Cfa's yo par.

  6. YIKES on that Chick-fil-A!!!

    I do my own thing at home & I like either/or/or all of the above: blueberries, cherries, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, mt new vanilla stevia.. things like that!

  7. goes to show you should always check the nutritional info. I also use oikos honey yogurt and mix in some bear natural granola. together, they are delicious and keep me full for most of the afternoon at work. DIY is always better!

  8. I'm not a big parfait person – maybe it's because I'm afraid I won't be able to stop eating them – but I love strawberries and nuts. Yum!

  9. I saw that CFA yogurt parfait advertised – thanks so much for writing about it. I have to confess that the only fast food I ever eat is a Chick Fil A sandwich, but only about once a year!!

  10. Mmmmm, yogurt. Thanks for giving us info on this, and yep, I'll check the nutritional info from now on.

  11. Wow that is quite a bit of sugar!! good to know! :)

    And my fav topping is def grape nuts & strawberries!! But would love to hear some of the response you get from everyone. Change is always good!!

    PS thanks for the info on that blog…i will have to try it out the warm nanner!! (and i love her blog!!)

  12. I usually eat my yogurt plain but if I do add something to it it's usually fruit or a high fiber cereal.

    I've never heard of that place–is it a southern chain?

  13. You can't trust McDonald nutritionals on the parfait either, because although it states 160 calories, that is only based off of their serving size of 5.3oz, but what size is their parfait they give you? It is 7oz! Why they give you a parfait that is 7oz instead of the one serving size of 5.3oz is beyond me. Another way to trick people into thinking they are getting the healthy option when they are not

    If you eat that full little parfait you get from Mickey Ds, it is 211.3 calories, 2.6g fat, 1.3g sat fat, 6.6g cholesterol, 112.3mg sodium, 40.9g carbs, 1.3g fiber, 27.7g SUGAR and 5.3g protein.

    Not a healthy choice at all. How they can screw up fruit and yogurt and make it unhealthy is past me, but they have managed to do it