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….