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On-the-Go with Fro Yo

What’s more refreshing than a cup of cool, creamy frozen yogurt on a hot summer day? Fro yo is gaining popularity quickly, with frozen yogurt shops popping up everywhere across the country. Now it’s easier than ever to grab your yogurt and go.

Most of us think of frozen yogurt as a healthier version of ice cream. But, this is not always the case. What you are getting from the little fro yo shop around the corner is not usually pure yogurt, or a lower-calorie option. Most fro yo is yogurt blended with additional ingredients usually used to make ice cream (like milk, cream, and added sweeteners). There is no legal definition of frozen yogurt from the FDA, so the amount of each ingredient can vary from brand to brand and from flavor to flavor.

In many instances, frozen yogurt is slightly lower in calories and saturated fat than full-fat ice cream, but it may have more carbohydrates and just as much added sugar. So... moderation is still important! Remember, we recommend saving sweets (and yes, frozen yogurt counts as a sweet) for special occasions.

When you decide to include frozen yogurt in your meal plan, make the most of your treat when it comes to nutrition. Here are some tips for building a healthier cup of fro yo next time you visit the yogurt shop.

Opt for non-fat varieties. One-half cup of regular vanilla ice cream has about 5 grams of saturated fat. As someone with diabetes, that is about 1/3 of what you need for the day if you are on a 2000 calorie diet. Most frozen yogurt shops offer non-fat or fat-free options. Though non-fat varieties may have more carbohydrates, they have zero saturated fat and can also save you some calories.

Check the nutrition facts label. Check the nutrition facts on frozen yogurt if you are buying it in the store. If you frequent a certain yogurt shop, check out their nutrition information online or ask them for it before ordering. Use the label as your guide for picking out the best options. Knowing portion sizes, the total carbohydrate content, and calories are the key to working a frozen treat into your meal plan.

Cup or Cone? Ordering your frozen treat in a cone will add calories and carbohydrates, especially if you choose a waffle cone or sugar cone. Instead, order the smallest cup available. Some shops may also offer kid-size cups – an even better (and cheaper) option. Controlling portion sizes allows you to still enjoy a sweet treat without sabotaging blood glucose levels or your healthy meal plan.

Beware of self-serve frozen yogurt. Self-serve frozen yogurt shops are big now. Typically, these shops provide you with a large cup to fill with the flavors and toppings of your choice. Cafeterias and buffets may also have self-serve yogurt stations. Remember that you have control over how much you take – serve yourself a reasonable portion and don’t feel like you have to fill the entire container! One half cup of frozen yogurt is probably a realistic portion size for most people. (This is about the size of half of a tennis ball.)

Your toppings can make all the difference. Think outside the typical M&M’s, oreos, and hot fudge. Most of us like to pile on the toppings, but just an ounce of peanut butter cups can add 150 calories to your snack plus 8 grams of saturated fat! Instead, just add a little bit of fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mango, chopped pecans, almonds, walnuts, or low-fat granola. You can also add a ½ teaspoon or so of sprinkles for just 10 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrate.

Here’s an example of a fro-yo snack that might work with your meal plan:

½ cup of Vanilla frozen Yogurt

(About 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 65 mg sodium, 24 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 16 grams sugar, 3 grams protein)

+ ¼ ounce of slivered almonds (about 1 tablespoon) 

(About 40 calories, 3 grams fat,

+ 1 ounce blackberries

(About 10 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 mg sodium, 3 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugar, 0 grams protein)

+ 1 ounce strawberries

(About 10 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 mg sodium, 2 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 1 g sugar, 0 grams protein)

Voila! Something you can work with! Your treat has:

170 calories, 3 grams of fat,

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