Yogurt Topping: Crunchy, Tasty, Easy

Carb-loaded foods are most people’s breakfast of choice, and that just doesn’t work if you’re trying to eat healthy. Too many carbs too early in the day and you’re starving at 10 a.m. Most of us are in a rush in the morning, so the food has to be easy to pull together, too.

And this is. Unsweetened yogurt (a serving of about 1/2 cup) has only 80 calories, 8 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein. See for yourself.

Dannon, a fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, by comparison (the 170 gram carton) has 140 calories (not bad), but for the same 6 grams of protein, it has 26 grams of carbs. That’s a lot more than you need, and a good place to cut.

So, what to top that unsweetened yogurt with? Yes, you could use honey or artificial sweeteners, but I tend to avoid artificial anything, so here are some options:

1) Berries. High in taste, low in calories, berries add a great mouth feel, good fiber and excellent anti-oxidants. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries are all good choices. Half a cup of fresh strawberries is about 25 calories, 11 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber. Berries rock.

2) Chopped nuts. Raw, roasted, lightly salted or no salt at all. I’m a big fan of nuts, chopped fine. WebMD says that nuts help Type 2 Diabetics with sugar absorption. Almonds and walnuts are good for that, and so a logical, tasty choice. Nuts have great mouth feel and healthy fats.  That means you won’t have the mid-morning munchies. WebMD recommends 2 ounces daily, so a one-ounce serving (about 2T chopped nuts) at breakfast leaves some left over for an afternoon snack.

3) Coconut. Yeah, coconut. Toasted coconut is a big secret for taste-loving foodies. Yes, a one-ounce 187 calories, 165 of which are fat. Deep breath here…don’t panic. A one-ounce serving is a moderate handful, and we’re talking about a generous pinch of flakes, toasted. I’m thinking about a third of that generous handful is more than enough.

According to Livestrong.com, the 6.7 grams of carbs in a one-ounce serving are all complex carbs, means they reduce hunger cravings through the day and take a while to digest. That third of a handful (this is a topping, remember) is 62 calories with 2.3 grams or carbs.

You can boost the flavor of yogurt with that sprinkling, give it crunch, and a great coco-nutty taste.  And, in a few minutes time, you can put a great twist on that coconut flavor for this, and other dishes.

Toasted Coconut
Makes about 2 cups

Preheat your oven to 350. WP_000117

Buy a package (about 2 cups should be enough) unsweetened coconut flakes. Flakes…as in NOT shredded, NOT sweetened. Spread them out in a single layer on a cookie or baking sheet…don’t overlap. Put in oven. Set your timer for 8 minutes and don’t leave the kitchen. Check them. You’re looking for a golden brown color, with few white parts. A bit darker edge is normal, but charred is not.  Put back in oven, check again at 9 and 10 minutes. When ready, take out of oven and spread the flakes on a different cookie sheet to speed the cooling. Store them in an air-tight container, in the cupboard, not the ‘fridge.

Keep them in view and add them to salads, soups – you’ll be amazed at how much flavor this simple ingredient adds to foods. Including yogurt.

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One thought on “Yogurt Topping: Crunchy, Tasty, Easy

  1. Pingback: Home-Made Yogurt: A Diabetic’s Best Friend | Thoughts of a Personal Chef

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