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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Frozen Yogurt Bark

Frozen Yogurt Bark From Your Heart


I'm pleased to introduce this week's blog post author, Stephanie Sanderson! Stephanie is a student studying Food, Nutrition and Dietetics at Illinois State University.

This early in the year, there are still individuals going strong on that New Year's resolution of being a "healthier you." However, with Valentine's Day just around the corner, chocolates, candies, and desserts may try to spoil your food and fitness goals. Luckily, these yummy treats can be incorporated into Greek yogurt to produce a healthier, high protein, and low sugar treat for you and your loved ones!

Greek yogurt has multiple benefits to our health. It has taken over the dairy section in the grocery store, due to its high calcium and vitamin D content. Calcium has benefits to bone mass, especially in adolescents. Building bone mass is crucial during this time because maximum bone density is reached at this age. Vitamin D is a complementary component that helps bones absorb more calcium. Calcium has also been shown to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis, a condition in which bone tissue depletes, in older adults. Greek yogurt also contains "good" bacteria that help with those who struggle with gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as, lactose intolerance, constipation, and colon cancer. The increase of microorganisms in the GI tract helps digest and absorb foods. They are also important for women to prevent yeast infections. Consuming yogurt can aid in weight loss as well, due to its high protein content. Protein stimulates mu-opioid receptors found in the digestive tract, which suppresses hunger and increases metabolism!

There are many different flavors of Greek yogurt. A 5.3-ounce container of plain non-fat yogurt contains approximately 80 to 90 calories, 4 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein. However, the flavored yogurt such as, strawberry or vanilla, may contain more than three times as much sugar than plain yogurt and has less protein. But don't let that you stop from indulging; the flavored yogurts still contain beneficial properties and is a better option than dismissing yogurt altogether. Just be sure to compare the Nutrition Facts label when buying, and get the yogurt with the least amount of carbohydrates. If you decide to go with plain yogurt, which is quite distasteful on its own, try sweetening it with other artificial sweeteners and ingredients. For example, to cut down on the sugars on the Greek yogurt bark recipe below, you could use plain Greek yogurt and flavor with stevia or a packet or two of your favorite artificial sweetener. It is topped with dark chocolate chips, which contain antioxidants and strawberries (or other toppings you may like) for more flavor. Other ways that you can sweeten up your yogurt is to add honey (although this will add sugars) with the addition of peanut butter, cinnamon, or granola for extra flavor! You and your valentine will fall in love all over again with this sweet treat!

Bark from Your Heart (Printable PDF)

2 cups non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt

1 Tablespoon dried cranberries

1 Tablespoon raisins

5 fresh strawberries, stemmed and chopped

1 Tablespoon dark chocolate chips

1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts or nut of choice (optional)

In a medium bowl, combined the yogurt, cranberries, and raisins; stir. Line a baking tray with foil and pour the yogurt-honey mixture on top. Using a rubber spatula, spread it evenly making it as thick or thin as you want your bark to be. Sprinkle the strawberries, chocolate chips, and walnuts evenly on top and place in the freezer for 2-4 hours or until completely frozen. Remove from the freezer. Use a sharp knife to break the bark into pieces. Store bark in the freezer in freezer bags or containers.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 80 calories, 1 gram fat, 20 milligrams sodium, 13 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 5 grams protein



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