Frozen Yogurt: Friend or Foe?
Many of my clients report that their favorite thing to do on a warm day is to hit a frozen yogurt shop, get a small nonfat cup with sprinkles, and savor it as if were the hottest summer’s day. They are especially popular with kids. But most kids are not as worried as It Girls are about piling on the calories and fat. So here’s what to look out for if you decide to venture into your nearest frozen yogurt shop: (read to end to learn about the REVERSE ORDER TRICK)
1. Oversize cups. Fro-yo chains are marketing mavens. They give you huge cups so you’ll fill them to the brim without blinking an eye. We tend to help ourselves to triple the listed serving size (usually a half cup). The quick and easy solution: take a flavor divider and use that for easy portion control!
2. The scale. Not the bathroom scale- the store’s checkout scale. Since it’s easy to fill’er up (see number 1), fill your cup a little bit, and then go weigh it. Continue to do this until you get the serving size you want based on the calories you want to consume. Don’t worry if the cashiers glare at you. Trust me, they’ve seen it before.
3. Your flavor. Some yogurt shops offer many different flavors on any given day. This means the eight-calorie-per-ounce option may be right next to the twenty-calorie-per-ounce option. It can be fun to mix a few flavors, but don’t overlook the different calorie counts as you do so.
4. Toppings. They add up fast. It doesn’t matter if your frozen yogurt has only eight calories an ounce and you took four ounces. If you load up with chocolate sprinkles (1tsp=20 calories), you can add tons of calories by the time you’re done.
- Top first. Instead of putting your toppings on last, put them on first. Scoop out some mini marshmallows (just 2 calories each) or a teaspoon of sprinkles (20 calories) or some fresh fruit. Then add your four ounces of frozen yogurt over it. You’ll end up taking fewer toppings if you use this REVERSE ORDER TRICK
- Trick toppers. You know candy, fudge, and caramel are not diet-friendly choices. But some toppings that look innocent are anything but. Steer clear of fruit in sugary syrup (choose fresh fruit instead), sugar-free syrups and fudge toppings (they still have tons of calories), fat-free gummy candy (the calories from sugar pack a punch), and crushed nuts and granola (a quarter-cup adds 100 calories).
5. Be on the lookout for cones. While a sugar cone has 50 calories and a wafer cone has 20 calories, it’s often a good choice to use a cone for forced portion control. Only about four ounces can fit in the cone, and there are also limits on how much topping can adhere to the treat.