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Fast Fruity Yogurt: {Meatless} Monday Meal

People often ask me how I get my ideas for recipes. Sometimes, I try to recreate a dish I had in a restaurant or that I saw on TV; sometimes I just try something wacky; and sometimes my ideas come from a desire to create a healthier version of a mainstream food. This recipe for Fast Fruity Yogurt is an example of the last type—an attempt to create a healthier version of what one can buy in the store.

Many of my friends and family love to eat store-bought yogurt with fruit already mixed into it. I too love to eat fruit-filled yogurt but when I look at the ingredients and nutrition facts of the packaged fruit yogurts at the store, I’m not happy with what I see. The ingredients usually include items I try to avoid like large amounts of sugar, preservatives, thickening agents, food coloring, and a super sketchy ingredient called “natural flavors”.

Natural flavors” aren’t as innocent as they sound. “Natural flavors” can come from things that actually occur in nature such as the anal glands of beavers, the wings of insects, and parts of other animals. But before they are added to our food, they are mixed with chemicals, colors and preservatives so they aren’t really “natural” anymore. I was pretty grossed out when I learned about this. As a “mostly vegetarian” who occasionally eats fish or seafood, I am not okay with animal parts being added to my seemingly vegetarian foods. Not to mention that those items can be from gross things like anal glands. Anal glands. What even made sometime experiment with that??? You can find out more about natural flavors by reading here and here.

I know a big draw of fruit-filled yogurts is that they are convenient because they are easy to open and enjoy. Below is a recipe that is super easy to prep and enjoy with just a little bit of pre-planning and a couple of extra steps. By planning ahead and thawing your frozen fruit 1-2 days ahead of time you can prepare this Fast Fruity Yogurt in less than 5 minutes. By using plain yogurt, you can avoid excess sugar, but still get some sweetness by adding pure vanilla extract that doesn’t have any sugar grams. (Or, you can use a small amount of pure maple syrup or honey to add even more sweetness but with a bit of sugar, too.) Either way, you will be nowhere near the 15 grams of sugar (or more) in the packaged yogurt. For reference, the American Heart Association recommends a woman have 24 grams or less of sugar per day and a toddler should have 16 grams or less per day. Want to take your yogurt with you? Just spoon it into your favorite reusable travel container and your healthy meal is ready to go!






1. Place frozen fruit in a small bowl and cover. Place in the fridge for 1-2 days to thaw before using.

2. Place frozen fruit onto a cutting board and cut into smaller chunks.

3. Add yogurt and vanilla/maple syrup/honey to a bowl and mix in chopped fruit and residual juice.

4. Top with your favorite accompaniments and enjoy!



Happy Cooking!