We don’t know about you, but we’re always eating in our office. With a fridge full of fresh juices, and just a hop, skip and a jump away from an incredible local health food store, our team is always trying out new healthy snack ideas in that 2pm stretch. Yogurt parfaits like the ones above might seem like breakfast-only options, but lately we’ve discovered that they make the perfect afternoon snack as well!
Healthy snacks can be hard to come by. Sometimes, the old carrot sticks and hummus, or apple with almond butter just don’t satisfy our grumbling bellies – and can lead to worse snacking, in the end. In an effort to keep our focus sharp, our hunger pains at bay, and our mood elevated throughout the day, our team has become obsessed with these nutrient-dense parfaits.
Parfaits are made by layering yogurt with a variety of fresh and dried fruits, granola, or nuts and seeds. What makes them so darn healthy is, if prepared with the proper, unprocessed ingredients, they contain all of the essential macro-nutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat), all of the essential micro-nutrients (antioxidants, vitamins, minerals) and gut-friendly probiotics needed for vibrant health. It’s no wonder the translation of parfait from French to English is perfect.
The quality of your ingredients is key (no fake foods or sugar bombs here,) and – in our office – we all prefer something different. Try stocking up on a few of our favorite combinations below and get your own office team to take a healthy parfait break this week. It might be slightly less exciting than a cupcake-slash-donut break, but is guaranteed to make everyone more productive and cheerful til the end of the day!
3 Elements of A Perfect Parfait
The first step is to choose the right yogurt. This means it should be organic (we want to avoid all hormones and antibiotics found in the conventional kind), and made from the milk of grass-fed cows. It must also be properly fermented (proper fermentation decreases lactose levels, increasing digestibility and probiotic levels), and low in sugar (sugar from organic fruits only). Our latest favorite brand is organic and Icelandic, Smári for it’s high calcium and protein content and pesticide-free ingredients. It’s also super thick which is perfect for this kind of recipes. Top choices for vegans include So Delicious coconut yogurt and Stonyfield Organics O’Soy.
The next step is to choose your fruits. We love to pick our fruits based on what is in season at our local farmer’s markets. By following the seasonal calendar – from strawberries and peaches in the summer, to grapes and grapefruit in the fall, to persimmons and pomegranates in the winter, to raspberries and blood oranges in the spring – you will get a wide range of nutrients to benefit all your needs. Always choose organic and pesticide-free.
Raw Nuts/Seeds or Granola
Finally, the last step is to choose your nuts and seeds, and/or granola. We recommend selecting only raw ones, and if possible, sprouted. When nuts, seeds and granola are roasted or baked, the precious fats become damaged, minimizing their benefit to the body, and even causing potential harm. Therefore, by choosing raw versions, the healthy fats remain intact, ready to be utilized by the body for functions ranging from hormone production to skin protection. To go one more step further, pick the sprouted version (also raw). When grains, nuts and seeds are sprouted, their enzymes are activated, increasing the bio-availability of the vitamins and minerals present within.
3 Parfait Combos To Drool Over:
Seed + Berry
Pumpkin Seed and Blueberry: Rich in vitamin E and a wide range of phytonutrients, this combination of seed and berry is your ticket to an ageless body, inside and out. Vitamin E and phytonutrients act as antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants protect from the damaging effects of free radicals, which are the result of toxin exposure. Free radicals damage cells and contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, cancer and the aging process.
Nut + Fruit
Raw Walnut and Kiwi: Rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin K, this food combination is perfect for protecting your ticker. Kiwis and walnuts have been shown to significantly lower your risk for blood clots while reducing the amount of fats (triglycerides) in your blood, thereby helping to protect cardiovascular health overall.
Oat + Seed
Granola and Pomegranate: Packed to the brim with fiber, this oat and fruit seed combination is the answer to a slim waist line. Fiber-rich foods such as these help to boost the metabolism, slow down the digestive process, while also helping to pull toxins from the body – all of which help you reach your weight goals. Just make sure to go light on the amount of granola used, as granola can be a calorie-dense food.