Building your own tasty snack from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult. Parfaits can be packed with protein, fiber and other nutrients while having few calories and small amounts of saturated fat. Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services shares four tried-and-true parfait recipes perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack.
Peachy Protein Parfait:
- ½ cup Daisy 2% Cottage Cheese (90 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 13 grams protein, 100 mg calcium)
- 4 oz. Dole Diced Peaches, no sugar added (1 single serving container) – (30 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 1 gram fiber, 0 gram protein, 0 mg calcium)
- 2 Tbsp. pistachios (24 nuts) – (80 calories, 0.5 gram saturated fat, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 20 mg calcium)
Layer cottage cheese and peaches and top with pistachios.
- 200 calories
- 2 g saturated fat
- 3 g fiber
- 17 g protein
- 120 mg calcium
Quark* with Crunch:
- 6 oz. Elli Vanilla Bean Quark (1 single serving container) – (80 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 14 grams protein, 150 mg calcium)
- ½ cup Kashi Go Lean Crisp (Cinnamon Crumble) – (120 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 6 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 40 mg calcium)
- 2 Tbsp. pecans (9 halves, chopped and toasted, if desired) – (98 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein, 10 mg calcium)
Mix together Kashi Go Lean Crisp with pecans and layer with Quark.
- 298 calories
- 1 g saturated fat
- 7 g fiber
- 22 g protein
- 200 mg calcium
*Quark (or qvark) is a mild and creamy fresh cheese of European origin. It is high in protein and low in fat. Elli Quark is available in a variety of flavors.
Berry Bliss Parfait:
- 3 oz. (1 single serving container) Oikos Triple Zero Greek Vanilla Yogurt (120 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 6 grams fiber, 15 grams protein, 150mg calcium)
- 2 Tbsp. almonds (14 almonds, chopped and toasted if desired) – (80 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 35mg calcium)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed blackberries (96 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 7 grams fiber, 1 grams protein, 0mg calcium)
Mix Greek Yogurt and berries and top with almonds.
- 296 calories
- 1 grams saturated fat
- 15 grams fiber
- 20 grams protein
- 185 mg calcium
Grandma’s Granola-Walnut Parfait:
- 6 oz. (1 single serving container) Yoplait Original French Vanilla Yogurt (150 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 6 grams of protein, 200mg calcium)
- 2 Tbsp. Nature’s Path Love Crunch Apple Crumble granola (70 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein, 10mg calcium)
- 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (7 halves, toasted if desired) – (93 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, 0mg calcium)
Layer yogurt and granola, top with walnuts.
- 313 calories
- 2 grams saturated fat
- 1 gram fiber
- 10 grams protein
- 210 mg calcium
For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.
By Gillian Gatewood, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services
A familiar breakfast darling, oats come in many varieties sure to please a range of taste and texture preferences (find your favorites here). As a standout member of the grain family, oats seldom have their bran or germ removed in processing. Therefore the majority of oats used in our food supply are likely to be whole grains. Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services has long promoted the many health benefits of oats supported by credible research:
- Fiber-rich oats are slow to digest, making you feel fuller longer. This in turn may help control weight.
- Research has shown the soluble fiber found in oats is associated with helping lower LDL cholesterol and controlling blood sugar levels. Inclusion of oats in a balanced diet may therefore help reduce risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Oats are a source of phytochemicals (numerous polyphenols jointly classified as avenanthramides), which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-itching agents to the body when ingested.
- The cosmetic industry has been known to harness the anti-itching properties of oats. The botanical name for oats, “avena,” is where the company Aveeno derived its name.
- Cool temperatures and plentiful rainfall make ideal growing conditions for oats. The world’s top producers of oats are Russia, Canada, the United States, Finland and Poland.
- Rolled oats, a.k.a. “old fashioned oats,” and instant oats differ from their whole and steel cut siblings in that they have been steamed and rolled flat. This process decreases the cooking time but not significantly the nutritional value.
- Oats are a gluten-free whole grain but are often cross-contaminated with gluten during processing. Those with diagnosed celiac disease should opt for certified gluten-free oats after confirmation of disease control by their doctor.
Oats are a tried-and-true breakfast staple. Keep your breakfast game strong and check out this scrumptious oat recipe from Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.
To learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.
Pumpkin is a key ingredient in many holiday recipes. Did you know pumpkins are really a fruit, and the flowers are edible? They are 90 percent water and a good source of fiber. The bright orange color of pumpkin is a clear sign that it is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene, which is eventually converted to vitamin A in the body. Beta- carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and may protect against heart disease. Pumpkin is also a terrific source of potassium.
When it comes to pumpkin production, Illinois smashes the competition. About 90-95 percent of the processed pumpkins in the United States come from Illinois. Morton, Ill. is known as the pumpkin capital of the world. Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the U.S. is available in October. When it comes to the pumpkin market, Libby’s takes the cake…or in this case, the pie or parfait. Approximately 5,000 acres are planted each year exclusively for Libby’s. Pumpkins can be boiled, steamed, baked, roasted and microwaved.
There is a difference between pumpkins you eat and ornamental pumpkins. Ornamental pumpkins possess decorative appeal. Bright orange, smooth flesh pumpkins are perfect for carving. A few varieties offer uniquely colored flesh or warty texture in an array of colors. Look for pumpkins labeled as “pie pumpkins” when purchasing pumpkins for consumption.
Pumpkin Nutrition Facts: 1 cup cooked
- Calories: 49
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbohydrate: 12 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Potassium: 564 mg
- Vitamin A: 2650 IU
This Pumpkin Parfait recipe is delicious! It is thick, creamy and light, and a perfect addition to your holiday and winter dessert menu.
Article provided by Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.
By Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services
Is there really such thing as healthier pasta? Absolutely! From a nutrition standpoint, many types of pasta have a lot to offer as long as you know about smarter options and correct portion sizes. So, pasta lovers, before you pull out your cooking pot, learn what to put in your grocery cart.
Health Benefits of Pasta
Energy: Carbohydrates found in pasta convert to glucose, which is your body’s prime energy source. Selecting complex carbohydrates such as those found in whole grain pasta offers a slower release of sugar, which keeps you fuller longer. Look for higher fiber varieties.
Vitamins: White pasta products are stripped of their whole grain component and then enriched (nutrients are added back in) with folic acid, iron and several B vitamins. Whole grain pasta is superior to white and is naturally higher in fiber.
Heart Healthy: Naturally low in sodium and fat, pasta can be a heart healthy choice. Too much sodium and fat can cause higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels which contribute to inflammation, heart disease and other health problems.
Protein: This is a bonus feature found in some of the “newer” pasta varieties containing legumes, chickpeas and edamame. These offer a noteworthy amount of protein–in some cases, as much as what is found in 2-4 ounces of cooked chicken or fish.
Different Pasta Options
Think outside the pasta box by trying different varieties. Look for higher fiber and protein numbers. A standard serving is 2 oz. (dry) which makes 1 cup cooked, averaging 200 calories. If you’re calorie conscious, try not to consume more than this amount.
Nutritional Guide for Pasta Types (per 1 cup cooked):
|Fiber (g)||Protein (g)|
|Whole wheat pasta||6||7|
|White wheat pasta||6||6|
Below are the specifics with brands and their comparison to white pasta:
Veggie Pasta (i.e. Ronzoni) – Don’t be fooled by the “veggies.” The spinach and zucchini puree don’t add anything to the fiber value, matching the 2 grams of fiber found in white pasta. Note there is one extra gram of protein.
Quinoa Pasta (i.e. Ancient Harvest) – Made from a blend of corn and the “ancient” grain quinoa, this pasta is gluten-free for those who are sensitive to gluten. Since it’s a blend of these grains, it is not as high in protein as quinoa itself, but it does have a more desirable texture. The same amount of quinoa has 8 grams of protein per serving as compared to 4 grams in this product.
Whole-Wheat Pasta (i.e. Barilla) – Made from 100 percent whole wheat, one cup cooked has about the same protein as white pasta but has three times as much fiber.
White-Wheat Pasta (i.e. Barilla White Fiber) – White wheat is actually a whole grain with the same fiber count as whole wheat. It’s lighter in color and milder in flavor, much like white pasta, which makes it an appealing choice.
Protein Pasta (i.e. Barilla) – This pasta is made from a blend of wheat (but not whole wheat), oats and legumes. The legumes drive up the protein to 10 grams per cup and the fiber is double that of white pasta.
Chickpea Pasta (i.e. Banza Chickpea Shells) – This clever take on pasta is high in fiber and protein thanks to chickpeas and pea protein. One serving has an impressive 8 grams of fiber and 14 grams of protein (as much as in 2 oz. of cooked chicken).
Edamame Pasta (i.e. Seapoint Farms) – Power-packed with protein and fiber and made exclusively from soybeans, edamame pasta is loaded with more protein (27 grams) than any other on this list.
Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionists agree that one of the best tomato sauces is made by Cucina Antica. Hard to beat in both taste and nutrition, it is widely available in stores and online. Use this breakdown for the Cucina Antica Tomato Basil Sauce to compare against other sauces. The main components to look for are fewer calories and less sodium, but it’s also helpful to look at smaller amounts of sugar.
Cucina Antica Tomato Basil Sauce: Classico Tomato & Basil Red Sauce:
½ cup serving ½ cup serving
40 calories 45 calories
1.5 grams fat 0.5 grams fat
240 mg sodium 400 mg sodium
6 grams carbohydrate 8 grams carbohydrate
1 gram sugar 5 grams sugar
Partner Pasta with Healthy Options
- To save calories and add nutritional value, swap out half of the pasta called for in a recipe for double the vegetables. So instead of 2 cups of cooked pasta, use 1 cup of pasta and 2 cups of vegetables such as zucchini, carrots or broccoli. This adds volume and lots of filling fiber to your plate and reduces the overall calorie count.
- Add a lean protein such as diced chicken or extra lean ground turkey breast. You can also go vegetarian with edamame or dried beans to pump up the protein in the dish. Serve with a large salad for extra quantity and color.
- As an alternative to sauce, lightly drizzle with heart healthy olive oil, toss in fresh or dried herbs and garlic and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese. This makes for a delicious lower sodium dish.