Get the Scoop on Frozen Yogurt

Is this sweet treat healthier than ice cream?

Frozen yogurt shops seem to be popping up on every street corner, which is a strange flashback to the late '80s when my high school friends and I used to meet after school every day for "fro yo." The new wave of frozen yogurt shops offer self-serve, which I like because I am a control freak. And, with a bounty of choices, frozen yogurt is also holding its own in the freezer aisle of the grocery store. 

Yes, frozen yogurt joints appear to be "hotter" than ever. But although I believe frozen yogurt is a great alternative to ice cream, there are five things you must do before you indulge!
1. Read the label: There is a VERY wide variation in calories, fat and sugar among different frozen yogurts. A half cup could run you anywhere from 80-160 calories (that’s a 100 percent difference!) and the sugar and fat can be just as variable. When you're in the freezer section checking out which frozen dessert you want to purchase, be sure to scour the labels for portion size, calories, sugar and fat. Going out? Check to see if your favorite frozen yogurt shop has nutritional information available either at the store or on its website.
2. Measure your portion carefully: The standard portion size for frozen yogurt (or any frozen dessert) is about ½ cup, and sadly that is not a lot. If you know that ½ cup isn't going to do it for you, then measure 1 cup, and be sure to allocate room for the calories and sugar that your portion delivers. And don't do this every time!
3. Skip the toppings: The frozen yogurt shops of today seem to offer more topping options than those of the '80s. While toppings do add nice texture, be aware of just how many calories (most from sugar and saturated fat) these toppings can add to your "light" low-cal yogurt. Be sure to steer clear of the gummy bears, mini M&M's®, toffee pieces, sprinkles, sugared cereal, chocolate chips ... you get the picture. If you really want something on top, add fresh fruit (banana slices or strawberries are a good bet — just make sure they aren’t sitting in sugary syrup); slivered almonds or chopped walnuts; or low-sugar, high-fiber cereal.
4. Don't believe the hype: Here in New York, frozen yogurt shops are on every corner and in every suburban village, with signs advertising how low in calories their product is. However, I am not certain how accurate these numbers are. I tend to believe that the delicious desserts served out of these shops trend higher than the signs indicate. (As a side note, I used to be addicted to Tasti D-Lite™, a frozen dessert that is ubiquitous in NYC. When I finally broke the addiction and stopped indulging in Tasti D, I lost five pounds without even trying! So you do the math.)
5. Don't get addicted: As I mentioned above, my nightly frozen yogurt indulgence was causing my body to hold onto those "last five pounds." When I finally broke the habit, that last five melted away. I believe that it was the sugar in the frozen dessert that was defeating my weight loss efforts. As most of you know, I believe that sugar is most often the cause of stalled weight loss. So, that said, use frozen yogurt as an occasional indulgence, and if you're like me, don't keep it in the house!

Please share your favorite healthy frozen treats with us. We'd love to hear from you!

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