BUILD YOUR OWN YOGURT BOWL >> plus how to select a healthy store-bought cereal

May 19, 2020

This yogurt bowl is quick to assemble making it a fantastic go-to breakfast or energizing afternoon snack. This colorful yogurt bowl will power your brain and body with the perfect balance of protein, fibre-filled carbs, and healthy fats.



You can mix and match ingredients to suit your flavour preferences and what you have available at your grocery store. When building any meal, I consider four elements that I call the Fundamental Four. They include protein, fibre-filled carb, fats, and volume foods. Let’s take a look at how you can customize your combinations by category.

1. PROTEIN

Protein keeps you full and builds and maintains muscle. We're using yogurt for our protein in this bowl!

When choosing a yogurt I like to choose one that is high in protein (>15g) per serving, low in sugar, and low in fat (0-2% M.F.). I opt for a lower fat yogurt knowing that I’ll obtain additional fats from nuts and seeds as a topping!

Plain Greek yogurt and Skyr yogurt are fantastic options as they are high in protein and have no added sugar. You may spot a few grams of sugar on the label but this is the naturally occurring dairy sugar called lactose.


The downside of plain Greek or Skyr yogurt is that they can be quite tart or tangy without any added sweetness. In time, you may find your taste buds prefer the plain. Especially when you add naturally sweet toppings like berries. However, if you’d like to “sweeten-up” your yogurt consider these three hacks:

  1. Opt for flavoured Skyr yogurt like vanilla or berry. Skyr yogurt has far less added sugar than a sweetened Greek yogurt. By opting for Skyr yogurt you’ll reduce the added sugar in your yogurt by half when compared to the Greek version!
  2. Mix plain and flavoured yogurts. I like to mix vanilla Skyr and plain Skyr half and half for ¾ cup (175g) total. While Skyr yogurt is only lightly sweetened, this cuts the added sugar by half!
  3. Mix in some protein powder. If you have a flavoured protein powder that you enjoy, mix about ⅓ scoop (10g) into your plain yogurt alongside 1-2 tablespoons of water. 
  4. Plant based? Purchase a plain coconut yogurt. The coconut yogurt will be low in protein but you can stir in 1/2-1 scoop of your favorite plant-based protein powder to boost the protein intake.

2. VOLUME

Volume foods fill you up. Volume foods are ingredients with few calories in relation to the micronutrients, fibre, and antioxidants they provide. I consider veggies and berries as volume foods! You can visualize this in the photo:

I love to add some type of volume to my yogurt bowl to fill up my stomach and feel more satisfied. Fresh and frozen berries are equally nutritious. Frozen berries are picked at peak ripeness and flash frozen. In fact, frozen berries can be more nutritious than out of season fresh berries. Blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are equally wonderful in a yogurt bowl. So use whichever you prefer or is more cost effective! You can even make homemade chia jam to use as a topping!

3. FATS

Fats play an important role in keeping you full by releasing hunger satisfying hormones. Plus, some healthy fats at meals ensures your skin, hair, and nails are healthy and vibrant! My homemade granola includes nut butter, nuts, and seeds meaning the fat source is built into the granola! If you are using a store-bought cereal, check the Nutrition Facts table to determine the fat content.

If the cereal has <10g of fat per serving it won’t offer the fats you need to support hormones - including the hormones that leave you feeling satisfied after a meal. Reviewing the Nutrition Facts tables below, you will see my recommendation for a high-fibre granola-like cereal is low in fats. If you choose a low-fat granola or cereal, add a few extra nuts, nut butter, and seeds to your bowl! About 2 tablespoons or 1/4 quarter cup (1/2 to 1 ounce) is a great portion for most people.* As a bonus, plant based fats offer additional fibre to support digestion and stable blood sugars. 

*Serving size are dependent on your personal goals and energy needs. If you need help determining your nutrition needs, we recommend consulting 1:1 with a Registered Dietitian.

4. FIBRE-FILLED CARBS

Fibre-filled carbs provide a sustained energy source for the brain and the body. The fibre in the carb sources slows the digestion and breakdown of carbohydrates into sugars that enter the bloodstream for energy. For the yogurt bowl, I opt for a granola with at least 3g of fibre per 20-25g of total carbohydrates. I prefer to make my own homemade granola with wholesome ingredients including oats for fibre-filled carbs but also a variety of nuts, nut butter, and seeds.

However, if you’d like to purchase a cereal I recommend Kashi or Special K Vanilla protein. Both of these cereals are low in added sugar and higher in fibre. Because the Kashi and Special K Protein cereal are low in fat, I recommend adding some extra fats to your meals like nuts or seeds as suggested above.

If you are exploring food labels for the perfect cereal as a fibre-filled carb choice, consider opting for an option that is:

  • Low in sugar. Read Nutrition Facts to opt for <8g of sugar per 20-25g of total carbs.
  • High in fibre. Read Nutrition Facts to opt for at least 3g of fibre per 20-25g of total carbs.
  • Low in fat. You can add your own fats to your yogurt bowl from wholesome options like nuts and seeds.

For both the Kashi and Special K we see the serving is 1 1/4 cup and 1 cup with 40g and 34g of total carb respectively. You can adjust the serving to 1/2-2/3 cups of cereal to reduce the total carbs from cereal to 20-25g. This is a great amount of carbohydrate to aim for as you'll be adding protein from yogurt, fats from nuts and seeds, and volume from strawberries to balance out the meal and increase the volume.

*Note: while both of these cereals are higher in protein at 12g for the full serving, I consider a protein choice a food with at least 15g or more of protein. Because I recommend a half portion, you'd only obtain about 6g of protein from the cereal. This isn't enough to count as a protein choice to build and repair muscles and keep you full!

In the photo, I used 3/4 cup total yogurt (equal part vanilla and plain), homemade granola, and strawberries. The Nutrition Facts, ingredients, and directions are included below.

Nutrition Facts

Protein: 22g
Fat: 8g
Carbohydrates: 46g
Fibre: 6g
Calories: 332

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup (175g) Skyr yogurt (plain & vanilla mixed)
  • 1 cup (150g) strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup (30g) Kashi Go Lean cereal
  • 2 tbsp (15g) nut or seed of choice
  • Optional (fresh mint)

Directions:

  1. Layer your choice of yogurt into the bowl. Consider plain Greek or Skyr yogurt, a mixed of flavoured and plain Skyr yogurt, or your favorite protein powder stirred into a plain, high-protein yogurt.
  2. Top the bowl with a large handful of berries. Fresh or frozen are equally nutritious. You can even make homemade chia jam as an innovative volume-packed topping.
  3. Sprinkle the homemade granola over the yogurt bowl. Alternatively, opt for a store-bought, high-fibre cereal (eg. Kashi). If you opt for cereal, you may want to add a few extra nuts or seeds for healthy fats. I'd recommend 1/2 to 1 ounce. Fats are especially important if you are enjoying your yogurt bowl as a meal rather than a snack.
  4. Garnish with fresh mint if you have it!
  5. You can always dial the portions up or down based on your personal goals!

If you made your own version of a yogurt bowl, be sure to tag us on Instagram @vitalitynutrition_

❤ Courtney

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