are yogurt parfaits healthy?

The short answer – it depends. Most yogurt parfaits are filled with some kind of yogurt, layered with fruit and granola, and packed with protein and other nutrients. Yogurt parfaits are a healthy breakfast or snack to eat when on-the-go. However, they’re not all created equal.

We will review two food chains, Mcdonalds and Panera and what’s healthy (and not) about their parfait.

Mcdonalds Fruit 'N Yogurt Parfait (1 serving size = 9 oz)

What’s in it?
1) low fat yogurt: cultured pasteurized grade A reduced fat milk, sugar, modified corn starch, fructose, whey protein concentrate, gelatin, corn starch, natural flavor, potassium sorbate (preservative)

2) strawberries: strawberries, konjac flour

3) blueberries: blueberries

4) low fat crunchy granola: whole grain rolled oats, brown sugar, crisp rice (rice flour, barley malt extract, salt), sugar, corn syrup, sunflower oil, salt, baking soda, citric acid, cinnamon, crushed oranges, natural flavor.


REVIEW: Although Mcdonalds use preservatives and ingredients to improve the texture of their parfait, the good news is Mcdonald’s parfait does have some nutritional benefits. It’s a low fat, low sodium food with a small amount of calcium and vitamin A. However, this should be eaten with caution (as a dessert) due to the high sugar content. With 22g of sugar in 1 serving (or 5.5 teaspoons), it’s safe to say, Mcdonald’s adds a ton of sugar in their parfaits. And, most of the sugar is in their granola.

Love parfaits? Keep reading for a few tips.

There are a few options:

1) skip the granola and just eat the yogurt and fruit

2) save this as a dessert (it’s more dessert-like)

3) make your own yogurt parfait.

Panera (1 serving size = 8 oz)

Made with:

1. whole milk plain greek yogurt:cultured pasteurized milk, S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus
2. Fresh strawberries and blueberries
3. honey
4. granola: rolled oats, maple syrup, pecans, coconut, sugar, soybean oil, honey, brown sugar, butter, natural flavor, molasses


REVIEW: Although it is slightly smaller in size compared to Mcdonalds, Panera has 150 more calories, 8g more sugar, 11g more protein, and 2g more fiber than Mcdonald’s parafait! The higher calories, protein, sugar, etc doesn’t necessarily mean “bad,” it’s just the type of ingredients Panera used.

For instance, Panera used whole milk, which will certainly contribute to an increase in the nutrient profile versus Mcdonalds used low fat yogurt. In the Panera parfait, the high sugar is from granola.

Same recommendations as above, there are a few options:

1) skip the granola and just eat the yogurt and fruit

2) save this as a dessert (it’s more dessert-like)

3) make your own yogurt parfait

VERDICT: Eat both sparingly. Both options are not considered wholesome and healthy, but an OK “dessert.” Or, if you can’t resist, at the very least, try to steer clear of the granola.

But, wait!

There’s another option, one that’s cheaper and healthier. Have you ever tried to make your own yogurt parfait?

Everything you need is listed below. Granola stores extremely well in the refrigerator for weeks.

I blended my yogurt parfait and added it back as the yogurt layer (see purple liquid).

Healthy Homemade Granola


1 1/2 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries

1/2 cup of halved almonds

1/3 cup chopped cashews

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 225F. Mix oats, coconut, cranberries, almonds, cashews, brown sugar, and cinnamon together.

2. Using a separate bowl, mix oil and maple syrup together.

3. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until wet mixture is evenly distributed.

4. Spread a thin layer of granola onto baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20-30 minutes.

If you found this useful, please comment below. If not, please let me know what you would like to read.

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