How to Build a Better Yogurt Bowl

How to Build a Better Yogurt Bowl  ~  A yogurt bowl might not sound like anything new and exciting, but a slightly different approach can turn this easy breakfast into a new favorite — and it just so happens to be healthy, filling, and undeniably satisfying!

How to Build a Better Yogurt Bowl  ~  A yogurt bowl might not sound like anything new and exciting, but a slightly different approach can turn this easy breakfast into a new favorite — and it just so happens to be healthy, filling, and undeniably satisfying!

 

We’ve all heard of Taco Tuesdays and fish on Fridays, but have you ever heard of Maypo Mondays?  Believe it or not, this was a real thing at the summer camp my kids have attended for years.

No surprise, this mushy, maple-flavored oatmeal cereal was not a hit with a bunch of hungry boys. Rye flour is the second ingredient on the label, and I suspect its pungent flavor may have been the culprit.

Perhaps to uphold its reputation for serving great-tasting food most of the time–or possibly to fend off a growing threat of rebellion–the camp eventually retired Maypo Mondays in favor of yogurt and granola bowls.  Alliteration may be lacking, but the campers were happy.

After my sons reported enjoying this simple combination, I started serving it regularly at home as a convenient, healthy breakfast option, adding seasonal fruit to the mix.  It’s quick, easy, and provides high-protein staying power.  Everyone is more than happy to dig in, and it can be taken on the go if needed.

A logical question at this point would be whether a yogurt bowl is really a recipe?  We can all throw together a bowl of yogurt, fruit, and assorted toppings, and it will taste pretty good.

But after mixing many, many of these creamy, fruity, crunchy combos, I’ve come up with a short list of add-ins and tips, which makes it easy to create a truly satisfying, customizable bowl.  THIS is an easy, good-for-you breakfast that makes waking up in the morning a little more exciting!

The foundation itself is nothing more than store-bought yogurt, but I have an extra tip for those who may have eliminated yogurt from their diet because of dairy intolerance.  Recently, I read that approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose (a naturally occurring sugar in milk) after infancy.

That figure doesn’t include those who have trouble digesting casein, a milk protein.  If you’re someone who has more GI distress or discomfort after eating nonfat Greek yogurt than a bowlful of ice cream, the milk protein may be the culprit.  (If you’ve eliminated yogurt because this is you and the non-dairy yogurts you’ve tried don’t taste so great, note my favorite non-dairy yogurt mentioned below – and feel free to comment if you can recommend another brand.)

For those looking for the cleanest, healthiest start to the day, I’ve linked a few recipes for things like granola and chia jam.  Store-bought favorites may certainly be used instead.

How to Build a Better Yogurt Bowl  ~  A yogurt bowl might not sound like anything new and exciting, but a slightly different approach can turn this easy breakfast into a new favorite — and it just so happens to be healthy, filling, and undeniably satisfying!

I like a peanut butter and jelly theme, but you might prefer something tropical or “very berry.”  The beauty of this simple breakfast is that it’s 100% customizable, easy to throw together, and can be taken to new heights with a few make-ahead staples.  Like what you might ask?

  • Granola  ~  You can absolutely use your favorite store-bought brand, you can go Paleo with a nuts and seeds option, or you can make your own favorite recipe (⬅︎that’s mine).  Here’s a great peanut butter option, and I have a new twist on that in the works!
  • Yogurt  ~  I like plain Greek–and I prefer 2% or whole for the added flavor and staying power–but you can use your favorite.  Lately, however, I have been enjoying So Delicious plain coconut yogurt.  It’s the best non-dairy option I’ve tried.  (Worth noting: while I find the plain option to be flavorful and delicious, I do not care for their vanilla option.  To me the plain has a hint of sweetness while the vanilla tastes somehow off.  Feel free to recommend your favorite.)
  • Fruit ~  This is the way to add endless flavor and heft to your bowl.  Vary it by season and use your imagination.  Frozen and thawed pomegranate seeds are a new find for me, and they provide an excellent option when fresh fruit options are limited.
  • Jam ~  Another wonderful alternative when fresh fruit options are low, you can use your favorite low-sugar option or whip up a super easy chia jam.  (I have several recipes, but this is a go-to.)
  • Optional toppings ~ Nuts, seeds, nut butters, toasted coconut, cacao nibs, a few chocolate chips or a swirl of Nutella for something decadent. There are endless ways to customize and crunch up your bowl so that it’s anything but boring and ordinary!

Some complementary recipes that may inspire:

How to Build a Better Yogurt Bowl  ~  A yogurt bowl might not sound like anything new and exciting, but a slightly different approach can turn this easy breakfast into a new favorite — and it just so happens to be healthy, filling, and undeniably satisfying!

When I go with my favorite PB&J theme – and fresh fruit can truly take the place of the jam – I like to finish with a light sprinkle of sea salt.  Trust me on this.  It provides the slightest sweet-and-salty note which plays so well with the peanut butter.  Also, for those who like sweetness but are mindful of added sugars and syrups, a pinch of salt actually enhances naturally sweet ingredients.

When using nut butters, you can add a glob on top and stir or you can melt the nut butters in 20-secong increments until they are of drizzling consistency.  Peanut butter granola will provide a similar flavor. (For those who may be interested, my peanut butter granola recipe is in the final stages of perfecting!)

Super simple three-ingredient chia jam ⇩⇩ has become my go-to way to make healthier jam in minutes.  It’s also a practical way to make the most of slightly overripe fruit and works very well with frozen berries, too.

How to Build a Better Yogurt Bowl  ~  A yogurt bowl might not sound like anything new and exciting, but a slightly different approach can turn this easy breakfast into a new favorite — and it just so happens to be healthy, filling, and undeniably satisfying!

For the sake of being able to see the individual components, I originally photographed the yogurt bowl with less fruit than I typically use.  And then I felt the need for a do-over so you could see what my morning bowl really looks like!

Lately I’ve been adding half a banana, a small peach, and blueberries or chia jam.  The seasonal variety keeps breakfast fresh and interesting.🍑🍍🍌🍒🍓🥥🍎🍐 Also, for a little bit of everything in each bite, I stir it all up and then add a final sprinkle of granola.

How to Build a Better Yogurt Bowl  ~  A yogurt bowl might not sound like anything new and exciting, but a slightly different approach can turn this easy breakfast into a new favorite — and it just so happens to be healthy, filling, and undeniably satisfying!

You can eyeball all of these ingredients, but the following recipe provides a handy framework for what would be considered an average serving size.  I tend to keep my bowls simple, relying on a favorite granola, seasonal fruit, and sometimes a spoonful of jam to add flavor and crunch to the yogurt base.

That said, the recipe reflects the many ingredients that are welcoming to these bowls, offering a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast to please every palate and changing mood!

How to Build a Better Yogurt Bowl
Yield: 1 serving
Think of this recipe as a flexible framework to create healthy new combinations with appealing textures and flavors. I use less yogurt than is customary, as I think of it as the glue that binds the remaining ingredients.
The base:
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup yogurt of choice*
The fruit (choose 1-3): 
  • 1 small or half a large banana, chopped or sliced
  • 1/4 cup berries of choice (out of season, frozen blueberries are a good option)
  • 1 small peach (or half a large), pitted, peeled, and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple or mango
  • 2-3 tablespoons pomegranate arils (thawed frozen work surprisingly well**)
The extras:
  • 1-2 tablespoons jam of choice (this easy chia jam offers a healthy option)
  • 1-2 tablespoons nut butter of choice (melted if not soft enough to stir in)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped nuts or seeds of choice, shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal, chia seeds, cacao nibs, chocolate chips, hemp hearts
The crunch:
Instructions

Spoon the yogurt into a cereal or other single-size serving bowl that allows plenty of room for stirring.

Load in the fruit (I like to chop it into small pieces for more fruitiness in every bite), and then stir to evenly combine.

Top with the desired extras, stirring again to incorporate.  Finally, sprinkle the granola overtop.  I leave the granola on top in order to ensure good crunch with every fruity, creamy bite!

Notes

*I prefer the lesser amount of yogurt and think of it as a binder of the fruit, granola, and other add-ins.

*I enjoy 2% or whole milk plain Greek yogurt.  I think the flavor is smoother and I find the reasonable amount of fat provides staying power.  Sometimes I opt for a non-dairy alternative, and so far my favorite is So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt.  It does not taste strongly of coconut and is light, flavorful, and pleasantly creamy.  (Note: I much prefer the plain variety over the vanilla; and there is an unsweetened option that is different from the plain.  The latter has a hint of sweetness, the former is typical tart unsweetened yogurt.  All are regular yogurt, not Greek.)

**For an effortless or out-of-season way to enjoy pomegranate, frozen bags of just the arils offer an unbelievably good option.  I sprinkle some into a small bowl the night before and let them defrost (no need to cover) in the fridge overnight.  Despite being frozen, they maintain their bright flavor and juicy crunch.  Frozen blueberries offer another good out-of-season option.

***Jam is a great option when whole fruit options are low.  I have frozen the linked chia jam recipe many times with excellent results.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

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