Sunday, February 1, 2015

Healthy Yummy For the Belly: Homemade Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

After teaching yoga this morning, I decided to chill at home instead with the cats and get myself some much-needed off-mat yin, namely rest. I got some food to-go at a popular local food chain since I didn't want to cook lunch. Unfortunately, I wasn't very happy with the lunch I had, and the food was very very oily and I had to drink very strong Earl Grey Tea to wash out the taste after. Oatmeal would have been better.

Okay, I love food. I love to eat. I don't follow trend diets or have a special diet. I believe in balance, to have everything in moderation and try to eat as much good food as possible. I was vegetarian before and then incorporated seafood in my diet for protein. It kinda worked but with my line of activities, I need to increase my protein intake more. I can say that I really don't have a set diet. I eat salads as I do my steak and sushi. I have fresh fruit and probably some cake. I eat at a raw vegan or vegetarian restaurant and also a burger joint. I try to avoid fast food joints but there are times when okay, I'll have a tub of cheese fries. That way I'm not so much a pain in the ass and life isn't much of a hassle.

Luckily, I have been exposed to a lot of healthy food and recipes, thanks to my friends and teachers as well as the wonderful world of the Internet. There are actually healthy recipes that taste yummy and are not so much of a hassle to make. Just a while ago, I learned from my pole friend Marga a way to preserve bananas so they don't go to waste by day 3 upon purchase by turning brown and soggy - slice them, freeze, and toss in smoothies. I really try as much as possible to make food from home or look for better options to buy food when not at home. It's a tad more expensive than just lining up in a popular fast food joint, but it's better than getting sick and spending money on medical bills and maintenance meds, which aside from bombarding your body with a lot of synthetic chemicals, are also very expensive. An added bonus is, healthier food makes us look younger.

So anyway, after that horrible lunch, I wanted dinner to be very light (a lesson I learned during my yin yoga teacher training), but at the same time very healthy and yummy and again, quick.  So here's what I came up with. I made yogurt fruit parfait, And I had grapes on the side.

This is great as a snack, dessert, or a light meal (for breakfast or dinner). I got one of mason jars and they have been very useful to me because I can now make my homemade green smoothies to go, have infused water with me wherever I want, and make overnight oats perfect for breakfast on days when I have early calltimes. The yogurt fruit parfait is inspired from a favorite snack I have and here's my homemade version:

1 cup yogurt
chia seeds
7-Grain drink, vanilla flavored (you can use almond milk or coconut milk)
Sliced fresh strawberries (you may substitute with fruit of your choice)
to flavor yogurt: cinnamon, honey, nutmeg

Place yogurt in jar. Sweeten with honey if desired and add your cinnamon or nutmeg (this depends on your taste). Stir to make the taste even. Stir in chia seeds and sliced strawberries into the yogurt. add a bit of 7-Grain (or almond/coconut milk) until it's thinned up a bit but not too thin and watery. Stir well. The mixture should resemble oatmeal. Top with granola. Eat!

I used plain yogurt here, but Greek yogurt would be better and thicker. If I used real Greek yogurt, I would prefer using sweeteners like honey (I used organic honey here from Ilog Maria) but you may use muscovado sugar or coconut sugar. As for the milk, I am a bit sensitive to fresh milk, so I prefer using nut or grain milks over cow's milk. I got my 7-Grain in Healthy Options,  Just like smoothies, fruit parfaits make me consume raw fruit like strawberries and peaches better than having them as is.

The granola I used is actually homemade and there are lots of homemade granola recipes found online. I added dried cranberries, almonds, and cacao nibs to my version. I like how the granola gives it that crunch factor so it's not all mushy. Chia adds a bit of texture as well (plus chia seeds are excellent sources of calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein). As of the moment, I get them in these tiny chia shot sachets in Healthy Options.

Mason jars aren't just those them hipster fads. Even when the whole hipster fad goes away, they are really useful in making these snacks (or meals) easier for transport, and would give me more options for food baon to take during shoots, instead of running to buy a big bag of chips at the nearest convenience store.

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