Cheap, Fast, Good for You and Pretty? (aka the “Upside Down Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt” Post)

If you ask, I’ll tell you that I don’t like breakfast. That given the opportunity, I will choose lunch over breakfast eight times out of 10.

But what I actually mean is: I mostly just don’t like breakfast’s attributes, like the bad (early) timing of the meal, the general shovel-rush involved and breakfast’s propensity for empty, sugar-laden calories that are quick to spike — and quick to plummet. I need protein, I need dairy, I need fiber that doesn’t come in a nasty, powdered mix or meal supplement like Muscle Milk. It’s early and I’m cranky and yes, the food has also gotta look good.

Thankfully, there exists the fool-proof combination of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt plus granola:

When you turn the yogurt upside down into a bowl, the fruit-on-the-bottom becomes the fruit on the top, a pink, strawberry-flecked glaze. Add to that a couple of shakes of granola, dotted with nuts and dried fruit, and, instant success.

Beautiful, and, more importantly, good for you: A Liberté Méditerranée strawberry yogurt and a serving of Bear Naked‘s fruit and nut granola collectively pack 2g fiber, 9g protein and 20% calcium  into just 490 calories. Now that’s breakfast.

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Breakfast: The La Yogurt Exploratory

photo(2)Part of foraging for food in the modern world is trying new products, like this La Yogurt “blended lowfat yogurt” (not sure what that means). Given the shape of the container, and the suggestively French name, my first impression is that the yogurt is sort of a Yoplait copy-cat, aimed at the same demographic buying mid-range grocery store yogurts.

One thing it certainly is not is French: La Yogurt is made by Johanna Foods out of Flemington, NJ. After you’ve fallen for Greek yogurt, nearly every other type of yogurt tastes a little bit like mush. But La Yogurt, in particular, feels almost gelatinous on the tongue, and, wait, is there … do I detect … Yes, every bite of this raspberry yogurt ends with a faint aftertaste of aspartame.

Breakfast: Lowfat Yoga Bunny Pret Pot (Say What?)

Yeah, that’s actually what it’s called. Kind of cute, right? And totally ridiculous at the same time.

The Low Fat Yoga Bunny Pret Pot ($2.54, 240 cal.) beat out Pret a Manger‘s poppy-seed frosted orange and lemon muffin ($2.49, 600 cal.), and the prettier Pret pots, in which the yogurt is layered with colorful fruit compotes and big chunks of granola.

photo(6)The cheddar and apple slim (half) size — 305 calories and $2.59 — did give the Yoga Bunny a good run for its money, but at the end of the day, Yoga Bunny won with a play my heart: I have fond memories of waking up at the Hoxton Hotel in London not too long ago to discover a complimentary breakfast bag hanging on the door that contained water, a banana and … a Pret pot.

No doubt the Yoga Bunny Pret Pot is filled with good stuff — Ronnybrook Farm yogurt, slivered almonds, julienned green apples, dried cranberries and raisins — but what the description doesn’t tell you is that the cranberries and raisins plump up a bit in the yogurt, still retaining the sweetness of their dried forms. For a moment I mistook are-hydrated cranberry for a cherry, and that’s a compliment.

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TIP: Add honey. I topped off my Pret pot with a healthy pour before heading back to the office, and it was absolutely delicious.

Breakfast: The “Best of Both Worlds” Fage Post

When I wrote a story on Greek yogurt a few months ago, the photodietitian I interviewed recommended mixing in fresh fruit to give a little sweetness to the yogurt, rather than buying the ones with the strawberry, cherry or peach fruit preserves attached in a cute little side compartment. In principle, I agree with her: Less sugar, more natural fruit goodness, more ounces of yogurt per container. In actuality, the yogurt is too sour for me with just fresh fruit. It needs honey, or a Sugar in the Raw packet, or something.

Today I added a handful of blueberries in to the yogurt on top of the peach preserves — the yogurt was a great vehicle for the berries (not all shown; kept replenishing as I ate), and I got the sweetness quotient. Mmm.

Breakfast: The Expiration Dates Do Matter Post

photoTwo-part breakfast story today:

I didn’t believe that granola expires (this little package has a Sept 2007 expiration date), but apparently it does. A year-and-a-half past optimal eating conditions, the granola and contents were stale in that soft, a-little-mushy way. Really, not so good. I ate a few pieces until I was convinced it was true, that granola actually can expire, then finally stopped.

I turned to trusty backup, Fage 2% Greek yogurt with jammy mix-in, this time peach, which didn’t expire until sometime in June. As in 2009.

Breakfast: Friday, April 24, 2009

Best of breakfast plans foiled!

Was going to go for classy eggs, but Dean & Deluca’s breakfast grill closes at 10a… On the other hand I could have purchased an overpriced, meatless Caesar salad at 10:45a.

Instead I’m opting for one of my standbys, the question being, which to choose?

COST: $2.50
PREP TIME: lost trip to D&D