Eating for Life

A colorful, festive treat

The sweet/tart taste of a yogurt parfait makes a healthy dessert.

In today’s typical supermarket dairy case, yogurt is ubiquitous.

Just one company produces 6 million cups of yogurt a day in almost 100 flavors, styles and sizes, including spoon-less versions such as grab-and-go tubes and drinkable, energy-boosting formulations. But yogurt’s popularity and health-conscious aura is relatively recent.

The nomadic tribes of Turkey discovered the joys of tart, fermented milk, and many ancient cultures throughout the Balkans, the Middle East and India have incorporated yogurt in their culinary traditions. Because of its naturally tart flavor, yogurt was a harder sell in the United States.

Although Turkish and Armenian immigrants are credited with bringing yogurt to these shores in the early 1900s, it wasn’t until Danone (Americanized to Dannon) began to market fruit-sweetened yogurt in earnest in the 1970s that Americans began to develop a taste for it.

The Star’s Red, White and Blue Parfaits combine nonfat flavored yogurt with layers of nutrient-rich blueberries and strawberries. The use of fresh frozen blueberries whirled in a food processor lends the yogurt a mousse-like consistency that is perfect (and, coincidentally, the French translation for parfait).

Yogurt has been thought to promote good health since ancient times, and plenty of recent science supports that belief.

Yogurt with live active cultures is credited with helping to improve immune function by promoting the “good” bacteria in the digestive tract. It also contains protein, calcium, phosphorous, potassium and B vitamins, and it’s easier to digest than milk, which is why it’s considered a universal food good for everyone from toddlers to seniors.

•Serving: You can make this parfait in custard cups, but a wine glass makes a fun, pretty presentation. For children, omit parfait procedure and freeze blueberry yogurt mixture in paper cups with wooden sticks.

•Pump it up: To get the most from your yogurt, choose brands that include live, active cultures, including acidophilus and bifidum.

Red, white and blue parfaits

Makes 4 servings

1 cup nonfat blueberry yogurt

1 cup fresh blueberries, frozen (do not thaw to prepare this recipe)

1 cup nonfat vanilla-flavored yogurt

1 cup sliced strawberries

Mint, for garnish

Place blueberry yogurt and frozen blueberries in food processor. Process quickly until smooth. Divide blueberry mixture into 4 small parfait or dessert glasses. Spoon 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt over blueberry mixture in each parfait glass. Layer strawberries over vanilla yogurt. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 134 calories (3 percent from fat), trace total fat (trace saturated fat), 2 milligrams cholesterol, 28 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 80 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.