With the kids home from school, it’s probably pretty stressful to make sure that they are eating well, eating enough, and that they aren’t burning down the house. For the month of July, we’ll be focusing on affordable, healthy, and fun kid-friendly snacks that you can make for the little ones (and for yourself, of course) without causing credit problems. Parfaits are a fantastic way to use the abundant fresh produce on sale right now.
A parfait is a layered snack that uses yogurt, granola, and various fruits to create a pretty yet tasty treat. This is a great way to get the kids involved, because you can put out the ingredients and let them make their own. All you need are clear glasses (mason jars add a classy look), the ingredients, and spoons. This is also a great make-ahead dessert, because you can put them together the night before and let them sit in the fridge.
In the summer, berries tend to be cheaper and on sale. You can get juicy strawberries and sweet blueberries by the quart at grocery stores for only a few dollars. You can also cut up bananas (on sale this week for 39 cents a pound) as a layer to stretch your dollar a bit further. Canned fruit is also a possibility, but fresh fruit is healthier and if purchased on sale, can be cheaper. I like to go to the “clearance” section of my grocery store, which always has overripe or bruised fruit marked down significantly. I can use that fruit immediately in a parfait after cutting out the bruises. Sometimes, the fruit is on clearance simply because it fell out of its packaging. This is a great place to find produce bargains.
For some crunch, keep toasted nuts and granola on hand for layering. Don’t have either around? Make some! Granola is very easy to make, as long as you have oats in the house. Don’t have the time or energy to make granola? Why not use any boxed cereal you have in the house? Cornflakes or Rice Krispies are ideal (and cheap) for parfaits, while the added fruit and yogurt make them healthier than if eaten like regular cereal.
For the creamy parfait filling that holds everything together, I prefer to use 2 percent Greek yogurt. Nonfat works as well, but I like the added creaminess that comes from the 2 percent. You can add vanilla extract or honey to add flavor, as well as a dash of cocoa powder or cinnamon. The Greek yogurt packs more protein and is more filling than regular yogurt.
Get creative! Start with a layer of yogurt, add a layer of fruit, then more yogurt, then a layer of crunch. You will be amazed at how many items in your pantry will taste great in a parfait. Use crumbled graham crackers, coconut flakes, raisins, peanuts, or whatever else you come across that you want to try. Your kids will love that they can customize, and you’ll love the easy cleanup and nutritious snack that cost you next to nothing to provide.
For an adult parfait, try macerating the berries with mint and a little rum. You could also drizzle the layers with limoncello or Grand Marnier.