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As a household with two growing kids, snacks are one thing that I always need to stack up on. I never know when my kids will pull my sleeve and say, “Amma, my tummy is hungry”. Usually when they do that, they are not really hungry - they would have just finished their lunch or dinner –it just means that they are craving something unhealthy and something sweet, preferably a dessert. When they have that dialogue on their tongues, I know for certain, out of experience, that it is not a packet of chips or a salty snack that they are looking for. So many times, the three of us creep stealthily and guiltily into the kitchen to quickly whip up some cookies or a chocolate mug cake or make some fudge. However, to avoid these indulgences, I have come up with healthy alternatives to satiate these sweet cravings.
In summers, my freezer is usually stocked up with dozens of popsicles made from various homemade juices or zero sugar juices. The ice cold goodness on a stick makes my daughters swoon in delight and I am equally thrilled as they usually contain the juice of a fruit and small pieces of different fruits. There are some fruits that my kids will never touch but unknown to them, these fruits are diced and added into the popsicles. The watermelon popsicles with chunks of apple and pineapple are a huge hit at home and so are the sugar free apple juice popsicles with pieces of guava and mango.
Summer or winter, the one thing we always have in the fridge, something that my entire family loves, is fruit yogurt. We have them just like that or freeze them or drizzle a little chocolate sauce on it or add some colorful sprinkles. I especially enjoy the strawberry, blueberry and mango flavored yogurt. And my fridge is always stocked up with at least a few of each of these flavors.
When my kids came along, this was one thing that I always carried in the baby bag as a snack for a short trip. This was what I fooled them into thinking was ice cream till they grew older and wiser. Sigh. But despite the fact that they love their unhealthy ice creams as well, fruit yogurts are something that they dip into at any point in the day with my wholehearted approval.
The taste for fruit yogurt is something I developed when I lived outside India and for the longest time after returning, I would look yearningly at the imported ones in the supermarket and shudder at their prices. As I have always been trying to lose weight, fruit yogurt has been a great and healthy alternative to an ice cream and when Indian brands started coming up with yogurts locally, I was thrilled. However, the initial few ones that made an appearance in the market were runny and watery. Then I discovered Nestlé a+ Grekyo which is as good as the the Greek yogurts available in the international markets. Since it is a Greek yogurt it is much thicker in consistency compared to the usual fruit yogurt available. With the perfect flavor of fruit and small pieces of fruit to boot, this is the perfect yogurt and dessert for my entire family. And it is not just the taste that I am talking of. In terms of nutritional value as well, the Grekyo range of yogurt packs a solid punch. It is low in fat and hence makes the perfect, guilt-free dessert, it has additional milk proteins that make it a great source of protein and naturally, it has a high calcium content (about 34%/100 grams) as well. Furthermore, yogurt aid in digestion and the best part is that it adds up to a mere 104 calories and 2 grams of fat / 100 grams as opposed to an ice cream that contains at least double that.
As a family, we are a dahi-crazy bunch. Yogurt with almost every meal is a must. If we can get it as a dessert and I have managed to pack in a few fruits into them as well, then I think I can sigh with some relief.