Motivated Monday – Healthiest Frozen Yogurt Chains
Reviewing the Nutritional Data of Chain Frozen Yogurt
Because I’ve been extremely curious, and out of service to you, my dear readers, I painstakingly looked up the nutritional information for all the chain frozen yogurt shops where this is available. The first thing that I learned is that these places all have very similar nutritional information, generally. So if you’re stopping by a random yogurt shop and you can keep the toppings in check, you can enjoy a nice treat of four ounces or a half cup of yogurt for 120 calories or less.
I also looked at the protein content, because I am always trying to get more protein in my diet to supplement the strength training that I do. And I looked at the calcium content and how natural that the frozen yogurt recipes were.
Highest Protein Yogurts
- TCBY Greek Honey Vanilla frozen yogurt has 100 calories, 8 grams of protein and 20% of your recommended daily calcium in a 1/2 cup. TCBY says this is the first (and best) of the greek frozen yogurts. This yogurt seems to have it’s protein boosted by the addition of whey protein, which is fine by me. Of all the yogurts, this would be my pick.
- u-swirl also has a Greek Honey frozen yogurt (and three other greek flavors) that hits 90 cals, 7 grams of protein, and 16% of your calcium for the day. Their ingredients list similar things to TCBY, including sugar, corn syrup, whey, carageenan, pectin, and stevia for sweetening. The TCBY greek yogurt has no stevia. I personally don’t like the flavor of stevia, but it may not be bad in frozen yogurt.
- Menchies also has a greek vanilla bean frozen yogurt at 120 cals, 6 g protein and 20% calcium.
- Sweet Frog has a greek cherry or greek lemon frozen yogurt at 100 cals and 7 g protein.
Lowest Calorie Frozen Yogurt (Vanilla and Tart, not Sugar-Free)
The chains with the lowest calorie frozen yogurts in 1/2 cup sizing are:
- Red Mango – 80 calories per 1/2 cup, either vanilla or original (2-3 g protein)
- Menchies – 90 calories per 1/2 c for tart, 100 calories for vanilla snow (3 g protein)
- u-swirl – 90 calories per 1/2 c for tart, 100 for vanilla (3 g protein)
- TCBY – 100 calories per 1/2 c for italian tart, 110 for vanilla (2 and 4 g protein)
- Pinkberry – 100 calories per 1/2 c for original (3 g protein)
Many of the other chains measure their serving as 4 ounces instead of 1/2 cup. Four ounces could end up giving you more accuracy than trying to eyeball 1/2 cup. Since you weigh when you pay, you’ll have a much better idea of how accurate your serving is if you judge by ounces and not volume. Also, my theory is that 4 ounces of yogurt is actually a little more than 1/2 cup.
The lowest calorie frozen yogurt by weight:
- Sweet Frog – 100 calories for 4 ounces of vanilla, 140 for tart (3 g protein)
- Yogenfruz – 110 calories for 4 ounces of no fat vanilla (3.3 g protein)
- Yogurt Mountain – 116 calories for 4 ounces of tart, 127 for vanilla (2.6 and 4 g protein)
- tutti frutti – 120 calories for 4 ounces of tart (4 g protein)
- Orange Leaf – 128 calories for 4 ounces of tart, 176 for vanilla (4 g protein)
Low Calorie Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert
Red Mango has a product called Skinny Sorbettos which are between 30-50 calories for a half cup. These frozen desserts are dairy-free and have a hard-to-pronounce ingredient list that seems to deviate from Red Mango’s generally “all natural” stance on their standard frozen yogurts. The main ingredients are: Water, Dietary Fibers, Erythritol, Steviol Glycoside, Sorbitol, Dehydrated Raspberries (or cocoa for the chocolate flavor). Then a list of emulsifiers and stabilizers, artificial flavor and gums.
I’m not trying to make judgements here. If you want something that is a non-dairy frozen dessert with no sugar, you need to add artificial flavorings and sweetener to make it palatable. But if you are concerned with eating naturally, I would recommend you instead eat a more traditional tart frozen yogurt and deal with the extra calories.
You generally won’t save calories by opting for a sorbet instead of yogurt. You just end up with more sugar and no protein or calcium.
For a spreadsheet of all the froyo nutrition data I found, check out this Google Doc.
What’s your favorite frozen yogurt? Favorite topping? My favorite topping is mochi!