Say yes to fro-yo

Frozen yogurt is expanding its fan base, but not your fanny

As soon as summer approaches, it’s not just the kids who start craving ice cream. There’s just something indulgent about having a cool, sweet treat on a sweltering day.

But on the most humid of days, ice cream’s decadence can be a bit too heavy. That’s where frozen yogurt comes in: with fewer calories (if you leave out the mix-ins) and lower saturated fat, frozen yogurt offers all of the cooling — and delicious – benefits as ice cream, without the extra weight.

“We have a large customer base that prefers the lighter taste of yogurt, plus the better nutrition value,” said Jeanne Marquis, co-owner of The Big 1 Ice Cream Stand in Nashua.

Frozen yogurt is also easier to digest than ice cream, making it an ideal alternative for those with lactose intolerance and other dietary restrictions.

“We have noticed, over the years, a steady increase in people enjoying the low-fat yogurts,” Marquis said. “Once you convince people that the yogurts are just as tasty as the ice cream, they are pretty much hooked.”

Many ice cream shops across the state are expanding their menus to include a variety of yogurt flavors. The Big 1, for instance, offers Coffee Heath Bar (a customer favorite), Black Raspberry, Mint Patty, and Purple Cow, to name a few.

Sanctuary Dairy Farm in Sunapee has also expanded their frozen yogurt offerings.

“On opening day this year, we had a Mixed Berry Greek Yogurt, Butterscotch Crunch, Coffee Cappuccino, and Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip,” said Beck Johnson, owner.

Sanctuary — which is a family business that was thought up by Johnson at the ripe old age of nine — originally started adding frozen yogurts to their menu to accommodate customers with allergies and dietary restrictions.

“I was on a no-fat diet for two years. This made me overly sensitive to people with eating issues, and made it a priority at my scoop shop to accommodate as many people as we could,” Johnson said.

While several ice cream stands started out with ice cream and then added frozen yogurt later, Izzy’s in Portsmouth did things a little differently.

“We started as a frozen yogurt store 27 years ago and added ice cream in the second or third year,” said Beth Gilbert, owner.

Izzy’s offers both hard and soft serve frozen yogurt, with a wide variety of flavors to appease just about any palate.

“In the soft serve, the Vanilla-Chocolate Twist is the favorite. For hard serves, it's a tie between Mint Patty, Coffee Heath Bar, and Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip,” Gilbert said.

With all these frozen yogurt flavors popping up all over the state, it’s easier than ever to have a delicious, low-calorie option on a hot day. But are kids being lured away from their beloved ice cream?

“We notice when the kids are small, parents choose yogurt for them — but as they get older, they lean more toward the ice cream,” Marquis said.

Johnson has seen kids react a different way to the frozen yogurt options.

“Kids just love anything frozen and cool on a hot summer day,” Johnson said. “We have lots of children order yogurts… Special requests from kids tend to be children with diabetes, lactose or gluten restrictions. We offer a wide variety to accommodate all.”

Even if you’re a die-hard ice cream fan, it’s tough to argue that frozen yogurt has come a long way – in terms of flavor options and availability. Next time you’re craving something cool and creamy on a sweltering day, consider frozen yogurt. You’re only dilemma will be which flavor to choose.   

Michelle Lahey is a food writer who was born and raised in New Hampshire. She also blogs about food at www.ahoppymedium.blogspot.com.

Categories: Food news

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