Layers of naturally sweetened banana cheesecake yogurt, fresh berries, and nutty quinoa make for super fun and festive healthy snack ideas. But since they are packed with fruit, whole grains, and tons of protein, you can feel good about having them as breakfast, or even use them to satisfy your sweet tooth for dessert. Get the kids n the kitchen to help you make Banana Berry Cheesecake Greek Yogurt & Quinoa Parfaits.
Banana Berry Cheesecake Greek Yogurt & Quinoa Parfaits
I am usually a woman on a mission. If there is a healthy, nutritious food that I like to eat, my mission is to find a way to get my family to eat it. I have not yet been successful with spaghetti squash for my four year old or Brussels sprouts for my husband. However, with quinoa, I can definitely say - Mission: Accomplished
Of course I want my family to happily chow down on this protein-packed, whole grain superfood. But simply cooked in water or broth and served in place of rice, well, they weren't loving it. I kind of hid it in Mexican Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers and Dark Cocoa Superfood Granola, but I didn't want to just rely on the sneaky technique. So to satisfy my favorite little mouse, I made Cheesy Quinoa (and topped it with some of his favorites - barbecue shrimp or chicken and broccoli). He liked it, but the hubby, though he liked the flavor, still wasn't digging the texture. To remedy the texture issue, I incorporated it into a cold salad and added chicken, and honestly was shocked when my family ate every last bit of this Strawberry Lime Quinoa Chicken Salad. Now that I knew that cold quinoa was, well, cool with them, turning it into dessert would surely be adored.
Enter, the parfait! Success!
I now actually try to always have cooked and cooled quinoa on hand for quick meals and snacks. Cook up a big batch and keep it in the fridge so that you can easily throw together that chicken salad I mentioned earlier (plus a couple other fabulous variations I have coming up on my blog - stay tuned), or parfaits like these.
And these Banana Berry Cheesecake Greek Yogurt & Quinoa Parfaits are pretty fabulous little healthy snack ideas. I made two larger ones, honestly, because they were easier to photograph, but that size would make a satisfying breakfast for an adult or older kid (or one of my little eating machines). But I ended up dividing one between my two little guys for their nighttime snack. So you could certainly just make four little snack-size cups. You could even double or triple the recipe to have grab-and-go containers in the fridge to last the whole week.
I was able to make the Banana Berry Cheesecake Greek Yogurt & Quinoa Parfaits with no added sugar because my banana was looking pretty gnarly, which also means it was naturally super sweet. Mushed up and mixed with some light cream cheese and plain Greek yogurt, it makes a fabulous banana cheesecake-flavored yogurt that I love to use as the base for parfaits. If yours isn't as ripe and sweet, you can always hard a touch of honey, stevia, or your sweetener of choice. Layer it up with plump berries and that nutty quinoa for some fabulous texture and you have a sweet treat with enough nutrition that you can feel good about serving it any time of day. And your kids will be happy eating it.
Use whatever berries you have on hand, or really, I'd say any kind of fruit (I can't wait to make it when I can get fresh, local Jersey peaches), but with the 4th of July coming up, I had to get a little patriotic and use strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. But have fun with these parfaits, and get the kids involved. Obviously the measurements in the recipe are fairly loose, and you can really just set our bowls of various items and let the kids make their own!
- 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (I used light cream cheese)
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- one very ripe banana, mashed
- honey, stevia, or another sweetener, to taste, if needed
- ½ cup cooked and cooled quinoa, prepared as per package instructions
- 1 cup berries, chopped if they are large (I used a mixture of raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries)
- additional berries for garnish, if desired
- In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and mashed banned with a whisk or hand mixer until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add additional sweetener to taste, if needed.
- Layer about two tablespoons of the cooked quinoa in the bottom of your bowls, jars, or containers.
- Top each with about a quarter of the berries and a quarter of the cheesecake mixture. If you are making two larger parfaits, repeat the layers. If you are making four smaller parfaits, just do a single layer.
- Garnish with additional berries, if desired.