Parfaits for Days – At School, Anyway!

Yogurt parfaits have long been a popular at-home snack, but schools have worked hard to serve students’ serious love of the customizable, healthy treat! Every kind of yogurt flavor, along with colorful and delicious topping options, creates countless combinations.

Schools in Maine have started offering their “Create Your Own Parfait Bar,” giving students more options during special events and programs, like National School Breakfast Week. According to Jeanne Reilly, Director of Nutrition at Windham School Department (ME), students love refreshing and nutritious parfaits to help them start their mornings off right.


“Our kids really love parfaits and the absolute favorite flavor combo is vanilla yogurt with strawberries and blueberries, though vanilla with frozen mixed berries is a close second,” said Reilly. “We usually top our parfaits with school-made granola and the students really enjoy that.”

Even for a fairly small district, Reilly said they go through about 200 parfaits daily, but if they serve parfaits for Fun Friday Breakfast, they can sell over 500! As often as possible, local ingredients are used for toppings, including Maine blueberries, cherries, apples, grapes and strawberries.

“Parfaits go out on our Room Service Breakfast Carts at our middle schools, and we often include a parfait as a menu item for our Fun Friday Breakfasts,” said Reilly. “We like to use the containers that keep the toppings separate, but all-in-one, so that students can add them on themselves as they eat.”

Lovejoy ISD - Allen, TX
Lovejoy ISD (TX) offers a “Build Your Own Yogurt Parfait” station for students to concoct their own yummy, healthy creations.

Schools across the country prepare their parfaits in a variety of ways. Food service staff at Miller Middle School (GA) use similar containers, separating the granola from the yogurt and fruit toppings. This keeps the granola fresh and crunchy, just the way students like it! Lovejoy Independent School District (TX) offers students a “Build Your Own Yogurt Parfait,” with changing ingredients. On many days, students start with a honey vanilla Greek yogurt base, then  pick their toppings from granola, coconut, blueberries, strawberries and bananas.

Smothies - Waltham, MA
Waltham Public Schools (MA) offer a variety of smoothie flavors.

Waltham Public Schools (MA) come up with some great flavor combinations, including very berry, mint chocolate chip, banana split, and even parfaits with whole grain waffles on top! Their motto is healthy doesn’t have to be boring.

Vanilla yogurt can be spiced up very easily, or other flavors can be incorporated into parfaits. Healthy parfait combinations include either vanilla or flavored yogurt, seasonal fruit, oats, raw nuts, seeds or granola. Kid friendly recipes can also include kiwi and strawberry, blueberry and pumpkin seeds, pomegranate and granola, etc.

Feature image: Waltham Public Schools’ pancake parfait, with yogurt and fresh fruit.

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