Children are bombarded every day with foods that aren’t particularly good for them:  Colorful bags of processed snacks, shiny juice drink pouches, and an endless buffet of sweets of every stripe. Junk food is everywhere, from the soccer field to the school party, the Office Max to the check out aisle at Old Navy . For those of us trying to raise our kids on real food without heaps of sugar, it can feel overwhelming. And then there’s this challenge: How are we parents to compete with all that beguiling junk?

Here’s how:

Yogurt Sundae Bar.

It’s an idea I ripped off from Chobani, the Greek yogurt brand, who set up an elaborate yogurt bar at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics conference last fall. It was the most popular booth in the giant expo hall (Take that! Nestle and Kraft Foods).

I brought the concept to life at home, doing up my own mini version for lunch one Saturday afternoon when the kids were milling around with friends in tow. It’s a terrific idea for breakfast after a birthday sleepover or for a special after school snack.

And it’s easy. All you need is a handful of toppings, which you probably already have in your pantry, and a tub of plain yogurt. I recommend using Greek yogurt because it’s thicker, so kids can use an ice cream scoop to dish it up, which is part of the appeal.

Yogurt Sundae Bar

Yogurt Sundae Bar

All you need for these colorful sundaes is a handful of toppings, which you probably already have in your pantry, and a tub of plain yogurt. Then, watch as your kids assemble their sundaes and dig in with the sort of enthusiasm usually reserved for colorfully packaged snacks, shiny juice pouches, and sweets of every stripe. Feel free to tinker with the amount and variety of toppings, depending on your preferences and what you have on hand.
Servings 4 servings


  • 1/2 to 1 cup fresh berries or diced fresh fruits
  • 1/4 cup toasted nuts or seeds , or a combination
  • 1/4 cup granola , shredded coconut, or favorite cereal
  • 1/4 cup dried fruits such as cranberries , diced apricots or raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 2 to 3 cups plain greek yogurt
  • Honey or maple syrup , as desired


  1. Start by putting out all the ingredients in small bowls.
  2. Set out serving bowls and spoons.
  3. Pull out the yogurt at the very last minute so it's good and cold, along with an ice cream scoop.
  4. Let the bigger kids make their own sundaes. Pitch in to help littler ones as needed.