The frozen yogurt phenomenon has finally reached my doorstep. Within six months, three frozen yogurt places have cropped up in my neck of the woods and one more will open up soon. Red Mango is at the Flatirons Mall in Broomfield, Smart Cow in Westminster, Colorado, and the Golden Spoon in Arvada, and Broomfield, Colorado (with many other locations nationwide). Additionally, Yogurtland will be opening soon in Arvada, Colorado, as well. Of all of these, Smart Cow is the one with only one location thus far and they give to local schools and the community which is great!
So, what is this craze with frozen yogurt in Colorado and why now? For about 3 to 4 years now, the frozen yogurt craze has been sweeping the east coast and west coast in cities like New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco and Los Angeles. Finally, the craze has spread to the Rocky Mountain Region! I have to say, I cannot complain – I am completely addicted, and from the lines I have stood in at Smart Cow, I think others are too! It is so easy to get sucked in with forty-two cents an ounce, but it adds up quite quick! The flavors are very good and it is hard to believe most of the flavors are non-fat or reduced-fat –flashback: remember the Seinfeld episode when they thought they were eating non-fat but it was not? Hmmm…. I hope I do not have to get anyone of the flavors fat-tested but keep in mind and like the article I linked to the picture above discusses, yogurt is not always healthier than ice cream – it just depends on quantity, type of flavor, and calories. Some yogurts are also just reduced fat and others are just downright deceiving so check a nutrition chart- here is a sample from Smart Cow’s website and one from Yogurtland can be opened here. Here is a nutrition chart for Golden Spoon (this is just for the the flavors not toppings) and this is the Red Mango nutrition chart. Now, keep in mind the delusion of fat-free especially if you are going to add a bunch of unhealthy or non-fruit toppings. I think what gets most people is the toppings. So while you are actually eating non-fat yogurt with 110 calories (per serving), when you top it with a bunch of sugary-good toppings, you are basically done and you can watch those 8 to 10 ounces of yogurt at 42+ cents an ounce add up quick – on your wallet and on your waist!
Not all yogurt places are self-serve or yogurt bar concept. Smart Cow, Red Mango, and Yogurtland are similar in that there is a yogurt bar where you grab a cup, get flavors that you want, followed by a toppings bar or station where you can really load on the flavors. You then get to the register where you weigh your creation and pay up! Yum! Golden Spoon is completely different and you order set flavors and top the cup or cone almost like Baskin-Robbins or Cold Stone but of course, not as thick and creamy (yuk- after having frozen yogurt -it is hard to eat that creamy stuff). I prefer the build-your-own yogurt bars because you can get away with smaller portions and different flavors, different toppings for different members of the family, and lower prices (or not).
At a time when we are all trying to stay healthy, I love the yogurt bar concept but be careful of toppings and check out the nutritional charts – not all flavors are fat free and calories are… well, calories! You still have to burn them somehow to stay healthy. Colorado is the only state with less than 20% obesity for now and I hope it stays that way despite these addictive yogurt dives. Grab a spoon, grab a cup…and woh! Watch out – this yogurt “culture” can be quite addictive!