Happy woman with frozen yogurt

Free frozen yogurt, anyone? Feb. 6 is National Frozen Yogurt Day and to celebrate the sweet occasion, Yogurtland is offering free frozen yogurt at all 160 of its U.S. locations. But before you indulge, why not enjoy a little fro-yo history lesson?

All you ever wanted to know about fro-yo

National Frozen Yogurt Day, which takes place on Monday, February 6th, 2012, follows the Super Bowl. Take it as a sign that it's time to get back on the straight and narrow after a day of indulging in high calorie, fat-laden treats! While it's not a health food, it's not the unhealthiest dessert around. But before you snag your free serving of frozen yogurt, read up on the history of this sweet treat.

Frozen yogurt was born

It's hard to find a solid source of the history of fro-yo, but based on stories found around the internet, frozen yogurt was born in the 1970s when H.P. Hood introduced Frogurt. Frozen yogurt didn't become popular until the 1980s when manufacturers began adding more sugar, cutting down on the tart taste and creating a much sweeter dessert.

Fro-yo ingredients

According to How Products are Made, frozen yogurt's flavor comes from Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilous, which are bacteria. They make up 1 percent of the ingredients.

The process of making fro-yo is very similar to that of making ice cream, with the main difference being the addition of the yogurt cultures to the frozen yogurt. Ingredients include milk products, sugar, stabilizers, eggs and additional ingredients for flavor, such as fruit, fruit extracts, cocoa, vanilla, nuts, sugars and spices.

Mix it up with these frozen very berry yogurt bars >>

Ice cream vs. frozen yogurt

So, which cold dessert is healthier: ice cream of frozen yogurt? WebMD notes that while frozen yogurt can be healthier because it has less fat, it's often laden with more sugar. Frozen yogurt is made with milk while many full fat versions of ice cream are made with cream. However, frozen yogurt's sugar content can be high to lessen the tart taste.

Also, as the popularity of frozen yogurt has increased, so have the shops that offer every topping under the sun for your fro-yo. While you might be tempted to load up your frozen yogurt with cookie bits, marshmallows, candy pieces, chocolate sauce and more, consider topping with fresh fruit and nuts to keep it on the healthier side.

Try this low calorie frozen blueberry yogurt recipe >>

National Frozen Yogurt Day

So, now that you know all you've ever wanted to know about frozen yogurt, don't miss the opportunity to "celebrate" the day dedicated to the chilly dessert. National fro-yo chain Yogurtland is offering free five ounce servings of frozen yogurt to all guests on Monday, February 6, 2012. You can visit any of the chain's 160 U.S. locations between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. for your free frozen yogurt, which will be served up in special edition collector's cups.

Watch: How to make homemade frozen yogurt

Learn how to make frozen yogurt at home without an ice cream maker.

Tell us

Do you plan to observe National Frozen Yogurt Day with a free fro-yo? What's your favorite flavor?

Make your own frozen yogurt

Strawberry frozen yogurt recipe
Frozen yogurt dessert recipe
Honey frozen yogurt recipe

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