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How to build a yogurt bar, your new favorite party trick

I'm Sarah - wife to my amazing husband, John, and mom to two little girls, Cami and Maisie.  I used to work in the finance industry before having my daughters, and now I'm a freelance personal finance writer and blogger.  I love being wi...

New trend alert! A yogurt bar is the healthier alternative to an ice cream social

You've seen it on Pinterest a hundred times before, but can you really pull it off in real life? In the past few years, the yogurt bar has become the hot, new, Pin-able trend that can be used for an easy (and impressive) spread at any baby shower, brunch or birthday bash.

Unlike frozen yogurt that's prone to puddle in a few seconds flat, the modern-day yogurt bar is the real deal. It's healthy, offers plenty of variety and is still fairly unique. Best of all, a yogurt bar is rather simple to put together with a little know-how. We've got plenty of tricks up our sleeves to help you set up a perfectly one-of-a-kind yogurt bar for your next shindig:

1. Gather the supplies

There are a few different ways to serve your yogurt, depending on how formal you want to go. For casual parties, simply serve in clear plastic cups that hold between 10 and 16 ounces. This gives guests plenty of room to add toppings without making a mess. For more formal gatherings — such as a fancy brunch or intricate wedding shower — serve in glass or plastic flutes. You can use your own if you happen to have them, or purchase plastic ones from a party store or your local dollar store. Other musts include:

  • Bowls for the toppings
  • Spoons for the toppings
  • Spoons for the guests
  • Labels

More: 4 Greek yogurt ice pops to quell your summer sweet tooth

2. Make a sign and labels

The next step is to create a sign to hang over your yogurt bar. We love this spring mantel sign, and you can easily adjust it to say "Yogurt Bar" instead of "Spring." Once the sign is complete, you'll need to make labels so your guests know which topping is which. Make sure to include whether or not the topping has nuts or any other possible allergens. You can create vintage labels on cardstock, or simply handwrite the items on note cards.

More: 3 perfect brunch sandwich recipes

3. Buy the ingredients

Ah... on to the fun part! It's time to purchase the yogurt and a few different toppings. It's totally customizable, so feel free to make it healthier by serving mostly fresh fruit or a little less healthy by serving candy toppings and sweets. Here are a few suggestions to get started:

  • Two to four flavors of yogurt: Vanilla, Greek, strawberry and plain
  • Fresh fruit: Strawberries, blueberries, sliced bananas, peach chunks, raspberries and blackberries
  • Dried fruit: Mango, pineapple, blueberries and raisins
  • Nuts: Almond slivers, pecans and chopped walnuts
  • Granola: Cinnamon-flavored, maple-flavored and original
  • Sweets: Chopped candy bars, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, honey and sprinkles (match the sprinkles to the theme of the shower or brunch)

We also suggest making homemade whipped cream so guests can dollop a bit on top of their creations. To make, simply beat 2 cups of whipping cream on medium speed until peaks form, then add a few big spoonfuls of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of vanilla. Mix again until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

More: Homemade yogurt with healthy mix-ins

4. Set up

About one hour before the party, place any dry, nonrefrigerated items in proper bowls, and place the correct label in front of each. Set up all serving utensils on the table, and hang up your sign. About 30 minutes prior to guests arriving, slice all the fresh fruits, and place them in bowls, followed by placing the yogurt in proper serving bowls. We recommend keeping these items refrigerated until the guests will be eating. Finally, make yourself a parfait, and enjoy!

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 3/23/16

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