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Menchie's Attack Plan!

Monday, April 30, 2012

So, we got a new Froyo shop in Bellingham. Maybe your town has one. It's called Menchie's. I went in there, and it was fantastic! I had a red velvet froyo that tasted JUST like red velvet cake. I actually managed to not blow my diet for the day. Of course, while frozen yogurt is typically better than ice cream, it can still get out of hand if you aren't careful.

You see, the way Menchie's works is, in my opinion, pure marketing genius. You walk in, and it's all pink and cute and saccharin to the max. There isn't a menu with a price list. Everything is self-serve, and it's priced by weight. You just grab a bowl, and start putting stuff in it, then plop it down on a scale and pay! At a price-by-toppings place, you might find it easier to avoid extra toppings you don't want to pay for, but here? All those flavors, toppings, and syrups are there for you to just dump in your bowl, as much as you want!

The bowls are fairly large. A serving size of froyo is only half a cup, and you can probably fit about four cups in one of those bowls. I put in what I figured was about half a cup, and it looked pathetic in my didn't even cover the bottom! So I added more...probably about a cup more. It still looked like a pathetically small amount in my bowl.

You see where I'm going? No prices, a big bowl to fill, and they let you go at it may not be good for your wallet or waistline, but it's great for them, and the marketer in me finds it so remarkably brilliant, I have to give them some respect for that.

However, you CAN survive, if you have a strategy. Here is mine:

(1) Keep in mind, a serving size is only half a cup. In that huge bowl, it looks small. But you don't HAVE to fill the bowl all the way up. No one is holding a gun to your head and making fill 'er up.

(2) Add toppings smartly. One thing I love is that they have a fresh fruit bar. I'm not sure about the maraschino cherries being "fresh" fruit, but the kiwis, strawberries, grapes, and other fruits definitely beat out cookie crumbles and chocolate chips when it comes to what's healthy.

(3) Study the nutrition info before you go. Not all flavors are the same. They range from 70 to 190 calories per serving.

(4) Use the self-serve philosophy to your advantage. Remember, you can mix-and-match to your heart's desire. I'm not entirely sure what the difference between Chocolate Mousse (159 cal/serving) and regular Chocolate (110 cal/serving) is, but I imagine the Chocolate Mousse tastes better. I'm willing to bet, though, that if I were fill up what I wanted with a LITTLE Chocolate Mousse, and the rest the lower-cal Chocolate, that I'll still end up with a satisfying treat that's more diet-friendly than a bowl of just Chocolate Mousse.

I'm going to limit myself to once a week. I have already fallen in love with this magical froyo wonderland. I can't avoid it. But I'm going to schedule a specific day a week (I'm thinking Thursdays) when the Hubby and I will treat ourselves.

Because, that red velvet froyo (with just a bit of marshmallow syrup) tasted EXACTLY like red velvet cake, and it was just SOOO good....

Who else has a Menchie's, or something similar? What's your plan?
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