The Greek yogurt health trend feels like less of a trend and is here to stay. With calcium, probiotics, and protein–yogurt is a simple way to get serious nutrients from one easy snack. Greek yogurt offers a few more benefits though.
Greek yogurt has almost double the protein of regular yogurt, three times the calcium, less carbohydrates, and half the sodium than a traditional yogurt. Traditional Greek yogurts involve removing the whey through straining, which reduces sugar and carbohydrates—two items that do not improve one’s health! Yogurt is also a healthier alternative than oil in certain baking recipes—like making a cake, pie, or brownies—since it has less fat content. Plus, according to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, Greek yogurt is more digestible and safer for those with mild lactose intolerance since it has a lower lactose level.
With so many benefits it is no wonder Greek yogurt has become popular. Over the past few years manufacturers have offered Greek yogurt in more ways than a traditional container. Big brands– like Ben & Jerry’s—are making frozen Greek yogurts. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean these are notably healthy dessert choices. Many of these packaged dessert products contain extra saturated fat, added salts and sugars. Making your own frozen yogurt at home may be a better option.
Homemade Frozen Yogurt
Mix the below in a blender, freeze in a freezer-safe container or individual ice pop molds for at least 4 hours, then enjoy!
1 ½ cups Greek yogurt (flavor of your choice)
1 cup fresh chopped fruit (your choice)
2 tablespoons honey
Herbs/spices to flavor (Choose what fits your preference: Mint, ginger, cinnamon, etc.)
Add extra fiber with a teaspoon of ground flaxseed or wheat germ
It’s not only a healthy snack or better option for dessert. Many baby food recipes incorporate Greek yogurt. Organic dairy Stonyfield Farms even created a separate line of YoBaby and YoToddler products that are packaged in individual serving sizes just right for your little one. (These smart toddler snack makers also added a veggie twist. Their flavors include Pear Spinach Mango and Strawberry Beet Raspberry!)
Smoothies are also a simple way to incorporate yogurt into your diet. Add your favorite fruits, a small amount of juice, ice, and some yogurt in a blender and you have a simple breakfast, dessert, or post-workout treat.
Big brand yogurt maker Chobani just announced plans to release a dip later in 2014. Dips usually incorporate high-calorie sour cream. Fortunately, Greek yogurt has a very similar consistency to sour cream. However, Whole Foods recently made headlines when they banned Chobani. (Although it’s one of my personal favorite yogurts!) According to the New York Times, “Whole Foods’ decision to drop Chobani, attributed it to the yogurt maker’s use of milk from cows whose feed is derived from genetically engineered crops, or G.M.O.’s, like corn and soy beans.”
With that said, understand not all Greek yogurts are equal! Check the ingredients and the milk fat percentage. Sugar should be near the very end of the ingredients list. Greek yogurt seems to be an increasingly healthy choice—but with so many Greek yogurts available, be smart about the ones you choose.