I was talking to a client that I work with the other day and she told me she just couldn't stand to eat Greek yogurt. We were going over some of the things she eats and trying to come up with healthier choices. (let me say I am NOT a nutritionist or dietician; She knows this and we talk based upon my experiences and reading endless health related materials).
I think she has a preconceived notion about Greek yogurt. It has come a long way in the taste and flavor department. I also think other yogurts get a healthy stamp of approval when they can be loaded with as much sugar as a candy bar. Some yogurts are NOT healthy snack options.
So, what's the big deal with Greek yogurt? First of all, it is loaded with protein.
According to Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., author of Read It Before You Eat It, digging into a cup of Greek yogurt can deliver as much protein as eating meat. "Greek yogurt has double the protein of most regular yogurts," the New York-based nutrition expert explains. "An 8-ounce cup has as much protein as a 3-ounce chicken cutlet!" A typical 6 oz carton contains 16 - 18 grams of protein. Regular yogurt only contains about 9 grams. The added protein is key to building our muscles and making us feel full longer.
Next, Greek yogurt is a great way to get calcium. This is key in bone and teeth health as well as heart and nerve function.
Greek yogurt is good for your gut. This is a great way to boost probiotics in your diet. They improve digestive health and keep the good bacteria in your gut which helps boost the immune system and keep you well. On the label, look for "live and active cultures".
Greek yogurt is an indulgent treat. It is thicker than regular yogurt and when mixed with fruit tastes more like dessert. "When you're craving comfort food, Greek yogurt can satisfy your sweet tooth without derailing your diet. However, Taub-Dix warns that not all yogurts are diet-friendly. "Some yogurts can be like candy in a cup, so check the sugar content on the label before you buy," the nutrition expert adds."
Greek yogurt is isn't just for a snack. "Greek yogurt can really satisfy your hunger and it therefore makes a great midday snack, but because it's also so versatile, you can have it with fruit and cereal at breakfast, have it with a salad at lunch, make a yogurt smoothie as a snack or add it to your salad dressing at dinner." It is a smart stand-in for mayo in tuna and pasta salads and for sour cream in dips, mashed potatoes, and baked goods.
So, with all these good reasons to go Greek, which type you might ask. There are a lot on the shelves these day. Here are a few of the top choices to look for.
365 Everyday Value Nonfat Greek Yogurt with Strawberry The fruit jam is separate so you control the balance between sweet and tart. (150 calories).
Stonyfield Oikos 1 1/2% Fat Organic Greek Raspberry Yogurt Pureed raspberries give flavor it's creamier than nonfat yogurt but less rich than full-fat versions. (130 calories)
Chobani 0% Blood Orange Greek Yogurt This has a refreshing citrusy taste (140 calories)
Fage Total 0% Cherry Greek Yogurt Cherries, not sugar, are the first ingredient in the fruit mix-in. (120 calories)
There are so many reasons that Greek yogurt is a good choice. It's definitely time to wean yourself off the regular sugary stuff and try this much better option. With all the new brands, flavors and types there should be something out there for all of us!
Fitness instructor and self-professed “fitness nerd” Marla-Deen Brooks is a wife, mother of three boys, three dogs and a leopard gecko. See more from her at Marla-Deen-Fit.net.