Yogurt is on the list of affordable healthy foods, but I have a good feeling that you’re not sitting there thinking “Oh Alison, please tell us more about this curious food item that I’ve never heard of before!”
Yes, yogurt is good for us – this is not news. But it’s also worth saying that not all yogurt is created equal. There are plenty of yogurt items in the dairy section that are not what I would call “healthy” by any stretch of the word. I recommend taking a close look at the label if you’re eating yogurt for the health benefits and put back anything that has an especially long list of ingredients or additives like coloring or flavors.
I eat yogurt for the protein, healthy fats, pro-biotics and active cultures for gut health. I use to eat sweetened, low fat yogurt but made the switch to plain full fat yogurt around the time I read Deep Nutrition (also known as The Book That Changed Everything) to reduce my sugar intake and to skip the fillers typically used to make low fat and fat free dairy products more palatable.
Plain yogurt is definitely an acquired taste, but I’ve come to truly enjoy it. (Maybe the high fat content helps?) I found it easier to eat plain Greek yogurt first, so my suggestion based on my personal experience would be to start with Greek if your ever inclined to make the switch. Plain Greek yogurt makes a great sour cream substitute too.
I will also say that my daughters (age 9 and 7) like sweetened yogurt because it’s what they’ve grown up eating. They willingly voice their opinion about how they think yogurt should taste –> read: sweet.
I struggle with this because I want them to eat yogurt for all reasons I already mentioned, but even some of the better brands of yogurt have a lot of sugar. Like many kids, change isn’t always welcome when it comes to the foods they eat. I know more about nutrition and eat a lot differently now than I did when they were younger, it’s tough to expect them to easily accept every change I’ve chosen to make for myself.
I’m sure I’m not the only parent out there (please tell me I’m not!) who has a hard time getting older kids on board with food changes. I don’t have all the answers to this dilemma, I try not to be a total control freak food martyr mom that drives them nuts with nutritional drivel. (I save that for the blog!) We just keep talking about the way sugar can sneak into the foods we eat, why I won’t buy certain brands of yogurt, all while trying to be mindful that it’s supposed to be a conversation, not a lecture. It can be a fine line between “teach” and “preach”.
For now, I’m buying them the sweetened yogurt that they like (sometimes cutting it with a little plain to reduce the total sugar content) and remind myself that they will come around with time – even if that “time” means “not until adulthood”.
With that, let’s get back to talking about the awesomeness that is yogurt without all the contemplation. Yogurt makes a great breakfast or afternoon snack. I’ve been known to top yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit, homemade granola (with oats or grain free) or to make overnight oats. The other thing I use yogurt for? Smoothies.
Delicious, delicious smoothies.
It’s the middle of winter and not exactly smoothie weather right now – but when I was thinking about different ways to use oranges, I remembered this Orange Creamsicle Smoothie from a couple years ago and decided it was time to revisit this old friend, cold weather or not.
This time I swapped Low Fat Mango yogurt with a 1/2 c frozen mango and a 1/2 c full fat plain yogurt, plus two peeled clementines and a little bit of water.
Into the blender for a dreamy, creamy orange smoothie that is amazingly delicious! A little mango goes a long way – this smoothie bordered on “dessert” for how sweet it was, without any added sweetener.
The combination of orange and dairy always seems a little off putting at first, and oranges are never something I think to put into a smoothie – but it really does taste like a creamsicle and is a great way to use both oranges and yogurt.
I pay $3.99 for a 32 oz container Stoneyfield Organic yogurt, that’s 0.12/oz, which works out to be only a slight savings compared to buying the individual serving containers. It’s still something though and either way, I consider yogurt to be pretty affordable. 18 month old Kaz and I are the only ones who eat plain yogurt right now and we eat it frequently enough that we can easily work through 32 ounces before it expires. If I ever want to take yogurt “to go”, I just put some into a small, reusable container to make my own individual serving.
That’s what I’ve got today, any thoughts on yogurt? Love it, hate it, tolerate it? Tell me what you think!