Yogurt, one of the healthiest breakfasts you can enjoy, right? Actually, traditional yogurt, whether it is nonfat, low-fat, or any other variation is often packed full of artificial flavoring and sugar and is generally more a dessert food than a healthy way to start your day. For years, Americans have been fooled into believing that the yogurt they buy in the store is full of healthy gut bacteria and probiotics. In reality, yogurt has the potential to be a health powerhouse, but its additives often outweigh its benefits and it is causing your body more harm than good.
What about Greek yogurt?
Many yogurt lovers believe that Greek yogurt is the answer to their craving for this yummy dairy product. Though there may be a few reasons to choose Greek over regular yogurt, it may not be the health answer that you’re looking for.
The primary differences of Greek yogurt in regards to its artificial counterpart are its components and the way it is produced. Greek yogurt is made when live cultures are combined with milk and put through a training process to remove excess liquid whey that naturally accumulates in dairy. This process also removes some of the excess sugars and salt and water, leaving a more sour, thicker product that is also higher in protein and lower in naturally occurring sugar.
Keep in mind, however, that there are no regulations on the term “Greek-style” and pretty much any yogurt can add that claim to their label and face no repercussions. Often, companies will claim that their yogurt is processed in the traditional Greek manner when in reality they will have added artificial thickening agents and sugar to enhance the taste.
There is no proof that Greek-style yogurt is any healthier than traditional flavored yogurt. Dairy is still not all that it’s cracked up to be and many people experience health problems due to an excess intake of dairy.
So what can you eat instead?
There is hope for the yogurt lovers out there. Not all commercially available yogurt is a plague upon your health. There are quite a few variations of yogurt that encourage healthy enzyme development and aren’t so highly processed that they are sapped of all nutritional value. Try naturally fermented goats milk yogurt, raw full-fat yogurt, or probiotic yogurt instead.
If you still want to risk it by going Greek, opt for plain, organic Greek yogurt from cows raised without antibiotics or hormones and be sure that there are no added sugars or other ingredients.
Yogurt, in moderation, is an excellent way to encourage healthy gut bacteria and keep you feeling full until lunch. Try these ideas to incorporate yogurt into your diet in new and exciting ways.
Simple yogurt and berries
One of the best ways to incorporate yogurt is to top it with fresh fruit and honey. You can choose any fruit you like, but we recommend delicious berries such as blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries.
Adding a spoonful of yogurt to your morning smoothie will help thicken your shake and give you an excellent boost of protein and flavor.
Yogurt cucumber dip
Sweet is not the only way to go when enjoying your yogurt. Try this delicious dip with everything from pita bread to your favorite vegetable.
- 1 ¼ cup seeded, chopped organic cucumber
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups yogurt of choice
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Place the cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt.
- Let sit for about 15 mins to drain, then place on paper towels with additional paper towels to cover and press down occasionally to absorb water, Add more paper towels if needed.
- Stir remaining ingredients together and add in cucumber.
This refreshing parfait is a delightful twist on the classic yogurt and fruit and is a delicious treat for any time of day.
- 4 large grapefruit
- 4 cups yogurt
- 2 tsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp honey
- Fresh mint leaves
- Slice grapefruit and remove fruit from skin.
- Mix yogurt, lime zest, and juice together.
- Layer grapefruit and yogurt into six small glasses until ingredients are gone.
- Sprinkle with mint leaves and drizzle with honey.