Yogurt: A Healthy Snack
When it is time for a snack or a hunger craving hits, yogurt is a great go to option. Calcium, protein, and fruit are healthy and filling nutrients. Not all yogurts, however, are created equal.
Yogurts are dairy based, meaning they are produced through the bacterial fermentation of animal milk. Usually cow’s milk is used in the United States, but there are a few other options which come from sheep, goats or a few other animals.
The latest yogurt craze is Greek yogurt, which has been skyrocketing in popularity in America. Most people choose to eat Greek yogurt because it is richer in texture, higher in protein and lower in sugar and carbohydrates.
How is this possible if it is still derived from animal milk? Greek yogurt is usually boiled to remove excess water and strained to remove whey. This creates a richer texture and the greater protein content with the lowered sugar and carbohydrate amounts.
Both types of yogurts are made either fat free, reduced fat or full fat. Usually when items are reduced in fat, sugars or salts have been added to keep the flavor, consistency and/or shelf life.
Either type of yogurt is a healthy option; however, their healthiness decreases when items like sugars are added. Many of us believe that fruit is healthy, and it is. But most commercial yogurts do not contain natural fruit in its whole form. Therefore sugar, calories, carbohydrates and other nonessential ingredients diminish the health benefits to your body.
When choosing a yogurt, be sure to read the nutrition label. Look for minimal amounts of sugars, preferably less than 8 grams per serving. The lower the amount of sugar is best.
To make plain yogurt more tasty and sweet, any natural fruit. Some of the easiest options are blueberries, strawberries, bananas or peaches. Another option to keep the calorie, sugar and carbohydrate count down is to add a sweetener. I advise stevia as it is natural as compared to other options such as splenda.
Some people like to add honey or agave. But keep in mind those are other types of sugars.
If you need an extra crunch, flavor and nutrients, add chopped walnuts or almonds. They are high in good fats and excellent nutrients -- and will keep you feeling full longer.
For the healthiest option, choose non-fat, plain Greek yogurt. If, however, you’re on the run, go with Greek yogurt with vanilla or other fruit flavors with limited sugars. Chobani, Fage, Oikos and Trader Joe’s all offer great Greek yogurts.
Personally, I like Chobani’s great flavors and options. Chobani Champions is for kids, but try it if you to keep portions smaller.
When you are hungry and want snack, there are few foods that come close to yogurt for being both satisfying and nutritious. Just make sure it is low in sugar. For the best option, go Greek.