(This article is part of Cooking Up a Sale's April series, Spring Clean Your Eating Habits. If you'd like to read more on this topic, you can click over to the Monthly Themes page to find the rest of the articles in this series.)
We eat a lot of yogurt around here. More recently, we've been eating more Greek yogurt. (Chobani, Oikos, and store brand...we're not picky!) We don't eat the Greek stuff exclusively, but we have included more of it in our diet. Depending on your definition of "healthy", it's considered better for you than regular yogurt. (Check out this article for more information on how it stacks up against the regular stuff.) Basically, it's thicker, and has more protein than regular yogurt, which helps keep you full and satisfied longer.
Not all Greek yogurt is created equal, so make sure to read the labels. You can find many flavors and fat "levels" of Greek yogurt, so which one you'll purchase all depends on your dietary preferences and tastebuds. Here's what we've found so far:
- The full-fat versions of Greek yogurt have, well, quite a bit of fat. But the "light" or "0%" versions are still thick and tasty.
- Our kids love the fruit-flavored versions. And sometimes I buy them. But those fruit-flavored versions have ingredients that end in "ose". You know, fructose, sucralose...all code for sugar. In fact, one 6 oz container of "light" (0% fat) raspberry Greek yogurt has 19g of sugar. If I'm doing my math correctly, that means the kids are eating about 1.5 tablespoons of sugar every time they eat a container of raspberry Greek yogurt. Ouch.
- The containers of vanilla-flavored, light, (or 0%) Greek yogurt in my fridge right now have only 7g of sugar. They still include some "ose" ingredients, but apparently not as much sugar as the fruit-flavored kinds. Topped with fresh or frozen berries, this makes an acceptable (and still plenty sweet) snack.
- Plain, light/fat-free Greek yogurt makes a fabulous base for homemade ranch dip (and homemade apple dip!). If you just need a little more traditional creaminess in your Ranch dip than the yogurt provides, try substituting the yogurt for half of the sour cream instead of all of it.
- We just can't get used to the tanginess of plain yogurt topped with fruit. We still prefer vanilla-flavored yogurt (whether Greek or regular) for parfaits. Something I've tried with the plain yogurt which has helped: mixing the berries with a tiny bit of sugar and letting them set for a few minutes (before adding them to the yogurt) will create a sweet juice, which helps off-set the tang of the plain yogurt. Yes, it's still sugar. But it's certainly not 1.5 tablespoons.
- Did you know that you can substitute fat-free/light, plain Greek yogurt for a variety of things in baking? I haven't tried it yet, but I hope to soon. Here is a chart with all the information you need. The chart refers to Chobani, but you can use any brand of plain, Greek yogurt.
- If you'd like to include more Greek yogurt in your diet but don't care for the texture, try using it as a base for a smoothie instead of eating it plain.
Do you eat Greek yogurt? Do you use it in baking? If so, I'd love to hear about it :)