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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why Choose Plain Greek Yogurt?

Growing up, I was never a big yogurt fan.  I tried it here and there but just couldn't acquire a taste to it.  When I graduated college and got a teaching job, I struggled a bit on what to pack in my lunch each day.  I knew I didn't want to purchase a school lunch and my husband took whatever dinner leftovers we had from the night before.  For years, I resorted to a lunch meat sandwich or peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread.  Combine that with some Baked Chips or Wheat Thins and there you have it, a healthy lunch, or so I thought.  I sometimes resorted to a Lean Cuisine microwave meal that was loaded with sodium and ingredients that I couldn't even pronounce.  I soon got sick of that and tried yogurt again.  To my surprise, I finally found a Yogurt that I liked!  It was labeled as "Light" and said it was only 1 Weight Watcher Point so I figured it was a pretty healthy choice.  I kept hearing about how much healthier Greek Yogurt was, so I figured I'd give that a try.  My first thought?  DISGUSTING! I just couldn't take the texture of it.  When I joined a health and fitness support group, it was recommended that I swap my "Light" yogurt for some Greek Yogurt.  Worse yet, it had to be Plain.  I wasn't too thrilled about making the switch but needless to say, I went out and bought a tub.  Similar to last time, I didn't like it at all. If you've never had Greek Yogurt,  it won't take long for you to see that it is heavily strained to remove liquid whey and lactose, leaving behind a tangy, creamy texture.  I knew I needed a sweeter taste so I started mixing my yogurt with natural sweeteners.  I prefer a handful of strawberries or blueberries.  I also add a drizzle of honey or Agave Nectar.  Every now and then I also like to add 1/4 cup of homemade granola.  Now that I've found the right mixture, I love it!  I usually eat 1 cup of it for lunch every day, or 1/2 cup as a snack. My husband, similar to me, used to eat a flavored "Light" yogurt for lunch as well.  Once I made the switch, it was his turn.  He actually started with vanilla Greek Yogurt to make the transition but within a couple of weeks, he fully switch to plain.


 So you may be asking yourself, why Plain Greek Yogurt? 

Yes, all yogurts provide excellent sources of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12; however plain Greek Yogurt contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose, which makes it easily digestible.  Flavored yogurts contain extra sugar calories that are not necessary.

Did you also know that Plain Greek Yogurt can help with weight loss?

Greek Yogurt contains double the protein and half the carbs, which helps to keep you feeling fuller, longer.  A single 6 ounce serving has between 15 and 20 grams, compared to approximately 9 grams in regular yogurt.  In addition, Greek Yogurt typically contains about half the sodium and has less sugar than regular. Many people don't realize how bad sodium can be for your health if you consume too much of it.  You do have to be wary of the fat content in Greek Yogurt, which is why I recommend low-fat or fat free. 

Greek Yogurt can also be used in a variety of ways.  You can swap it for sour cream on your potato, cream cheese, oil, butter, or mayonnaise.  By using Greek Yogurt as a substitute, you are cutting calories and boosting protein. I recently tried a new Buffalo Chip Dip recipe using Greek Yogurt, rather than sour cream, and no one knew the difference! 

I have to say; however, the new favorite treat in my house is Cookie Dough Yogurt!

So next time you head to the grocery store, pick up some Plain Greek Yogurt (low-fat or fat free) and give it a try!  By mixing it with some fresh fruit, you are making yourself a complete snack, or lunch! 

Have a great day!
 
 
 
 



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