Grab Yourself Some Yogurt For A Healthy Snack
Yogurt is growing in popularity and with so many different varieties to choose from, it is easy to find a flavor to suit your fancy. So what exactly is yogurt? Yogurt is a mixture of milk and cream fermented by a culture of lactic acid-producing bacteria. You may wonder why you would ever want to willingly eat a food that contains bacteria but it is this bacteria, also called probiotics, that help to give yogurt its distinctive flavor and health benefits.
Research indicates that consuming yogurt with probiotics, or live and active cultures, may help us to maintain a healthy digestive system, boost immunity and fight infection. In addition to probiotics, yogurt is packed with other important nutrients including bone-building calcium, protein and potassium. Many varieties also include vitamin D, which helps our bones absorb calcium.
So what is the difference between Greek and traditional yogurt? Greek yogurt is strained differently than traditional yogurt, which removes much of the liquid whey, and contributes to its thick and creamy consistency. Although Greek yogurt is lower in calcium, it contains about twice as much protein and about half as much sugar as traditional yogurt. Both Greek and traditional yogurt are packed with beneficial nutrients and can fit into a healthy diet.
To incorporate more yogurt into your diet, try these ideas:
- If you want to cut down on added sugar (remember dairy products like milk and yogurt contain natural sugar called lactose so even plain yogurt will contain some sugar) choose plain yogurt and top it with your favorite fruit or a touch of honey.
- Use yogurt as a dip for fruits and vegetables. Dip fresh fruit in your favorite fruit flavored yogurt and for veggies, mix ranch dressing seasoning into plain yogurt.
- Instead of sour cream on tacos or baked potatoes, try plain Greek yogurt for a calcium and protein packed topper.
- For a refreshing summer treat, pop a carton of yogurt into the freezer and enjoy it frozen.
- For a healthy breakfast, snack or dessert, try a yogurt parfait. Just layer your favorite yogurt with fresh or canned fruit and top with whole grain cereal.