Yogurt and oatmeal are my go-to breakfast choices. Most often, I adorn the creamy mixture with a handful of blueberries, a few banana slices, and chopped, frozen cherries. (The cherries are supposedly good for arthritis.)
When I’m feeling particularly virtuous, I add a handful of sliced almonds and a dab of local, raw honey. I wash it down with a cup of hot, green tea. It’s the healthiest thing I do all day and one of my few good habits.
You can also top a taco or potato with yogurt . Or add it to a smoothie, mac & cheese, or soups.
Read the Label
If you’re checking the labels you know that yogurt has three ingredients. That’s all it needs: milk, lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophiles, which ferment the milk and turns it into yogurt.
You want the label to read “live and active cultures,” so you get the probiotics, the good bacteria that lives in your digestive tract.
Nonfat, Low Fat, 2%, or Full Fat?
Although Greek and regular yogurt offer nearly the same benefits, they differ in the amounts they provide, depending on the brand. Most Greek yogurts have slightly more calories and calcium, but much more protein.
Yogurts High in Probiotics: Look for Fage Total 2% Milkfat Plain Greek; Siggis Vanilla Whole Milk; Oikos Plain; Stoneyfield Farm Plain Whole Milk; or Yoplait Light for an extra probiotic boost. Chobani Non-Fat Plain Greek is also made without additives or strange ingredients.
Yogurts Highest in Protein: Greek-style yoghurts have been strained and are the highest in protein. Fage 2% Plain has 20 grams of protein. Oikos Triple Zero checks in with 15 grams protein, no added sugar or sweetener or fat, but missing fiber. Trader Joe ups the protein with 24 grams with its Nonfat Vanilla Bean Greek. Each of these contains almost as much protein as three ounces of lean meat.
Best for Seniors: A plain Greek yogurt is the healthiest choice. Add your own fresh fruit.
Best Overall Choice for Daily Use: Fage 2% Plain gets the nod. Testers call this one “luxurious and true in quality in every way.”
Best of the Flavored Yogurts: The slightly more costly Stoneyfield Greek Vanilla yogurt has live cultures and is organic—they only employ grass-fed cow. Reviewers raved about the smoothness and mild flavor. Icelandic Provisions Vanilla Skyr has great texture and is made with live cultures, making it a favorite among the yogurt cognoscenti.
Bonus Uses for Yogurt
Bring It On!
Yogurt isn’t just for the kitchen anymore. Because it contains lactic acid, a component in some facial peels, it gently exfoliates the top layer of skin. It is said to clear up blemishes and even reduce fine wrinkles.
Just mix 1 cup Greek yogurt with a few drops of almond or olive oil and a tablespoon of honey. Apply it to face and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse. Pat dry. Glow. Full instructions from Stonyfield here.
While you’re waiting for the “yogurt lift,” pull out the brass candlesticks and scrub on some plain yogurt. Wipe off, wash with soap and hot water, and buff. Bright as new!
But if you merely want to eat your yogurt, there’s 40 great recipes at Greatist.com for dips, salads, mashed potatoes, entrees, and desserts. Even mac & cheese and soups.
- Be sure yogurt label reads: “live and active cultures.”
- Beware any varieties with whey concentrates or cornstarch additives. Or any yogurt that lists sugar as its first or second ingredient. Some yogurts claims to be low in sugar, but are high in chemical sweeteners. The best is unsweetened. The worst are flavored with 6 teaspoons, or more, of added sugar, often equal to the sugar in 2 donuts!
- Nutrition varies, too, so look for yogurt with at least 15% of the daily requirement for calcium.
Note: You can ignore all of the above if you’re only using yogurt for facial cream or brass polishing. 🙂