The overwhelming selection of yogurt!
You’re most likely aware that yogurt can provide a number of health benefits. So long as you can tolerate dairy. Some of the benefits include: good bacteria for digestive health, adequate source of protein making for a satiating breakfast or snack, and a great source of calcium. BUT…have you ever stood in front of the yogurt section of the grocery store and felt a bit (or very) overwhelmed? I hear ya! There’s an endless number of options and unfortunately a large handful of those options are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners/flavors as well as unpronounceable ingredients. Eeeeeek! But keep reading because today, I’m sharing with you the four things I look for when choosing store-purchased yogurt and four quality brands that I trust and love.
Four Things to Look for:
- Full-fat (or 2%) – Don’t fear fat. It’s more satisfying, more tasty, and more nutritious. Full-fat, plain yogurt is made from whole milk and contains the fewest ingredients. The two ingredients include whole milk and cultures. If you’re accustomed to eating that fat-free versions, try a 2% or full-fat next time.
- Low in sugar – Look for a yogurt with <12 g of sugar (even better <10 g) and around 15 g of total carbohydrates. Be on the look out for sugars because some yogurts contain 30 grams of sugar or more…that’s equal to more than 7 tsp.!! No, thank you. Plain is best because it has the least amount of sugar. All yogurt will have some sugar and this is because of the lactose, which is a type of sugar that is naturally found in milk. However, lactose should only account for about 3-7 g of the sugar content per serving (4-6 oz.). Now you may cringe at the thought of eating plain yogurt but a touch of honey, a few berries and sprinkle of your favorite chopped nuts or our Pumpkin Spice Granola can make a world of a difference! Also, our Apple Pie Parfait recipe is creamy, sweet and delicious, a great way to introduce yourself and your family to plain yogurt. Just try it!
- No artificial sweeteners – Yogurt that says “light” or “sugar-free” is usually sweetened with an artificial sweetener. You’ll notice that these options may fit within the <12 g of sugar recommendation however, artificial sweeteners are something I recommend avoiding all together (click her to read 5 reasons why you should avoid artificial sweeteners). Artificial sweeteners to watch out for include aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame k. Stevia is an OK zero-calorie sweetener, but I’ll forewarn you, it may taste a little “different”. Plain yogurt is a great option because you can control what you flavor it with (berries, nuts, low-sugar granola, maple syrup, honey etc.) and how much sweetness you add to it. However, I do enjoy a flavored yogurt every so often so my recommendation when choosing a flavored version, in addition to containing no artificial sweeteners, is to look for one that is naturally sweetened with honey, maple syrup, or organic cane sugar and again <12 g (best is <10 g) of sugar. I share some of my favorites below!
- From grass-fed cows and/or organic – Grass-fed cow’s yogurt is more nutritious and organic ensures that you will be avoiding hormones, antibiotics, artificial sweeteners and colorings. With any dairy product we recommend grass-fed and organic sources.
Five Quality Brands to Enjoy:
- Kalona Super Natural Organic — Produced in Iowa and made with grass-fed organic cow’s milk.
- Maple Hill Creamery — Made with grass-fed organic milk.
- Stacie’s favorite: Plain Greek Yogurt
- Siggi’s – Made with grass-fed milk and low in sugar. Icelandic-style strained yogurt known as Skyr, similar to Greek varieties.
- Redwood Hill Farms – Made from goat milk. Individuals who are unable to tolerate cow’s milk dairy products may be able to tolerate goat milk-based dairy products and this is due to the different type of casein found in goat milk.
- Stacie’s favorite: Plain Goat Yogurt
- Wallaby Organic — Made with grass-fed organic milk. A thick yogurt that’s low in sugar and high in protein with up to 23 grams of protein in 1 cup.
Apple Pie Parfait!
Give this recipe a try. Link to recipe: Apple Pie Parfait