Katie's Healthy Bites: Loving Greek Yogurt

by in Uncategorized, June 21, 2009

When it comes to healthy foods, yogurt makes most folks’ favorite lists. It’s a great source of calcium, good for a healthy snack or a star ingredient in many dishes all around the world. I was disappointed to see my market was stocking its cold case with yogurts filled with artificial sweeteners or sugar. Then, in the sea of fake ingredients and sugar overload, Greek yogurt appeared!

Before I even get into the nutrition benefits, can we talk about how creamy and thick it is? The texture tastes like a decadent dessert — it makes it hard not to feel guilty of overindulging when you eat it. But no need to stress, this dairy favorite is actually good for you.

Greek yogurts have double the protein of traditional American yogurts and less sugar. The extra protein also makes them very filling. But don’t be fooled — all Greek yogurts are not created equal. The full-fat varieties can be loaded with calories, so look for a low-fat or fat-free versions (brands I like: Oikos, Trader Joe’s and Fage).

Better yet, lighten up on your calories and your wallet by making your own. To do this, start with some organic, plain, low-fat yogurt and a cheese cloth (or two). Put the yogurt in the cheese cloth and start squeezing to get the extra water and moisture out — this will give you the thick, creamy texture of Greek yogurt. Once strained of the water, the remaining yogurt is ready to eat. It’s just that simple!

I enjoy Greek yogurt for breakfast along with a cup of organic berries, a teaspoon of agave nectar and a tablespoon of sliced organic almonds. It’s the perfect start to any morning.

Yogurt is also good for adding texture to smoothies. Below are two of my tried-and-true recipes.

Berry B Smoothie
2 servings

1 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup organic orange juice with pulp
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
1 firm ripe banana, peeled and sliced
1 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt

Place all ingredients in blender, blend and serve.

Nutrition Info: Calories: 220, Total Fat: 4 grams, Saturated Fat: 2.5 grams, Total Carbohydrate: 42 grams, Protein: 6 grams, Cholesterol: 16 milligrams, Sodium: 60 milligrams, Fiber 3.5 grams
* analyzed with full-fat yogurt

Peachy Keen
2 servings

2 cups frozen, organic sliced peaches
1/4 cup low-fat milk or soy milk
1 cup blackberries
3/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)

Place all ingredients in blender, blend and serve.

Nutrition Info: Calories: 191, Total Fat: 3.5 grams, Saturated Fat: 2 grams, Total Carbohydrate: 35 grams, Protein: 6 grams, Cholesterol: 14 milligrams, Sodium: 60 milligrams, Fiber: 4.5 grams
* analyzed with full-fat yogurt

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, owns HealthyBites, LLC and is a finalist on The Next Food Network Star, which airs Sundays on Food Network.

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Comments (28)

  1. Google says:

    usually posts some really interesting stuff like this. If you

  2. funny images says:

    Hey, you used to write magnificent, but the last several posts have been kinda boring¡K I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

  3. lisa says:

    No joke, all you do is sweeten your yogurt with whatever flavor you want, and put it in your ice cream maker. Check out this recipe, it just so happens I made it last night! Soooo creamy and delicious, and fat free! :)

  4. Judith says:

    I have an ice cream maker and I do this: 1-2/3 cup 1 percent milk, 3/4 cup sugar or 1/2 cup Agave nectar, 4 cups fat free vanilla yogurt, 1/4 cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract ( 1 scrape seeds from a vanilla bean). Heat all ingredients on medium low heat until mixture coats back of spoon but don't allow to overheat. Pour into a bowl and allow to come to room temperature. Cover top with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 4 hours. Pour mixture into freezer bowl of ice cream maker and freeze . You can also add fresh fruit of your choice when heating the mixture.

  5. pasturegreen says:

    Lisa, thanks for the link & recipe. I read all the comments and had most of my questions answered. Will definitely give this recipe a try with Fage 2%. Yum

  6. Abbie says:

    It condenses to a smaller amount as the liquid drains. There is less volume, but the same amount of protein in the thicker yogurt solids. If you don't have cheesecloth you can ue a coffee filter & drain overnight.

  7. Marie says:

    There's a paragraph in the post where Katie explains how simple it is to make the yogurt yourself (start with plain, organic yogurt; use a cheese cloth, press the yogurt through the cheese cloth and push out the water, etc.) Then she's sharing what she likes to do with the yogurt she makes beyond just eating it plain or fruit — that is, the yummy fruit smoothies.

  8. Charu says:

    1. Heat Milk in a microwavable container for 25 mins. Make sure there is atleast 1 1/2 inch – 2 inches gap between the milk level and the container top.
    2. Cool the milk until its lukewarm. (This will take approx 50 mins)
    3. Add 1 Tbsp of store bought yogurt to the lukewarm milk.
    4. Close the container and place it in the oven with the light ON. (Do not set the oven to any temp)
    5. It will take about 5 – 6 hrs for the yogurt to SET. You will know that the yogurt is SET when you jiggle the container slightly, the yogurt will move like jelly.
    6. Place this now in the refrigerator and let it cool overnight.

    Now you have the best home made yogurt.

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