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. Bettye says:

    How do you make yogurt from scratch? Need recipe.

  2. debbie says:

    could not find the yogurt recipe

  3. Here is a yogurt recipe a good friend gave me…try it out, let me know what you think!

    Yogurt is super easy…heat a quart of low fat milk to 120 degrees, add a few T of plain yogurt and a few T of dried milk (optional but the extra protein does help thicken). Stir them put in a jar and keep between 90 and 120 degrees for 6-12 hours. Then put in fridge for 5 hours. Serve

    *Use reduced fat instead milk over skim milk it works better
    *Buy a thermometer so you know the temp is just right

    FYI… I have asked around and these are the things my clients have done to make their yogurt. A hot garage is a perfect place to let the yogurt ferment. Try to keep it still while fermenting. Or put a jar of hot water on in insulated cooler and then your yogurt jar in the cooler and close…that's about the right temp too. Another suggestion is to preheat your oven for 2 of 3 minutes and then turn it off and put your jar in there. Even the heat from the pilot light will keep it around the right temperature. It is kind of like a science project…fun, huh! One last tip…Wrap your jar in a kitchen towel or I have even heard of using a pillow…helps to insulate it and keep the heat in!

    To make Greek yogurt…strain your yogurt through a cheese cloth several times until it is rich and creamy!

    Do you have an instant read thermometer for heating the milk?

  4. gertrude says:

    do you know if i could make "yogurt" with a milk substitute??? ex: rice or almond milk???

  5. jessica thompson says:

    greek yogurt does not taste to pleasant in my mouth is there anywhere i can enjoy it………..i used granola berry mix just the combination wasnt to good………

  6. Carol says:

    Go to You tube and type in making homemade yogurt watch several of the videos. Lots of great videos and techniques. Very simple to make at home and cheap! No special equipment needed. They will all tell you though, not like the poster above that says to heat milk to 120 degrees, but that you MUST heat it to 180-185 degrees first, then cool to 110-120 . Or check out the website,
    makeyourownyogurt.com also a great tutorial there.

    If you prefer Greek Style strain it through a couple layers of cheescloth set in a colander over a bowl or pot and put in fridge for a few hours, and voila, greek style yogurt that does not cost $1.79 for one teeny tiny container.

  7. Sue says:

    I love Chobani honey yogurt with fresh strawberries, slivered honey toffee almonds and drizzled honey.

  8. Lynn says:

    Having been to Greece and had their yoghurt, the closest to that taste and texture is to use Mountain High Yogurt and strain through cheesecloth for several hours or overnight. Add a little honey and some chopped nuts and you're having Greek Yoghurt!!

  9. marian says:

    Use a WIDE MOUTH thermos to hold your yogurt at the proper temperature. Been doing it for years.
    Works great.

  10. Beth says:

    does anyone know the nutritional facts on homemade Greek yogurt??

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