Monday, January 21, 2013

It's all Greek to me...

Greek Yogurt has been sprouting all over the place. You name it: supermarkets, Duane Reade, commercials, even a store in Times Square. But, what is it?

Greek yogurt is yogurt with less whey than regular yogurt. Whey, the liquid part, is mostly strained out. The majority of what remains is the curd (the other stuff that little Miss Muffet digs). It has less calcium than regular plain yogurt, but 2x the protein. This makes in an excellent snack or side accompaniment to a meal. The plain types can also be swapped for fattier dairy products in various recipes, such as sour cream.

As popularity of Greek yogurt increases, be leery of bars, dips, sauces made with Greek yogurt; they may contain little next to no yogurt at all. If you want the full benefit, stick with the yogurt itself. Best picks are kinds that have 0-2% fat. Some types are fruit flavored, or have fruit flavored packets that you can add in on the side. Just be sure to read the Nutrition Facts label to make sure it's added fruit, not added extra sugars and calories. A 6 oz cup should range about 120-190 calories, give or take.

I personally like to take a container, or just a ½ cup serving, and add vanilla, sweetener, spice, a tad of olive oil and dump it on a halved banana. It’s my version of a healthy “banana split,” and a well rounded side or snack with fiber, calcium and protein.

If Greek yogurt isn’t for you a la carte, try adding it to your favorite smoothie recipe, or cooking with it. Despite the changes I make in my diet, Greek yogurt remains a staple. The Greeks gave us democracy, the Olympics, and John Stamos! They must be onto something.

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