Navigating the Yogurt Aisle
Today’s contribution is by Good Measure Meals’ Alissa Palladino, MS, RDN, LD, ACSM-CPT
Have you ever been confused in the yogurt aisle? There are so many types and brands, how do you know which one to pick? Yogurt is naturally packed with protein, which helps us feel full longer, and calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health. Read on for tips to help navigate one of the most puzzling sections of the grocery store.
Protein: Greek yogurt and Skyr, or Icelandic yogurt, are both strained several times, resulting in a thicker product with about twice the protein of traditional yogurt. Most Greek-style yogurts contain at least 15 grams of protein per 5.3-ounce serving compared to 6 grams of protein in traditional versions of the same size.
Sugar: Many fruit flavored yogurts are loaded with added sugar, instead of being sweetened by fruit’s natural sugar. Save on added sugar by sweetening plain yogurt yourself! Be mindful that a single serve container of plain Greek yogurt will still contain around 4 to 7 grams of sugar from the lactose naturally found in dairy products.
Fat: What about the full-fat versus low-fat debate? The jury is still out on this one, but if you prefer the taste of full-fat dairy, stick with it, just make sure it has a balanced place in your overall intake. Choose heart healthy fat (typically from plants) most of the time, and keep saturated fat (typically from animal products, including dairy) intake to a minimum.
For those who are vegan or lactose intolerant, there are plenty of non-dairy options available; coconut, cashew, almond, soy, and pea yogurts to name a few. While these are generally fortified with calcium and vitamin D, they tend to provide less protein than their dairy counterparts. To help feel full longer, choose soy or pea protein-based yogurts, which contain 6 and 12 grams respectively per 5.3-ounce serving. By comparison, most nut milk yogurts only contain 1 gram of protein.
Bottom line: next time you’re browsing the yogurt aisle, use the “10 rule.” Regardless of the brand or type of yogurt, look for versions with at least 10 grams of protein and no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving.