Does your family eat yogurt? If not, they certainly should be. Yogurt is a delicious, nutritious powerhouse. It is easy to carry, pack and eat in many different settings. Yogurt can be used to make smoothies, parfaits, sauces, salad dressings and desserts. Yogurt contains probiotics which are microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast. Probiotics can improve intestinal function and maintain the lining of the intestines. Probiotics may also help fight off diarrhea causing bacteria. Buttermilk and Kefir are some other common foods that contain probiotics.
Greek yogurt has become all the rage in the last few years. Here are the main differences between regular and Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is lower in carbohydrates, sodium, and sugar while higher in protein. Regular yogurt is higher in calcium. Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular. I prefer the Greek yogurt but my children like regular better since that is what they have always eaten. Unfortunately, Greek yogurt is more expensive.
Not only do we eat yogurt straight out of the carton but we love smoothies and parfaits. I even use non-fat plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream in recipes because it tastes better than non-fat sour cream. Smoothies made at home where you can control the sugar, fat and other ingredients are great for breakfast, lunch or a snack. A yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and a sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs on top makes a light and nutritious dessert. How often can you say your dessert is nutritious?
Some of our favorite smoothies have been featured in my blog already. Try a smoothie made with frozen peaches, peanut butter, flax seed meal, buttermilk and Greek vanilla yogurt. I seldom add any sugar to our smoothies but you can add a touch of honey if you need to or some orange juice. I love the peanut butter pumpkin smoothie in my November 9, 2010 blog. I like to add cinnamon for the taste and antioxidants it contains. Wheat germ is another great addition for the extra zinc and other good for you things it contains. You can cram so much nutrition into a smoothie and your kids won't even know they are eating something healthy! I find a green salad and a small, 6 oz or so, smoothie for lunch keep me full for several hours.
So if yogurt isn't a regular part of your diet, make it one!