Yogurt has earned itself a reputation for healthy food, which is true if it’s real yogurt. Unfortunately, not everything with the label “yogurt” is authentic yogurt.
What makes yogurt a healthy food?
It’s the probiotic in it, and this is the case for all fermented foods. They provide good bacteria that support your gut health. However, if the fermented food is heat-treated, then all those good bacteria die. So, here are three tips to help you select a healthy yogurt at the grocery store:
- Look for the term “live and active Cultures.” This shows that your yogurt has the good bacteria you need.
- Check out the ingredient list to ensure there is no filler or thickeners such as starch and xanthan gum. To make yogurt, all you need is milk and some live culture, nothing else.
- Look at the amount of sugar. Some yogurts have even more sugar than a candy bar, making it more of a sugar shot than a yogurt. There is naturally occurring sugar from the milk; however, the added sugar in flavored yogurt is the problem. If you want to choose a flavored yogurt, I suggest keeping the total sugar under 15 grams per serving.
The best way to avoid excess sugar is to buy plain yogurt and add your favorite sweetener; that way, you have more control over how much to use. I recommend using chopped fruits to sweeten and flavor your plain yogurt. That way, you will not only have less sugar but also more nutrients from the fruits. Also, buying organic as much as you can, is an excellent way to go. Doing so will help you limit your exposure to antibiotics and hormones, often found in conventional dairy products.
You can enjoy yogurt in many ways.
Here is an easy and delicious recipe:
Make-Ahead Yogurt Parfait with Granola
- 1 cup organic plain yogurt
- 2Tbsps. strawberry jam or any berry jam (with no sugar added)
- ½ cup granola cereal
- 1 cup strawberry, chopped or any fruit
- Optional toppings: toasted almonds, walnuts, or nuts of choice; shredded toasted coconut, hemp seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
In a bowl, mix the yogurt and the jam.
Use two 16-ounce mason jars, and layer 1/4 cup of yogurt, two tablespoons of the fruits, and two tablespoons of granola in each jar.
Repeat this layer. Then top with ¼ cup fruits in each jar and toasted nuts if using.
Note: you can also make your yogurt parfait without the granola.
You can keep your yogurt parfait in the refrigerator for up to three days.