You likely assume yogurt is one of the healthier picks at a bountiful breakfast buffet. It’s high in protein, and rich in calcium, vitamin B2, and other essential vitamins and minerals; plus, it has probiotic properties to aid digestion. However, added sugars and flavorings can quickly turn it into an unhealthier choice than even some of the sweetest cereals.
Next time you’re perusing the yogurt aisle at the grocery store, nutritionist Autumn Bates has some simple tips to help alleviate decision paralysis.
What to Check for on the Label
According to Bates, knowledge is power. Eyeballing the label before adding yogurt to your cart can ensure you’re making a choice that will rack up all the benefits you’re looking to get. Here’s her checklist.
Greek or Skyr Varieties
These options involve straining excess water and lactose; and, are therefore higher in protein, and lower in lactose. Lactose is responsible for the naturally-occurring sugar in yogurt, so some of the sugar is removed during the straining process as well.
Unlike milk from grain-fed cows, milk from grass-fed cows is rich in vitamin K2. This powerful vitamin assists with transporting calcium out of the arteries and into the bones, making it crucial for heart and bone health.
Full fat yogurt stimulates your satiety hormone, cholecystokinin (CCK), to keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you’re interested in losing weight, studies show CCK can help regulate your diet and aid in weight loss.
Plain or Unsweetened
Many yogurts contain added sugars, which aren’t too sweet for your health. The American Heart Association recommends men limit added sugar to 150 calories a day or about 9 teaspoons. Be sure to look for yogurt options labeled plain or unsweetened to cut back on added sugar.
Yogurt Brands that Pass the Test
Though there are a dizzying number of grocery store options to choose from, Bates notes that there are healthy alternatives that pass her nutrition checklist. Some of her favorite brands include Stonyfield Greek, Straus Family Creamery, and Icelandic Provisions which are all high in protein, fall fat, grass-fed, and unsweetened.
Make Your Own Greek Yogurt
Having a hard time finding a full fat, grass-fed option at your local market? Bates mentions she prefers to make her own yogurt. It’s a great way to control the ingredients and she claims it’s super simple. Plus, it saves money.
All you need to make her recipe is a crockpot, full fat, grass-fed milk, and half a cup of yogurt— either store-bought or from a previous batch. Check out the YouTube video below for step-by-step instructions.