Yogurt – Flavour ideas for plain yogurt

Yogurt is a very healthy food to include in our regular diet.   It is an excellent source ofprotein, calcium and other nutrients.   Most brands are fortified with Vitamin D and contain probiotics ; friendly bacteria which benefit the digestive tract.  

 

I recommend buying unsweetened yogurt that is 2% MF (Milk Fat) or lower, either as regular yogurt or greek yogurt.   Greek yogurt has more protein and has a richer creamier taste as it is more concentrated.   Not everyone enjoys plain yogurt and need something adding in to balance the tangy taste.   Here are some ideas to add flavours while keeping the amount of sugar in balance.

 

Fresh Fruit

Fruit Sauce or Compote – (sugar content will vary by product. PC Organics unsweetened apple sauce has 6 grams per 1/4 cup)

Jam of fruit spread – (sugar content varies by product, check thelabel.   Crofters Premium Fruit Spread has less than 3 grams of sugar per teaspoon)

Maple syrup (4 grams of sugar per teaspoon)

Honey (5 grams of sugar per teaspoon)

Cinnamon

Vanilla

Granola

Seeds

Nuts

 

What is your favourite way to enjoy yogurt?

Yogurt – Making a healthy choice

Yogurt label comparison

 

With so many brands, types, fat content, and flavours it is more and more confusing to choose a healthy yogurt.   I recommend reading the nutrition facts label to make an informed choice.

1.   Choose plain yogurt (regular or greek) most often.   It might be very surprising to calculate the actual amount of sugar per serving in flavoured yogurts.   In the yogurt labels in the picture, the plain has 3 grams and the lemon has 19 grams.   This difference of 16 grams is an extra 31/2 tsp of sugar!  (1 tsp of sugar = 4 grams).   This  ½ cup serving has more sugar than ½ cup Breyer’s Caramel Kisses ice cream, 4 Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies, and has about the same amount of sugar as a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar! Save the flavoured yogurts for an occasional dessert or sweet treat. 

2.   Choose a lower fat yogurt.   All yogurt is labelled with % fat content.   I recommend a 2% or lower most of the time. High fat greek yogurt (Olympic Krema Greek Style 11% fat) has more than double the fat content of ½ cup Avalon Premium Vanilla Ice Cream (19 grams vs 9) and more than 1/3 cup of whipped whipping cream (19 grams vs 16 grams)! Save higher fat yogurt for very occasional use.  

3.   Choose a yogurt with live or active cultures.   Probiotics in natural yogurt are friendly bacteria that are beneficial to the digestive tract.   Most yogurts today contains active cultures.  

Yogurt Parfait

Simple, easy and elegant; yet healthy and nutritious too, this yogurt parfait is a beautiful breakfast, brunch, snack or dessert!  Simply layer plain yogurt with fresh fruit or fruit compote of your choice.  This variation has fresh mango and blueberry compote.  Add an optional topping of hemp hearts for extra protein, fibre and  healthy omega fatty acids.  

To make a fruit compote, simply put fresh or frozen fruit into a saucepan with a little water over medium heat.  Once the juices are released and it is forming a sauce turn heat to low and continue cooking to thicken. Add sugar or sweetener if needed.  Spices and other flavours such as lemon or orange zest, ginger or cinnamon work well in fruit compotes too.

I recommend buying plain yogurt and adding fruit, fruit compote, jam, honey, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon etc.,  to make up your own flavours. 

Whole Grains – Millet

Today is Whole Grains Sampling Day,  designed to encourage us to try a new whole grain. Millet is not a common grain in our North American diet but when we look at its properties and all of the benefits, it is well worth trying.

Millet, like many whole grains, is a source of protein, fiber, and many vitamins and minerals. It also has antioxidant properties and may be helpful in preventing cardiovascular disease. It is a golden round grain with a light nutty taste.   It is inexpensive, easy to use and cooks in about 20 minutes.

As a breakfast cereal, it shines in this recipe from Rebecca Katz The blend of spices makes it sophisticated yet the creamy delicious texture and bright citrus flavours make it very appealing to kids. I was delighted to find it published online by the Nourishing Network so I could share it with you and highlight it for Sampling Grains Day.

http://nourishnetwork.com/…/15/nourishing-hero-rebecca-katz/

Caesar Salad (with Kale and Romaine)

Caesar Salad

 I recently attended a special dinner at a new creative local restaurant and tried the Kale Caesar salad.  It was delicious!   I loved the smoked paprika on the croutons which gave the salad a smoky flavour…kind of like bacon.   Adding a variety of lettuce and greens to a salad just makes it more interesting (and nutritious) too!

 My kids love this salad dressing.  It alone is the reason they eat more greens!  My daughter even uses it on a cabbage salad she makes.  She calls it Caesar Slaw.

Enjoy!

Caesar Salad Dressing

1/2 cup yogurt

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 hard boiled egg

1/4 cup water

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese or more to taste

4 tsp lemon juice or to taste

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

 

Whole grain croutons

Rub whole grain bread with a cut garlic clove, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with smoked paprika.   Cut in cubes and toss, bake at 350 until toasted on the outside but still soft on the inside, about 10 minutes.

 

Mix of Romaine lettuce and Kale (tender, small leaves work well)

Toss lettuce, kale and dressing in a large bowl until lightly coated.   Add croutons and sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese.   Serve immediately.

 

The Caesar salad dressing is adapted from Looneyspoons Low Fat Foods Made Fun.

Easter Chocolate

Making Healthy Choices Chocolate Guide

  • Choose good quality. Cocoa solids or cocoa mass and cocoa butter should be among the first ingredients.  
  • Choose pure chocolate or with added nuts and dried fruit.  Filled chocolate has added fat and sugar.
  • If you are choosing chocolate for potential health benefits, choose dark chocolate.  Flavonoids, phytonutrients in dark chocolate, have anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting, and antioxidant properties.  Dark chocolate varies in cocoa content and generally the higher the better, so aim for 70% or more.  
  • Buy a small amount and enjoy in moderation. 

Easter Eggcercise Hunt

Easter egg hunts are so fun!  Kids excited, cameras ready, brightly coloured eggs filled with surprises!  What will Peter Cottontail put in the eggs this year?  Making healthy choices for filling the eggs can be tricky.  We know the kids want the candy and chocolate but how about mixing it up with a few activities to add to the fun?  Print the Easter Eggcercise Hunt and cut out the circles to fill some eggs.

Activity ideas for egg fillers for the annual Easter Egg Hunt
Add some activity in with the chocolate and other Easter treats with these fun ideas. Cut out the circles and add them as egg fillers