John Turrell, the Wellness Coordinator at the Greater Portland Branch of the YMCA of Southern Maine wants us to feel healthier and be a little adventurous, so he’s encouraging us to try (or retry) nine new healthy foods. We’re on number three.
Guest post by John Turrell, Wellness Coordinator, Greater Portland Branch, YMCA of Southern Maine.
Now that you have tried sardines and quinoa (you have, haven’t you?) let’s move on to dairy with yogurt — Greek yogurt. Yogurt has long been known as an excellent source of bone-building calcium and muscle-building protein.
Greek yogurt, however, is a relative newcomer to U.S. households. As with all yogurts, Greek yogurt is produced by heating and culturing milk with gut-friendly bacteria. Greek yogurt is additionally strained to remove excess whey for a thicker, creamier finished product than regular yogurt.
This creamy treat packs a nutritional punch. The process of removing whey results in a higher protein level than regular yogurt. Although slightly higher in calories (100 vs. 80), non-fat Greek yogurt has 18 grams of protein in six ounces, compared to eight grams for the regular non-fat yogurt.
Greek yogurt can be enjoyed plain, drizzled with honey, topped with nuts, or flavored with fruit for a tasty and healthy snack. You can start your day with its high levels of protein and calcium by mixing it with granola or your favorite high dietary fiber cereal.
With its dense, moist consistency, it is a great substitute for mayonnaise, sour cream, or cream cheese. Or you can try making a dip by mixing plain Greek yogurt with some of your favorite minced fresh or dried herbs.
The cost for Greek yogurt is a little higher than regular yogurt, but its thick, creamy texture, higher nutritional levels, and richer taste make it worth the extra cost.
Give yourself a nutritional and mental boost with a Greek yogurt treat.
To help you get started with John’s advice, here are two smoothie recipes I found on the Wild Blueberry Association of North America’s website. They both use Greek yogurt. Blueberries are another super healthy food. Check out the website and you’ll find tons of blueberry recipes. And if you live in Maine, when summer rolls around, be sure to take a look at my list of where you can pick blueberries in Maine.
Wild Blueberry Blast Smoothie Bowls
Makes 2 servings
Wild Blueberries are nutritional superstars. They are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals and have twice the antioxidants of cultivated blueberries. Their complex sweet-tart flavor makes them a perfect match for smoothies and bowls. For this recipe, we use frozen Wild Blueberries, available year-round in your supermarket freezer section.
- 3/4 cup 100% orange juice
- 3/4 cup frozen Wild Blueberries
- 1/2 cup 2%-fat vanilla Greek-style yogurt
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
Optional Toppings: Frozen Wild Blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, granola
- Place the juice, frozen Wild Blueberries, yogurt, pineapple, and chia seeds in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour into individual bowls and garnish with your choice of optional toppings.
Nutrition Info per Serving (about 1 cup)
160 calories, 1.5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrates, 30mg sodium, 4g fiber, 5g protein, 90% vitamin C, 15% calcium