Greek yogurt is all the rage right now. Even John Stamos (that’s Uncle Jesse to you) has jumped on board to endorse it. But we wondered: Is Greek yogurt any healthier than its traditional American counterpart?
Judy Matusky, nutrition program specialist at Bryn Mawr and Paoli hospitals, says both regular and Greek yogurts can be healthful options—as long as you choose wisely. “With both kinds, the plain, fat-free or low-fat varieties are low in calories, low in saturated fat and good sources of protein, calcium and healthy bacteria,” Matusky explains.
The primary difference between the rivals is that Greek yogurt is strained, removing a ton of the liquid whey and therefore creating the more condensed, thicker consistency we see. And this process alters the health index of the food, too.
In fact, draining the whey reduces the lactose (natural milk sugar), slightly reduces the calcium content and increases the protein level, Matusky says. Greek yogurt has almost double the protein of regular yogurt, with a six-ounce carton containing as much protein as two to three ounces of lean meat!
If you’re interested in incorporating Greek yogurt into your diet in other creative ways, its thick texture allows an unexpected number of possibilities, especially as a substitute for higher-fat ingredients.
Replace half your mayonnaise in tuna, pasta or potato salad or substitute it for all the sour cream in your favorite dip, Matusky says. It’s also perfect to mix with berries and walnuts for a breakfast parfait. Or, combine it with fresh fruit and honey, freeze it and then enjoy as a snack or dessert.
And the best part? You can actually transform your traditional yogurt into Greek yogurt at home. Follow these super-easy instructions and you’ll be on your way to Greek bliss (at half the price!) in just 12 hours.
- Buy a large container of fat-free or low-fat plain regular yogurt.
- Dump it into a colander lined with cheesecloth or white paper towels.
- Place it over a bowl to collect the whey that drains off.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Voila!
>> What’s your favorite way to eat Greek yogurt? Share in the comments!