The Scoop On Yogurt

By: JAMIE HOM

Edited by: ERINN BOON

While waking up in the morning, I usually find myself in a frantic rush trying to get out of the door to start my day filled with school, work or errands. It’s always tempting to pull into the nearby Dunkin Donuts and order a blueberry muffin, which sounds like the healthiest option on the menu because of the word “blueberries”. According to the Dunkin Donut’s website, one blueberry muffin contains 44 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein and takes up a quarter of a 2,000- calorie day diet.

Rather than succumbing to the muffin, if I am in a hurry in the morning, my breakfast of choice is a non-fat Greek yogurt plain or fruit flavored with a banana. This is the perfect jumpstart to my day. The amount of protein compared to the muffin is, on average, twice as much in Greek yogurts, plus there is always the calcium to build strong bones.

Yogurt has many health benefits. Studies have shown that it is used as treatment for gastrointestinal distress and is a good source of calcium. From the Journal of Nutrition by Judy Van de Water, Carl L. Keen and Eric Gershwin, authors of The Influence of Chronic Yogurt Consumption on Immunity, did a study that showed yogurt also affects the immune system by helping our bodies fight off infection. It can be tough when you are in the supermarket because there are numerous types of yogurt, but which type is for you?

Yogurt came to the United States around the 1940s. It was originally made using whole milk, but in the 1950s the low-fat yogurt came. You can get it plain or with fruit on the bottom. However, the fruit on the bottom is not fresh fruit. It adds flavor, but also a lot of calories due to the average of six teaspoons of sugar added in. If you like that fruity flavor, the best alternative is to start with a plain low-fat or non-fat yogurt and add your own fresh or frozen fruit. In addition, you can add a teaspoon of jam, jelly or honey to also give it flavor.

Aside from regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has become very popular in the last several years. According to Fortune Magazine, the Greek-style yogurt niche has expanded rapidly. A well-known Greek yogurt brand, Chobani, is now No. 3 among all yogurt brands (right behind Yoplait and Dannon). My choice may be Greek, but don’t let that stop you from experimenting. Though Greek yogurt is thick, creamy and high in protein, calcium and vitamin D, the only difference between Greek and other kinds is that the water is strained.

Greek yogurt tends to be more expensive then regular yogurt, but to save, you can make your own Greek yogurt. A tip that I got from a friend is all you need is a strainer and coffee filter. You place the coffee filter in the strainer to drain out the water, remember to place the strainer on top of a small bowl or cup to catch the water. Then take regular yogurt in a container and put it in a strainer to get out all the liquid to make it thicker. Viola, you have your own Greek version.

So, the next time you are in the supermarket picking up yogurt, remember, no matter what type you choose, it is indeed beneficial to your health. Whether you eat it as a quick breakfast or snack, yogurt provides a variety of different options and flavors to enjoy.

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