Normally when we consider yogurt: snacks come to mind. To be sure, yes, yogurt is a great snack: it’s full of protein and if you eat it with fruit it also gives you a healthy boost of carbohydrates as well as probiotics. The typical container of yogurt is about 6 ounces, contains 6-9 grams of protei, and is a single serving. What about eating yogurt as a meal? There are many variations to this healthy snack food that when added to other ingredients constitute a complete meal. The following is a list of 5 delicious ways to eat yogurt as a healthy and satisfying meal.
“Parfait” sounds like more of a dessert than a meal, but in this case it’s the way that the ingredients are presented that make it a parfait. In a tall glass and in alternating layers, use the following ingredients:
- Yogurt – plain or flavored, or Greek yogurt if preferred
- Grapenuts cereal – 2/3rds of a cup is a serving
- Blueberries – 1 cup fresh or frozen
- Wheat Germ – 1 tablespoon
Starting with the yogurt, make a layer. Next add the cereal which will give you vitamins, minerals and a small serving of complex carbohydrates. Another layer of yogurt then a layer of blueberries, then repeat. Save the wheat germ for a garnish on the top. You can substitute chia seeds for wheat germ if you like. This parfait contains about 380 calories and makes a wonderful breakfast idea.
Yogurt Fruit Bowl
In a bowl, combine 1 cup each of your favorite fruits. Toss a handful of pecans or walnuts in for healthy fats and some flavor. Mix in 2 cups of Greek yogurt and sprinkle cinnamon on top. The yogurt provides 6-9 grams of protein; the 2 cups of fruit is the recommended daily allowance of fruit; the walnuts are packed with nutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids and the cinnamon is a nice garnish for flavor. Note: Greek yogurt vs traditional yogurt has almost twice the amount of protein and calcium, as well as fewer carbohydrates per serving and comes in low and non-fat versions!
When it comes to yogurt smoothies, the possibilities are endless. Using Greek or traditional yogurt as your base, add whatever ingredients you prefer such as fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, chia seeds etc. You might like to add ice for a more refreshing smoothie. If you find the smoothie is too thick, you can add a bit of water or almond milk to thin it out a bit. Put all these in a blender and whirl away. This makes a quick and easy breakfast and can be taken on the go using a cup with a lid. Note: if you feel you need more fiber and/or protein in your diet, supplemental powders can easily be added to yogurt smoothies without altering the taste.
The Turkish culture uses yogurt as a base for many dishes, including soup. The following is a recipe for Chicken, Rice, Chickpea and Yogurt Soup. You will need:
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup Basmati rice
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound cooked chicken, cut into 1” pieces
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and cover. Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. In another medium saucepan, use high heat to simmer the chicken stock. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 10 minutes. Transfer chicken out of the pan, leaving the stock. Now add the yogurt to the stock. Bring to a simmer (low heat) while whisking. Add rice, chickpeas and chicken pieces, salt and pepper to taste. For extra richness, melt some butter with minced garlic over low heat and mix in with the soup.
Yogurt as a Milk Substitute
This might sound a little crazy, but many athletes avoid ordinary dairy milk because of its fat content and lack of nutrients as compared with other protein and calcium sources. Well, what if you like to eat cereal in the morning? Use yogurt instead of milk! If you like a sweeter breakfast, use vanilla yogurt. Pour the cereal into a larger than normal bowl, add the yogurt and mix well. The cereal stays crunchy and the vanilla yogurt is a real treat in the morning. This protein packed breakfast will keep you full all morning!
As you can see, there are many ways to enjoy yogurt and using it instead of dairy milk gives you twice the protein and a lot more flavor! Additionally, if you have kids that refuse to drink milk, this is a (sneaky but creative) way to get protein and calcium into their diets!