Try a new healthy food. This week it’s Greek yogurt!

Dish of Greek yogurt

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. 

Smoothie Bowl

Source: Wild Blueberry Association of North America

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

  1. Place the juice, frozen Wild Blueberries, yogurt, pineapple, and chia seeds in a blender and blend until smooth.
  1. 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

Wild Blueberry Smoothie

Source: Wild Blueberry Association of North America

Wild Blueberry Basil Cheesecake Smoothie

The Wild Blueberry Association got this recipe from registered dietitian Kara Lydon.

This Wild Blueberry Basil Cheesecake Smoothie tastes like dessert but shhhh … it’s actually good for you! Packed with antioxidants, protein, and fiber, this smoothie takes just a few minutes to make. Breakfast never tasted better.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 3 large basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk beverage
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tsp flaxseed
  • 2 tsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest

Preparation

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Thank you for reading this guest post from John Turrell. If you try the recipes, please let us know how they were. And if you have a tip on how to enjoy Greek yogurt share it with us! Passing along what we do (and eat) to stay healthy and well is what the Catching Health blog is all about. You can add your thoughts and recipes to the comment section near the end of the page. ~ Diane Atwood

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now she writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.