Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Easy Yogurt Lunch

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I am still working with easy lunches over here... If you follow my blog, you know that I turn to cheese and cottage cheese as protein sources fairly often, but don't forget that yogurt is another great option. I love using yogurt for kids (and adults) because it can be a great source of protein and probiotics (healthy bacteria that support immune and digestive health). Greek yogurt in particular is a good source of protein. If only I could get my kids to eat them! The second best option if you can't get more protein with the Greek yogurt (believe me I have tried) is buying plain yogurt and mixing in fruit or all-fruit jam to limit sugar. Of course, my kids don't like this either. At the very least make sure you aren't getting artificial colors or high fructose corn syrup in your yogurt. At this point, they have worn me down and this is all I can shoot for... hopefully you can aim higher than me! 

What to look for when buying yogurt
  1. No harmful additives: Make sure your yogurt is free of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), artificial sweeteners (like sucralose or acesulfame potassium), and artificial colors
  2. Contains beneficial probiotic bacteria: Make sure the yogurt label says “live and active cultures”. Probiotic cultures offer "good" bacteria to colonize the intestinal tract and keep less beneficial bacteria at bay. These cultures support immune and digestive health, as well as helping to break down lactose so people with lactose intolerance can enjoy yogurt.
  3. Relatively low amounts of sugar (aim for less than 10 grams per serving)
  4. Relatively high amounts of protein (aim for more than 3 grams per serving)
  5. Calcium: Shoot for at least 15% Calcium for 4 oz (150mg), 20% for 6 oz (200mg) and 30% for 8 oz (300mg)
My favorite picks

  • Stoneyfield Farms tubes and cups for the kids, and plain Stoneyfield Farms yogurt mixed with fruit for me. A 4 ounce serving of Stoneyfield Yo Kids contains 13g of sugar, 1g of fat, 4g of protein, 15% DV of calcium and 25% DV of vitamin D. It contains beet juice for color and organic sugar/juice as the sweetener. Stoneyfield Yo Baby contains 12g of sugar, 2g of fat, 4g of protein, 25% DV of calcium and 25% DV of vitamin D. 
  • Yoplait Kids is another decent option as it has less sugar than most other yogurts on the market. A 4oz serving contains 9g of sugar, 1g of fat, 3g of protein and 20% DV of calcium. It contains beet juice for color, sugar as the sweetener,and modified corn starch / inulin which adds some fiber.
  • Chobani Champions if your kids like Greek yogurt. A 3.5oz serving contains 13g of sugar, 0g of fat, 8g of protein, 10% DV of calcium and 20% DV of vitamin D. It contains fruit and vegetable juice concentrates for color and evaporated cane sugar as the sweetener. There is some recent controversy that the cows used to produce the milk for the yogurt are fed GMO corn, however no GMO ingredients are directly used in the yogurt.
  • Wallaby Organic Greek yogurt for those of you that prefer organic yogurt. Each 5 oz. container contains 16g sugar, 0-5g fat, 10g protein and 15% DV of calcium. It contains fruit and vegetable juice for color and organic cane sugar as the sweetener.

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