Make Yogurt a Breakfast/Snack Staple
I was gazing out through the windows at the recent snowmaggedon, ice age two, revenge of the snow monkeys, or whatever you want to call it, when I realized that the plowed piles of snow that sit at the end of every curb assume a pseudo-yogurt texture. The smooth, dusted appearance of some snow piles assumes the appearance of a freshly-opened quart of yogurt, undisturbed by hungry humans. On the other hand, the roughly mounted piles of snow that have a rugged surface assume the appearance of a scoop of yogurt hastily plopped into a bowl. Regardless, I want to talk about the health benefits of yogurt.
Yogurt is a great snack because it has protein, carbs, and very little fat (depending on the kind you get). It helps you feel full, and it is an empty canvas for a plethora of flavor combinations and experimentation. You can make many different parfaits with unique tastes: honey with slivered almonds, berries with granola, cereal, etc. However, not only can you use yogurt to make a sweet, decadent snack, you can also use yogurt in recipes to make savory dishes such as a creamy sauce. Substitute yogurt for sour cream and the nutritional profile of any recipe becomes slightly more appeasing. I’ve even heard of using yogurt in baking, instead of using butter.
For those of you who do not know, there are two different types of yogurt. There is plain yogurt, and there is greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is plain yogurt that was strained through a cheesecloth, resulting in a more rich and thick yogurt with a significantly higher protein to carb ratio than plain yogurt (Greek yogurt has a three to one protein to carb ratio; plain yogurt has about a one to one protein to carb ratio).
So why is yogurt so healthy? Well, its basically fermented milk, and milk is good. One would think that aging milk would only spoil it, but that is simply untrue. Yogurt has a ton of calcium and bacterial cultures that help your digestive system run smoothly.
Research has indicated that yogurt aids in fat burning. According to Michael Zemel, PhD, director of the Nutrition Institute, “calcium stored in fat cells plays a crucial role in regulating how fat is stored and broken down by the body,” and that “the more calcium there is in a fat cell, the more fat it will burn” (WebMD). To reap the benefits of fat-burning calcium, WebMD suggests that we eat 3-4 servings of dairy every day. Admittedly that is a lot, only four servings of yogurt are in a quart of yogurt, but if you envision yogurt as an empty canvas ready for culinary art, 3-4 servings should feel more like one.
So the next time you’re hungry, yet hours away from your next meal, have fun and make a parfait!