Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's All Greek to Me!

Looking for a good source of protein for breakfast to keep you satisfied or for that post workout refueling snack? There are lots of options, but one protein source that I've found very satisfying any time of the day is Greek yogurt. In Greece it's called yiaourti. Long before refrigeration, the Greeks discovered that if you drained the liquid from yogurt it kept longer. A straining process is used leaving an extra creamy protein-rich yogurt. In fact Greek yogurt has about twice the protein of regular yogurt. Because the liquid (whey) is strained, Greek yogurt has a higher milk fat content (~5-9%) compared to that of whole-milk regular yogurt (~3.5%). Luckily there are 2% and 0% fat versions of Greek yogurt on the market.

There are several brands of Greek yogurt on the market. You should definitely be able to find it in specialty markets like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Earth Fare, and The Fresh Market but check your local grocery store too. That's where I buy mine. Try out several brands and pick your favorite. I prefer Oikos by Stoneyfield Farms. Oikos has 0% fat and comes in two sizes—a large tub (16oz.) and an individual serving size (5.3oz.). The large-size tubs come in two flavors—vanilla and plain. The smaller size comes in plain, vanilla, honey, and blueberry. The smaller cups have just 90 calories, twice the protein of regular yogurt, and less carbohydrates.

I discovered Greek yogurt about a year ago and have been using it ever since. I had read an article about how you could use Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream in baked potatoes. I use the 0% fat version and it really does taste great as a sour cream substitute. Even my kids like it. You don't feel as guilty loading that potato when it's full of protein and fat-free. Greek yogurt also tastes great by itself as well as topped with fresh fruit. I make a killer Protein Breakfast Smoothie using Greek yogurt (click here for the recipe). It's also great with oatmeal. Try it in the Ultimate Power Breakfast (click here for the recipe).

15 comments:

NoMeatAthlete said...

I've heard a lot about Greek yogurt recently. A little expensive, but maybe worth it. Do you know if it has a lot higher protein content than regular yogurt? I think I heard this, or maybe it was specific to the brand Chobani.

NY Wolve said...

Another similar food is Skyr , the Icelandic yogurt kind of thing. Skyr is actually cheese (so the label says) and has tons of protein (16g), relatively few carbs (24g)and actually has tangy yogurty taste and consistency. I buy Skyr.is at Whole Foods, but have seen it at various organic markets.

RunnerDude said...

Hey NoMeatAthlete! It is a little more expensive, but I've found it to be price more reasonably in the regular grocery store, at least that's the case here in Greensboro, NC. Yep, Greek yogurt has more protein than regular. I'm not sure is it varies acrosss brands, but you get about double the protein in Oikos Greek yogurt than in regular yogurt. Right now I'm actually looking at Dannon Light&Fit and it has 7g per cup and Fage 0%Fat (another brand of Greek Yogurt) has 20g per cup and Oikos Greek 0%Fat Greek yogurt has 22g of protein per cup!

RunnerDude said...

Hey NY Wolve! Thanks for suggesting Skyr! I've never heard of it, but I'm gonna see if I can find it at our Whole Foods. Love trying out new healthy products. Variety is the spice of life, so the say! Thanks!!

Amy said...

Yummy Greek Yogurt!!! As a vegetarian, I'm always looking for protein --- part of the reason I like this stuff.

I prefer Chobani and Fage 0%. Fresh berries ('tis the season) and a dab of honey make it a wonderful treat, breakfast, snack...or whatever excuse to find, really.

Love this post...kinda hungry now.

RunnerDude said...

Thanks Amy! I'm kinda hungry now too! LOL! I got a confirmation email that the gift certificate was shipped, so you should get it soon.

Jessica Lane said...

Thanks for posting that! I need to learn to like yogurt by itself but I really like it in smoothies. I'll have to check it out at the local natural foods store.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Jessica! Another good way to eat it is to toss in some low-fat granola. Sometimes I even top it with dollop of fat free cool whip! LOL!

runnerinsight said...

Thank you for this post! I will also look for skyr! It mystifies me. Keep posting! ; )

Rookie on the Run said...

I love Trader Joe's brand of nonfat, organic Greek yogurt. Especially the vanilla... you can even see the vanilla beans in it. :)

It's yummy with fruit and granola. I also use it in fruit smoothies.

Thanks for the post!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Rookie on the Run! I'm bummed, we don't have a Trader Joe's near us.

Lorenda said...

Is greek yogurt refrigerated? (you mentioned they made it before refrigeration was invented) I've never heard of it but I am definitely going to try it. I like Stoneyfield Farms vanilla yogurt on fruit and a friend recently introduced me to putting a granola type cereal made by Kashi in with the fruit and yogurt.
I also checked out the link to your smoothie recipes. I am hoping to get my daughter making healthier smoothies than the mixes full of sugar that she buys before she goes off to college soon.
This was a great post.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Lorenda! Thanks for the feedback. Yep, today Greek yogurt is refrigerated. Long ago the Greeks discoverd it would keep longer without the liquid, but it still would eventually spoil. In my local grocery store (Harris Teeter) it's in the same refrigerated section as the regular yogurt.
Take your daughter shopping and get her to pick out some fresh or frozen fruits she likes as well as the Greek or regular yogurt. Maybe even a can of protein powder. Then try getting her to make a few smooties herself. I think once she see's how easy it is and how the sky is pretty much the limit as to what you can put in them (healthly of course), she may get hooked. They're actually fun to make. Smoothie shops are great, but you still have to be careful about what they put in them and they can be expensive too! Good luck and thanks for reading!

M.C. Vacaville CA said...

I just started using Greek yogurt from Trader Joes.I use it with oat bran, slivered almonds, honey and raspberries.Ingredients measured of course, with the fun to use kitchen scale.
This blog is great too!Good info.

RunnerDude said...

Hey M.C.! Wish we had a Trader Joe's here in NC! Your Greek yogurt creation sounds great! Thanks for the feedback on the blog. Much appreciated. Happy Memorial Day!