Long ago my family discovered the versatility of yogurt, and it has since become a fridge staple and is included on nearly every shopping list. Breaking it free from the confines of the breakfast category, we now enjoy yogurt from sunup to sundown. This likely accounts for the three…no, four different types in my fridge right now! From organic Greek yogurt and Icelandic skyr to kefir (a drinkable fermented dairy product with a more mild taste than yogurt) and cultured coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk and soymilk, the variety of offerings is as expansive as its uses. With so many brands for all these choices, what do you reach for? Here are a few suggestions that can help: Look for:
- Probiotics to encourage beneficial bacteria that support digestive system health
- Yogurts made with animal milk to deliver calcium and protein
- Some yogurts provide fructooligosaccharides, also known as inulin or FOS, which can add sweetness as well as enhance beneficial bacteria. It may be a mouthful to say but a mouthful of this naturally occurring fiber can be a good thing
- Artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. Fret not, Whole Foods Market’s stringent quality standards don’t allow them
- Synthetic hormones (rBGH/rBST). These are sometimes used in dairy production to boost milk production in cows. Luckily, you can eat with ease knowing that 365 Everyday Value® yogurts and all organic yogurts we sell are made with milk from cows not treated with synthetic hormones (rBGH/rBST)
Going Organic We hear a lot about organic fruits and vegetables, but when it comes to organic dairy products, the general public doesn’t seem as cultured (pun intended). So what makes dairy products organic and why choose organic yogurt? According to USDA National Organic Program standards, organic livestock are required to:
- Have access to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air and direct sunlight suitable to the species, the climate and the environment
- Be certified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent
- Be provided feed that is certified organic and without genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Not be treated with antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones
If these things matter to you, and hopefully they do, add organic yogurt to your basket. Breaking Away from Breakfast Yogurt, cereal and fruit are a delicious combination (especially in Vanilla Berry Yogurt Parfaits) but if you limit yogurt to just breakfast or heaven forbid, only enjoy it from the carton, you’re missing out on a genuine secret ingredient. Break free from breakfast with yogurt sauces, dips, baked goods and marinades. Here are a few savory and sweet favorites:
- Creamy Chicken Salad with Yogurt and Apples makes a refreshing twist on your everyday lunch.
- This cool yogurt-cucumber dressing could be just the thing paired with late summer tomatoes or baby spinach.
- Make some room at the dinner table for yogurt with Gyro-Style Lamb with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce over Quinoa; you’ll thank me later.
- Garlic-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Buttermilk-Yogurt Herb Dressing is a side dish that can easily take center stage.
- Raita, a cool cucumber and yogurt sauce, makes an ideal complement to a spiced lamb burger. Insert cake image
- Simple Yogurt Cake with Fresh Berries takes the...well, cake.
- You’ve likely enjoyed fruit smoothies with yogurt but what about a lassi? This Rosewater and Cardamom Yogurt Lassi is a people-pleaser.
- My freezer is stocked with homemade frozen fruit pops. Featuring the season’s sweetest stars, these are simple to make and go down easy too.
Tip: If you’re looking to stock up and save like I do, The Whole Deal™ value guide frequently contains a coupon for yogurt. Plus, 365 Everyday Value® Yogurt is priced right every day of the year, especially the organic varieties! Look for the new 365 Everyday Value® Greek Yogurts— they’re packed with protein and calcium and are available in 2% plain and fat-free versions with scrumptious flavors like honey, strawberry and blueberry pomegranate. How do you enjoy your yogurt and what’s your favorite type?