I eat a lot of yogurt. At breakfast with granola or lightly sweetened cheerios. At lunch in the form of (real) frozen yogurt (read: BerryLine). As a snack in smoothies. And again, frozen or not, for dessert. Too much? Maybe- but this is how I justify it:
1) The idea of drinking plain milk kinda grosses me out, so my calcium has to come from yogurt and dark leafy greens (I try not to use supplements if I don’t have to).
–Be careful, though… because Greek yogurt is strained, it’s higher in protein (good) but looses some of its minerals and water-soluble vitamins, including calcium. One 6-oz cup of plain yogurt has about 30% Ca, whereas the same amount of Greek yogurt has only 20%.
2) It’s extremely versitile. It can be eaten straight up, added to sauces as thickeners, used in place of sour cream (particularly Greek because it’s thicker), and added to baked goods, sometimes as a substitute for eggs or oil. What else do you use yogurt for?
3) It’s nutritionally a powerhouse- besides the calcium, it’s high in protein, phosphorous, and potassium. It’s also low in calories, especially considering how filling it is. If you’re partial to the research that’s been done regarding probiotics, yogurt (as defined by the US Government) must have live and active cultures (sorry, Activia, that’s nothing special… just because you renamed a little bacteria to sound like a part of the GI tract does not make it different). Some research has shown these bacteria to maintain healthy levels of “friendly” bacteria not only in the GI tract but in the whole body. The point of having lots of friendly bacteria is that it prevents infestation by “unfriendly” bacteria, while also allowing the gut to function as it should in the digestion of food, absorption of nutrients, and disposal of wastes.
4) It tastes really good. If you currently like that souped-up light sugary flavored crap, mix a little low fat or fat free plain yogurt into it to begin adjusting to the taste. Once you get used to it, up the ratio of plain to flavored yogurt gradually until you work all the way up to plain yogurt. Eventually, you’ll get so used to the tangy light flavor of plain yogurt that flavored yogurt will just be revolting (as it should be… who needs all that extra sugar?). If you really can’t completely get used to the flavor, stir in some honey, fruit, or lightly sweetened cereal.
Also, be careful with the frozen stuff– it’s much better for you than ice cream, but it’s always sweetened so it’s never as perfect as plain yogurt. Same goes for “fruit on the bottom” yogurt cups.
Any questions? Let me know!