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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Lets Go Greek!

After the endless amount of fried food and calorie bomb stream of fair foods from the last blog post I figured it was a good idea to swing the pendulum back the other way with some content that was more on the healthy side of things. So today's Better Bite" feature deals with my one of my all time staple foods year round........Greek Yogurt!

I have been using Greek yogurt in my meals and in my baking recipes for a long time now. It is one of the most versatile food items one can have as I see it......considering the basic form, plain, non fat you can use it in any of the following ways:

  • Mix in spices like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cocoa, pumpkin pie spice etc
  • Mix in flavored drink mix like Crystal Lite, Mio, Sugar Free Kool-Aid etc...
  • Freeze it to semi-solid and eat like ice cream or pudding 
  • Blend it with other dairy based items like low fat cottage cheese and/or cream cheese to use as a sub in for traditional sugar laden frosting and icing.
  • Blend it with flavored protein powders to make a power packed protein pudding or again, freeze for a bit and have some healthy high protein ice cream ready to go!
The best part about Greek Yogurt is that when looking at the plain, non fat versions, you get 2x as much protein as you do carbs (lactose/sugar) flavored types can easily rack up 20+ grams sugar mind you so be weary. Non fat versions can push 8 grams of fat a serving as well so just be mindful of the labels when buying your preferred types. 

I was at the store and wanted to see for myself which of the most common brands I buy was the best one in a side by side head on taste test. Below is the 3 brands I used and the outcomes I can draw from the tasting.

No OIKOS you ask?! I know, I know, trust me, I wanted to and planned to have a 4th brand, that being Oikos. Sadly however both of my local Vons grocery stores were out of the plain, non fat version. The Sprouts near my place does not carry Oikos either so I was SOL on that selection which was unfortunate because Oikos would have easily been a contender for top spot in my opinion. Prices listed below are what was found at Vons on Midway Drive, Point Loma, CA.

Chobani was the most tangy/tart of the three brands tested. Also the softest. This would great for best for blending in with protein powders or to bake with as it will either thicken up from the powder added to it or add moister to the baked item your making like brownies, pancakes, waffles etc. Also best used for fruit smoothies as the tang will add a nice citrus tartness to balance the fruits sweetness. Good amount of protein per 150g serving too! Cost $1.25

 FAGE despite having a name many still struggle with.....was perhaps be a thin edge, very thin edge, the thickest and creamiest of the three brands. Had the highest protein content per serving (which was 170g or 20g more than the other two mind you) but also kept the lactose/carb content as low as the other two brands (7 grams). The tartness/tang was very subtle but it is their as more of an aftertaste. This brand would be best for adding spices to and eating on its own or adding dried fruit to and then freezing semi solid as a pesudo-dessert option. Also best for blending with other dairy items to make the above mentioned "icing/frosting" replacements due to its natural thickness. Cost $1.00

 Open Nature is a brand, organic brand carried by Vons. This is the only place I have ever seen it. This happens to be the brand I get most often. One because it only cost $0.89 for a 5.3oz serving making measures easy when I need 1-3 units worth pending meal or recipe. Protein content is high, lactose content low and Open Nature like the FAGE is very thick and creamy, almost a toss up for which one was thicker than the other. The tart/tang factor also about the same between the two as I found it. This brand would be best used just like the FAGE above. The slightly cheaper cost, protein/carb ratio, tartness and portion and ease of being found at either of my two local Vons stores makes this my go to Greek Yogurt by a small margin. Cost: $0.89

One major kudos factor for all 3 brands is that they all have a very short list of ingredients. This is as import as the nutrition facts label if not more. This tells you what is actually in the product vice just numbers. All of them are composed of nothing more than grade A pasteurized non fat milk and live and active cultures (probiotic strains) and because the Greek style yogurt unlike is regular yogurt cousin is treated with lactic acid, the lactose that is present is predigested and very easy on the gut. Making these 3 brands very lactose intolerant friendly for folks like me who just cant do most other dairy items.

So with that said, I hope you now have a new insight and/or motive to try some Greek Yogurt and find a new way to get yourself  "A Better Bite."