When I was at Costco today with my son, something caught my attention. While I am accustomed to seeing the brightly colored – fake flavored Go-Gurt yogurt tubes, I have never seen a Go-Gurt package with the word “Simple” on it. Hmmm. What could this mean? Has a major food manufacturer caught on to the fact that people are starting to ask for REAL Food instead of FAKE Food?
Real yogurt, in fact, only has two ingredients: Live cultures and milk (whole milk, low-fat, or skim). Many of the yogurts that are in the grocery store have huge ingredient lists, with loads of sugar, to boot. This summer, I was with my in-laws and glanced at the sugar content in one of the flavored yogurts in the refrigerator. Can you believe that it had nearly the same amount of sugar as a regular Coke?
The longer the ingredients list, the more calories you get and the less yogurt nutrition. If you are already looking at the label to check out sugar content, be sure to also look at the protein value. The higher the protein and the lower the sugar content, the more actual yogurt you’re getting in the container. In our house, we buy nonfat Greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s and add our own sweeteners. My daughter’s current favorite is to add a spoonful of raspberry jam. But we also enjoy adding a little honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, or nutella on occasion. Not only is it fun to make our own flavors, but we love that WE are the ones who decide what ends up in our food…and we like that we can pronounce all of the ingredients in our version!
The famous pediatrician, Dr. Sears, breaks down the nutrition information in two types of yogurts, one he calls Yummy and the other, Yucky. Like us, he prefers plain Greek Yogurt, so I assume that is the Yummy that he is referring to. And I’ll assume that the Yucky one is one of the sweet, flavored yogurts with a brightly colored package.
Calories from fat: 0
Total Carbs: 9 grams
Sugars: 9 grams
Protein: 22 grams
No added fillers, sweeteners, or colorings.
Calories from fat: 0
Total Carbs: 24-40 grams
Sugars: 17-32 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Fillers: high fructose corn syrup, colorings and other filler
Under “yummy” circumstances, yogurt is a valuable health food for children. It is a balanced source of protein, fats, carbohydrates, and minerals in a texture that kids love. Plain yogurt, in particular, says Dr. Sears, is more nutritious than fruit-added preparations.
- Plain yogurt contains around one-half of the calories of the same amount of fruit-added yogurt.
- Plain yogurt contains almost twice the amount of proteins.
- Plain yogurt contains fewer fillers.
- Plain yogurt contains more calcium.
- Plain yogurt contains no added sugar.
What’s in your kitchen? If your yogurt is meant to be a healthful snack, try picking up a container of plain Greek yogurt the next time you are at the market. However, if you’re a fan of the sweet and fruity variety, perhaps you should save it for dessert.