Make your yogurt bowl less wimpy

Yogurt can serve as a great base for a meal, but are you bulking it up to get what ya need?

Make your yogurt bowl less wimpy

Are you having a yogurt bowl as your first meal of the day?

While I’m a supporter of the “loaded yogurt” as a meal option, I’ve been seeing a lot of wimpy yogurt bowls lately. Ya’ll want to have a movin’ and groovin’ day, yes?? If you’re with me on that, then stay here for a few tips on how to improve the oomph factor and quality of your concoction.

PROTEIN:

Anyone who has worked with me before has likely heard me up on the Protein Soapbox. Just like no two snowflakes are alike, it is rare to find two yogurts that are identical. Tips:

  1. There are a lot of “candy yogurts” out there that offer little in the way of protein and loads in the way of added sugar. Don’t assume your yogurt is high in protein because of the marketing verbiage on the front of the container. Turn that carton around to get to the Nutrition Facts label and then examine the protein content in grams per serving. There is a huge variance between the different styles of yogurts and the many brands available on the market.

    The protein content can vary from as little as 1 gram to ~20 grams per 3/4 cup serving. As the majority of you are needing in the range of 25 to 40 grams of protein per meal, a yogurt with a teensy amount of protein is almost worthless from my POV. Generally, the Greek and Icelandic style yogurts are going to be higher in protein, but this too will vary depending on brand. A few of my favorite brands for dairy-based yogurts include Fage, Siggi’s, Icelandic Provisions, and Chobani. The generic store brands can be decent too, but you gotta label check.

  2. Can’t tolerate lactose? You don’t necessarily need to choose a non-dairy based yogurt. It may take you a few extra minutes of yogurt hunting and label reviewing in your grocery store, but there likely are a few options for you. A few of my favorites for lactose-free varieties are Green Valley and Fage for their protein content and decent texture/flavor.

  3. Opting for non-dairy all together? Here again, it is possible to find higher protein-containing yogurts, but a quick check of the Nutrition Facts label will do ya good. Many of the coconut, oat, nut, and soy-based yogurts are simply falling into the “candy category” with over 2 teaspoons (10 grams) of added sugar and minimal protein. While I understand that some of you may still benefit from the probiotics, the low protein content is not optimal and you’re gonna need to be purposeful to increase the protein content. Check out the Kite Hill, Siggi’s, and Silk brands for some better options.

BACK TO THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM (SUGAR):

As I mentioned above, there are numerous candy yogurts out there. My intention is not to demonize sugar, but rather, arm you with the knowledge to choose wisely. From my experience, many folx simply don’t know what is in their yogurt.

Your best bet is going to be choosing plain, unflavored yogurts and then jazzing it up with fruit to naturally sweeten. This lets you control and adjust the sweetness, while also reaping the many micronutrient and phytonutrient benefits from whole fruits. One of my favorite tricks is to make my next day’s yogurt bowl with frozen fruit. The fruit will thaw overnight in the fridge. Give it a few stirs and shizzzammm, you have naturally sweetened yogurt.

For you granola and muesli lovers, I also encourage you to check the Nutrition Facts label to learn the added sugar and protein content of your mix. You may be surprised to learn how much sugar is in your “but the label says it is a natural healthy granola!” package. Just sayin’.

And in case you didn’t know, for any of your dairy yogurts (that are not lactose-free)… lactose is a natural milk sugar. If you’re looking at the sugar content and wondering how there can be any sugar in your yogurt even though it is plain or “low sugar”, it is the natural lactose you are seeing. For every 1 cup of milk, there is about 12 grams of lactose. But remember, this is “natural”, not added sugar.

FIBER:

Why worry about fiber in your yogurt bowl? Well, if you want a longer lasting, more filling meal, the fiber contribution is going to make a difference here (along with the high protein content). Plus, fiber-containing foods not only help feed our gut bugs, but they contain other micronutrients that provide us health benefits.

Some simple fiber additions include:

  • fruit (fresh or frozen is preferred if you can!) such as berries, pomegranate, cherries, kiwi, apples, figs, and peaches

  • nuts/seeds such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, chia, flax (ground is better for absorption though)

  • whole grains such as oats or spelt flakes (they don’t need to be cooked) or a whole grain cereal

  • vegetables - Oh, come on, don’t freak out here. It is a thing.

Experiment with different mix and match combinations to find a texture and flavor profile you enjoy. And bonus: try adding spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or pumpkin pie spice.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: AMOUNT

This one is for all ya’ll who put a a couple little spoons of yogurt in the bowl with a dab of this and dab of that. And I’m over here saying “Yo, we gotta bulk this bowl UP!!”

What I mean is, in order to get enough oomph, you can’t eat bird-like. It may be helpful to take a few opportunities to measure quantities of your yogurt and the mix-ins to see what you are actually putting into the bowl. You may think you have a loaded yogurt, when in actuality, it’s on the wimpy side.

I hope these tips help. What’s your favorite yogurt bowl recipe? Let me know!

-Dina