My second favorite nutritious and convenient snack of all time is yogurt! The first, of course, is a banana . Yogurt has been touted and recommended as the best snack for women, children, and seniors for numerous reasons. I would recommend yogurt to be part of everyone’s diet for the following reasons:
1. Yogurt is a great source of protein.
For those of you guys out there that want to increase your daily protein intake to build those muscles after a good, hard work-out, a cup of yogurt contains close to 15 grams of protein. The cultures in yogurt also make the protein easier to digest than say, a porterhouse steak. I’d also venture to say a cup of yogurt probably tastes better than those protein shakes you boys are wolfing down after a free weight work-out at the gym.
2. Yogurt is a great source of calcium.
So while you guys are building those muscles with all the protein that yogurt provides, you are also helping to build strong bones to hold those big, strong muscles. Yogurt provides 30 to 40% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium in one small cup. In addition, the live active cultures in yogurt allow for better absorption of calcium into the body than say a glass of milk. Good news for women, being that starting at the age of 30, women need to increase their calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis. Remember, a supplement of vitamin D can help for better absorption of calcium.
3. Yogurt can help to keep your intestine clean thus reduce the risk of colon cancer.
The live active cultures in yogurt, particularly acidophilus, helps to create healthy bacteria in the intestinal lining. This reduces the conversion of bile into carcinogenic bile acids. The high calcium content of yogurt also helps to reduce the growth of excess cells in the colon, thus also helping to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Pediatricians often recommend feeding children yogurt after an intestinal infection or diarrhea.
4. Yogurt can help to heal yeast infections faster.
The live active cultures in yogurt reduce the amount of yeast colonies in the vagina, thus helping to heal yeast infections faster. Eating a cup of yogurt everyday can help to reduce the incidence of yeast infections by increasing the healthy bacteria in your body.
Finally, there are a lot of different types of yogurts out there. To diffuse the noise and make it simple, you should just eat plain yogurt. Yes, I know, it’s tempting to want to buy the fancy flavored yogurts – blood orange yogurt or the pomegranate yogurt or my favorite, strawberry banana yogurt. The problem with these fruit flavored yogurt is that they have a lot of sugar – close to 25 grams per cup! Your best bet is to buy plain yogurt and just add fresh fruit. A plain cup of yogurt has only about 9 grams of sugar. I usually buy Chobani Greek yogurt plain and add whatever fresh fruit I have stocked. You can also add frozen fruit. I often have more frozen fruit stocked since I keep them handy for making smoothies so my plain yogurt usually gets a nicy, icy kick with the frozen fruit.
A new brand of yogurt I tried recently is Siggi’s. It’s an Icelandic style skyr made with all natural milk from grass fed cows. It is yogurt that is native to Iceland and is very thick in texture because the water has been strained so it takes some getting used to. Skyr has been a staple in Iceland for 1,000 years. It’s fat free and one cup of skyr requires three times more milk than a regular cup of yogurt. Definitely something to try if you haven’t tried it before. But my go-to brand of yogurt is good ol’ Chobani.
So if you are always on the go like I am and need a pick-me-up … grab a cup of plain yogurt from the corner deli and buy a banana from the guy on the street corner and voila, you’ve got a healthy, convenient snack packed with tons of nutrients!