Sorry to my vegan friends, but I love yogurt and this post is going to be about the magic of yogurt. Also, for you that think this will be about lowfat or nonfat yogurt, just skip this post for Women’s Magazine or something. Yogurt is one of those foods that deserves the fullness of flavor and texture that can only come with whole milk. Eating nonfat yogurt is like a skinny girl to guys. They want the whole curve–the voluptuousness of hips, legs and chest– and slapping a stick of a human in front of them does not make them happy (I say this as a tiny person with the whole “Get more meat on your bones!” statement handed to me). That’s whole milk yogurt. Our tastebuds deserve better than sticks. So just go with it!
Why It’s Awesome
Okay, so I am going to start with the health benefits of yogurt. Beyond the obvious full of protein and calcium, yogurts are fantastic sources for those little bacteria we need. As humans, we all already have bacteria in our guts, aptly named gut flora. Though we can technically live without them, gut flora and humans have a pretty good relationship going on. We give them food and a place to stay, and they produce vitamins like K and biotin, help train the immune system, and produce hormones to help us store fats.
Now, yogurt comes into the picture as a transporter of more probiotics into our systems that can improve the functionality of existing gut flora. According to one study published in the International Dairy Journal in March 2007, yogurt contain probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium that can help lower cholesterol, boost metabolism and stimulate the immune system.
When to Use it
So, now that we’ve established yogurt’s health benefits, when and in what would yogurt be
best to use? Well, the easy answer and one I could give would be pretty much any time; however, I’ll give some basic instances. Probably the most widely used in the U.S. is replacing milk with yogurt when eating granola. Add a banana and some almonds, and you’ve got a tasty breakfast complete with grains, fiber, protein, probiotics, and a fruit!
Another breakfast idea common among Germans is to spread plain yogurt on toast instead of cream cheese. You can leave it plain or add jam or honey if you’d like. I find this a tasty and lighter alternative in the mornings to the granola.
Now on to lunch. Yogurt dips are a fantastic way to enjoy vegetables and get those health benefits of yogurt in one sitting. Like hummus, yogurt dips are a Middle Eastern food and incredibly easy to make. Mix one cup yogurt, a clove or two of garlic and some salt/pepper together (again, this is where the thick creamy whole milk yogurt works great), and you’ve got a delicious dip for veggies while socializing with friends or working.
As for dinner, almost whenever I make a creamy soup, I add a dollop of the plain yogurt on top (like cream or cheese). Also, when I make tomato-type alfredo sauces, I actually prefer using yogurt to the cheese/whole milk combination because instead of adding milk for the texture and cheese for the slightly sour flavor, using yogurt kills two birds with one stone. Though I probably cut a little of the calories/fat out that way, the amount is probably negligible, and again, that’s not what I’m going for.
Yogurt is awesome and a stable in my fridge. For poor college kids who have to use one ingredient to substitute a few, yogurt is a must-have. It’s pretty versatile, too, working for anything from soups and dips to breads and cakes. I sound like an advocate, and I don’t mean to, but I’ve used yogurt a lot to get a healthy meal on a low budget, and for this post, I wanted to share that. The only project I’m missing is actually making the yogurt myself, which will be a future project and post come Christmas season. Happy eating, y’all!