6 Tasty Ways to Get More Protein, Curb Your Hunger and Lose Weight
Yogurt has been around for centuries. It's a staple food in India, Russia, Turkey, as well as many European and Middle East countries.
The reason yogurt is so popular around the world, is because it's truly a health-supporting food. It contains probiotics, which can boost your immune system by keeping your gut healthy. Probiotics can also help bloated bellies flatten out. In severe cases, yogurt consumption can help people with gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome (unless they have a dairy intolerance).
Greek yogurt, specifically, can help you lose weight because of its high protein content. Foods high in protein help stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day, curbing your cravings and preventing unnecessary snacking. In a 2006 study a group of fifteen men were fed two different breakfasts that had the same amount of calories: a high protein breakfast and a high carbohydrate breakfast. Those who consumed the high protein breakfast had a decreased amount of the hormone gherkin.
With about 15 grams of protein per serving, Greek yogurt can be a great breakfast, snack, dessert or an addition to other foods at lunch or dinner time. Individual serving-sized packages are convenient to bring to work or even pack in a cooler for road trips. They're also a great travel snack, and now you can find Greek yogurt in most airport snack shops.
6 Yummy Yogurt Ideas to Try:
1. Add Some Spice
Flavor Greek yogurt with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to give it a sweet and spicy flavor. I recently had it mixed with green tea matcha powder and strawberries. It was so tasty and packed with antioxidants. This is a great way to start your day, and studies show that a high protein breakfast can help people lose weight.
2. Make a Creamy Smoothie
Try adding Greek yogurt to a smoothie to start your day. Add fruit and ice, and you have a balanced breakfast in a glass.
3. Swap Out Butter
Having a more decadent breakfast? Try using a dollop of Greek yogurt on top of your protein pancakes instead of butter. Or serve it instead of cream with your blueberry scones to cut back on calories and add protein.
4. Make a Spicy Sauce
Mix your favorite hot sauce into some Greek yogurt to make a spicy sauce for your eggs or fish tacos, minus the mayo.
5. Lighten Up Your Dip
Throwing a March Madness Party this year? Why not serve your favorite dip made with non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayo? Instead of greasy potato chips, use cucumber slices and you'll save tons of calories from unhealthy fats and get a good serving of healthy protein while everyone else gorges on chicken wings. A tzatziki dip is a great starter for any cocktail or dinner party to serve with your favorite multi-grain or rice crackers and baby carrots.
6. Treat Yourself
Even decadent desserts can be another way to get your Greek yogurt fix while watching your waistline. Try this frozen Greek yogurt recipe for you or your kids when you're looking for a healthy treat.
Chocolate Frozen Yogurt
Yield: 6 servings
3 cups plain Greek yogurt (0% fat)
1 ½ cup organic low fat milk (1%)
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Whisk together the yogurt, milk, agave nectar, cocoa and lemon juice in a large bowl.
2. Transfer the mixture to a freezer-proof container. Put on the lid and place in the freezer. After about 45 minutes check the mixture. As it starts to freeze around the edges beat vigorously with a whisk or hand mixer to break up the ice crystals.
3. Repeat periodically until the mixture is frozen, about 2-3 hours.
If you’re not into chocolate just leave out the cocoa for a more natural flavor or add fruit.
Recipe adapted from SNOG Healthy Treats Cookbook.
Readers - Are you trying to add more protein to your diet? Do you like Greek yogurt? Why or why not? What is your favorite brand? Would you try any of these healthy swaps? What are your favorite ways to eat Greek yogurt? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Jennifer Cassetta is a third degree black belt, clinical nutritionist and personal trainer. She loves kale, chocolate and wine. She loves to punch, kick, lift weights, meditate, and dress up in stilettos. She empowers people to be strong, safe and sexy through nutrition, fitness and self-defense, and you can read more at www.jennifercassetta.com.