Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Greek vs. Regular.

Today I was asked a question on my personal facebook wall: "How is that Greek Yogurt compared to Plain Yogurt? Is it tastier?" I posted up my answer. However I thought this topic would make for a great blog post to share! Since I was once a newbie to Greek yogurt earlier in this journey - read about it here.  Since then, I have done lots of reading on it to know just what exactly I was benefitting from on making the switch. Now I use it for everything!!!  Big Thanks Tosha for asking a great question!

So.... "How is that Greek Yogurt compared to Plain Yogurt? Is it tastier?"

My Answer:

I like greek better for several reasons. I think it is much tastier - the vanilla is much sweeter and less tart than regular yogurt. I also like Greek yogurt for its lower sugar and higher protein content, which, among other things, makes you feel fuller. The plain is tart but is a great alternative to sour cream, cream cheese or high calorie cheesy spreads and I use it a lot in cooking and for making homemade low calorie dressings and of course, it goes great in smoothies. 

Here are more reasons why Greek vs. Regular is different:

Yogurt comes from milk that has had healthy bacteria added, causing it to ferment. During this process, yogurt thickens and takes on a slightly tangy taste. Yogurt is then strained through a cheesecloth, which allows the liquid whey part of milk to drain off. Regular yogurt is strained twice, while Greek yogurt is strained three times to remove more whey (leaving a thicker consistency). While all yogurt provides numerous health benefits (including probiotics), the nutritional stats for Greek yogurt and regular yogurt do differ. Here's how the two stack up:

1.Protein - Greek yogurt has almost double the protein of regular yogurt. Eight ounces of Greek yogurt has about 20 grams of protein, whereas regular yogurt provides around 11-13 grams. Greek yogurt's high protein content makes it a favorite among people trying to manage their weight as it helps ward off hunger.
2.Carbohydrates - Greek yogurt has fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. This could be beneficial to diabetics, who have to watch their carbohydrate intake.
3.Calcium - Regular yogurt has about three times the calcium of Greek yogurt. Both are still considered good sources of calcium, but women who don't get enough calcium from other foods may want to stick to regular yogurt for its bone-building benefits.
4.Sodium - Greek yogurt has half the sodium of regular yogurt.
5.Calories - Plain, nonfat versions of Greek and regular yogurt have a similar calorie count per serving, but added sugars can significantly increase the calories of either variety.
6.Texture - Greek yogurt is much thicker and creamier than regular yogurt because it's strained more. Greek yogurt can also be used in cooking as it does not curdle when heated like regular yogurt.

Both types of yogurt can be used as lower-calorie substitutes for fatty ingredients. Swap out eggs and oil in baked goods for Greek yogurt, or use either yogurt type in place of full-fat sour cream, heavy cream, mayonnaise, or cream cheese in recipes. Both types can also be used in place of other high-calorie ingredients in dips, sauces, salad dressings, smoothies, and desserts. As with both Greek and regular yogurts, be sure to choose low-fat or nonfat varieties, and opt for those with little to no added sugar, as this ups the calorie count.

I hope all of this information helps everyone in making the choice to try Greek yogurt and perhaps expand your healthy food + cooking horizons!

I'm also attaching my 'homemade' Spicy Ranch Salad dressing recipe that uses Greek Yogurt. Enjoy! 

 "Greeked" Spicy Ranch Dressing 
serving size: 2 Tbs. (55 calories)

• Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch Salad Dressing Seasoning Mix
• 5.03 oz Plain - Low Fat Greek Yogurt
• optional: 2%, low fat milk or milk substitue, ie Silk

Instead of preparing the dressing as instructed on the packet, this recipe is a much simpler low calorie method replacing the mayo, sour cream and milk with Greek Yogurt. This recipe is also very versatile in the fact that you can make it into a dip or dressing.  

Place the Greek yogurt into a small bowl. Mix only 1/2 of the seasoning mix into a container, mix Greek yogurt and dressing seasoning well.

You should have a thick 'dip' like consistency. If you prefer this as a dip for veggies - you are finished at this point! Enjoy!

If you prefer more of a creamy dressing - add 2 tbs of low fat milk or milk substitute - mix well.

If you prefer a spicier dressing or are using a larger container of yogurt - you could add the whole packet of dressing seasoning mix. This however will add to the calorie count - 110 calories

 Another great low calorie option - Hidden Valley Feista Ranch is 60 calories for 2 Tbs once prepared.

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