Greek Yogurt 101 and Recipes

Not only is yogurt great for a nutritious snack or breakfast, researchers are finding that eating yogurt can help fight infections, aid in weight loss, boost the immune system, fight osteoporosis, reduce high blood pressure, aid in digestive problems and even add years to your life. Yogurt is also a great source of protein, calcium, zinc, B12, magnesium and even potassium. Not a day goes by that I don’t eat it (honest). My favorite, by far, is the nonfat or reduced-fat Greek yogurt. One (6-ounce) container of nonfat Greek yogurt contains 100 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates and 18 grams of protein with no fat and only 65 mg of sodium.

How to choose yogurt

-Choose low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt for best nutritional results. I prefer nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt because it is very high in protein and low in fat, carbohydrates and sodium.

-Look at the ingredient list for added sweeteners and artificial colors.

-Check the calories and carbohydrates on the label to find the ones with the least amount of sweetener.

-Look for the words “live culture”, “active culture” or “live active culture” on the label. This type of yogurt contains probiotic cultures that help regulate your digestive system.

-Be sure to check the date of expiration before you consume it.

How to store yogurt:

-Refrigerate yogurt as soon as you purchase it. Store it on your cooler shelves in the refrigerator.

-Be sure the yogurt is tightly sealed

-Once opened, be sure to seal it properly and store in the refrigerator.

-If you buy the freshest yogurt, it can usually be stored for up to 2 weeks depending on the date of the package. Your best bet is to use it as soon as you can after purchase.

-Do not freeze yogurt. This will affect he quality, texture and flavor.

I took a poll on Facebook, and here are some of my facebook friends’ and my favorite ways to use yogurt:

-Use in smoothies and shakes

-Eat for breakfast with almonds and blueberries

-Stir in bananas and walnuts

-Stir in granola cereal and fresh peaches or strawberries

-Use on top of baked potatoes instead of sour cream

-Use instead of mayonnaise in tuna salad

-Use on tacos or taco salad

-Use in layered dips or vegetable dips instead of sour cream

-Use in a tzatziki sauce, white barbecue sauce or tartar sauce recipe

-Stir in homemade jams

-Drain the excess water from Greek yogurt and use in coffee like creme fraiche

For a few of my favorite recipes (photos above), check out the following links:

Banana Bread with Yogurt

Banana Dark Chocolate Muffins with Greek Yogurt

Apricot and Almond Coffee Cake

Easy Pork Fajitas

Best Foods for Runners

I have been an avid runner since I was 16. I love it, and it’s definitely one of my passions. For years, friends have asked me to come up with recipes for runners. Instead, I thought I would research what are the best foods and write about it. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Wild Salmon-Wild salmon is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which boost heart health and nerve system functioning. Some doctors even say omega-3’s can help with post-run achy joints.

2. Almonds-High in antioxidants, protein and vitamin E, almonds are a wise choice for a runner’s snack helping to prevent achy muscles.

3. Quinoa-This complex carbohydrate (pronounced Keen-wah) is a great energy source filled with fiber, B vitamin, zinc and magnesium which are so helpful to runners. One-fourth cup of dry of quinoa has 172 calories, 6 grams of protein, 31 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber, and it’s also gluten-free.

4. Kale-This member of the cabbage family has high levels of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber. It is one of the most antioxidant filled vegetables.

5. Bananas-This great pre-workout or post-workout food is a great source of carbohydrates and potassium. That is why you will always find bananas offered at the end of races.

6. Eggs-Eating one egg offers a great source of vitamin K and protein which aid in promoting healthy bones and muscles. I like to purchase the organic omega-3 enhanced eggs.

7. Blueberries-Filled with vitamin C and potassium, these can help the body repair itself after long, hard runs.

8. Edamame-This great snack is filled with protein, fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin C. It’s a great snack option loaded with health benefits.

9. Yogurt-Low-fat yogurt has a good source of carbohydrates and protein, and Greek yogurt has less carbs and even more protein. Both are great sources of calcium which is important for runners to help prevent stress fractures and osteoporosis.

10. Oranges-High in vitamin C, oranges are great for healing and helping absorb iron in the body which can help prevent fatigue and increase energy levels.