We’ve all heard about it: Greek yogurt is the cooler, fitter cousin in the family of mostly tart and cream (as if regular yogurt isn’t healthy enough!). For every week that you browse the dairy shelves of your neighborhood supermarket, it seems that more and more brands are pandering to our desire to stock healthier, trendier, and slightly more expensive milk by-products in our refrigerators.
Instagram fitspo gurus rave about their Greek yogurt smoothie bowls topped with bananas, chia seeds, and berries like everything we ever knew about food was wrong. Does Greek yogurt come from Greece? Is my lack of knowledge about this superfood the only thing standing between me and my ideal body? Seriously, what is this thing, and should I be eating it?
The Superfood Status
Greek yogurt joins the likes of quinoa, almond milk, and kale in this current wave of superfoods taking over our grocery aisles. It was the brand Chobani that opened the Greek yogurt floodgates in the U.S. in 2007. Greek yogurt has since penetrated the mainstream food market as well as the psyche of health and nutrition buffs, showing no signs of backing down.
But ‘Greek’ is actually a bit of a misnomer because in Greece, they pretty much only humbly call it “giaoúrti.” In India, it’s simply curd. To Middle Easterns, it’s labneh.
Why is it more pricey?
Greek yogurt is thicker because its straining process removes more of the whey from the milk. Its production requires a little bit more milk and a lot more straining, thus a higher price tag. Its creamier texture and a tangier taste could make first-timers do a double take on the ‘sell by’ date.
My Big Fat Greek Yogurt
Versus regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has less carbs, sugar, sodium, but more protein and fat. They are pretty much equal on the probiotics front, so you can rest assured that your gut flora is intact.
Regular yogurt packs more calcium, so you may want to stay in that lane if higher bone mineral density is what you’re going for.
Health pro-tip: there are many tempting flavors, but if you’re watching your diet, it’s always better to stick to plain and non-fat!
With some brands, Greek yogurt does have the mouthfeel of cream cheese and you might think you’re better off spreading it over a slice of bread. Go ahead because it’s not at all weird! Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines pair their thick yogurts with pita and naan. Greek yogurt is a versatile food item that’s a mainstay in Mediterranean diet, adored by cardiovascular health enthusiasts and kebab-loving foodies everywhere.
A lot of people consume Greek yogurt for breakfast, using it as the vehicle to get their healthy granolas and fruit into their systems. It can also be used as a substitute for more indulgent ingredients like sour cream, and even mayonnaise.
Sweet tooth pro-tip: Plain Greek yogurt drizzled with honey or sprinkled with cacao nibs is a tasty treat made for the goddess that you are!
How are you enjoying your greek yogurt? Tag us on Instagram @iamclaireph!