It’s a minefield of choices from zero-fat, probiotic health food to caramel or chocolate dessert pots. Yogurt is a delicious snack or even a part of a meal, but it has also become the poster child for nutritious foods. We know we should probably eat it—and feed it to our kids—but in the of options, is there an easy, uncomplicated choice? There sure is: Always choose plain yogurt. And if you think it’s too boring to be enjoyable, read on for five tips that’ll change your mind.
This is the key to falling in love with plain yogurt. Low-fat yogurt is pasty in texture and almost flavourless (unless its packed with excessive amounts of sweetened fruit or other sugars). Full-fat yogurt has a luxurious quality and even better flavour, since fat molecules help to transmit taste to our palates. Also, fat isn’t the enemy we once thought, as registered dietitian Dara Gurau explains: “Science has now proven that higher-fat dairy is better for blood sugar control and heart health. Kids in particular need higher-fat dairy for brain development, and in order to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in everyday foods.” It’s also more satisfying and less processed. So when it comes to plain yogurt, look for at least three percent fat (but six percent or nine percent is even better) and you’ll be on your way toward having a new favourite food in your household.
Syrup isn’t just for pancakes. Drizzle maple syrup or molasses over plain yogurt (and don’t stir it in so kids can see it). Molasses is thicker, so try drawing your child’s initial in the yogurt. This way you control the amount of sweet stuff getting into the yogurt (and your little one!).
Drain full-fat plain yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined sieve or fine-mesh colander overnight. This removes much of the water, which also increases the yogurt’s protein content. Use plain or stir in a small pinch of garlic powder, chopped chives and salt. Spread on crackers or toast.
Mash a handful of fresh raspberries with a pinch of sugar and a drop of vanilla in a small glass jar. Top with plain yogurt. Or reverse it and top a portion of full-fat plain yogurt with a pretty array of sliced bananas, dry cereal, toasted sliced almonds or sunflower seeds and a little drizzle of honey.
Mash equal parts plain yogurt with ripe avocado. Stir in salt and a little freshly grated lime zest or juice. Serve with veggie sticks and tortilla chips.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Spring/Summer 2018