Unhealthy Yogurt

Yoplait YogurtYogurt is thought of as a healthy food.  It provides healthy bacteria, protein and calcium.  Unfortunately most yogurt available in the grocery stores is not what I would consider healthy.  When my older daughter was young I bought her yogurt tubes because she could take them to school and loved the taste.  What I didn’t realize was how unhealthy they were because of the food colouring and sugar in them.  I believe that yogurt is no longer a healthy food once you add those.

The bacteria in the yogurt helps keep our system in balance and helps us avoid sinus, ear and candida infections.  The bacteria also decreases the amount of lactose in yogurt, which means that yogurt is easier to digest than milk.  In my opinion, to buy the best yogurt:

Avoid:

  • artificial food colouring (“colour” as an ingredient, Yellow #5, Red #40, or Tartrazine)
  • sugar (on the ingredient list, not the nutritional panel that shows “sugars”)
  • aspartame, Splenda and other artificial sugars
  • additives or extra ingredients like cornstarch

Choose:

  • plain yogurt
  • yogurt sweetened with fruit juice or fruit
  • yogurt sweetened with honey or stevia
  • yogurt without colour, or coloured with beet juice or annatto

I buy plain yogurt and add fruit to it myself.  I love plain yogurt with fresh raspberries or bananas. Sometimes I add homemade granola, raw nuts, pumpkin seeds or unsweetened coconut.  I buy vanilla yogurt for my daughters occasionally, buying the ones with organic sugar so that the sweetener isn’t quite as processed.

More reading on the health benefits of yogurt:

Reasons Why Yogurt is a Top Health Food by Dr. Sears

In this blog post I have been writing about dairy yogurt, but the same information applies to goat yogurt, soy yogurt and coconut milk yogurt.

Quick Healthy Snacks

Here are some more ideas for healthier snacks:

  • unsalted nuts (buy in Costco or the bulk section of the grocery store)
  • Wasa rye crisp crackers with sundried tomato hummus
  • Carrot sticks, celery, cucumber, red pepper, cauliflower; with dip or hummus
  • hard-boiled (organic) egg with dash of sea salt
  • pre-cut cantaloupe or pineapple
  • unsweetened applesauce (available in a jar or in small cups; berry and mango flavours too)
  • raspberries
  • panda licorice (sweetened with licorice root and molasses, not sugar)
  • homemade dried fruit and nut mix (use unsweetened, unsulphered fruit and raw nuts)
  • plain yogurt topped with berries (fresh or thawed from frozen)

Celery with Goat Cheese

Celery with goat cheese
Celery with goat cheese

Today I had a yummy snack: celery with goat cheese, and celery with peanut butter.  I got the crunch I love and some protein to keep me full for awhile.  I use organic celery because I’d rather avoid the pesticides and it tastes healthier to me.

Eating celery is helpful for hydration since it is 95% water.  It is also high in Vitamin K as well as containing other vitamins and minerals.  Vitamin K helps your blod clot and may help your bones get stronger.

Frozen Bananas

bananaAn easy, healthy and creamy frozen treat that we like is a frozen banana. 

Peel bananas that are yellow but not yet spotted
Break or cut the bananas in half
Stick a popsicle stick or chopstick into the broken half and push it into the banana
Wrap the bananas with plastic wrap
Put several bananas in plastic bags with the sticks sticking out to minimize freezer burn
Wait a few hours until they are frozen.

Remove from plastic bags/wrap and eat!

Homemade Baked Corn Chips

Homemade corn chips

Lately we’ve been making homemade corn chips when we have guests for dinner.  They are a bit time-consuming, but so yummy when they are warm.  They are also healthier than store-bought as most store-bought tortilla chips are deep-fried.

Use a pastry brush to brush olive oil on both sides of corn tortillas
Place tortillas on pizza stone or cookie sheet
Cut into triangles with pizza cutter or knife
Bake for about 10 minutes at 350°F, or until they start to turn light brown
Remove from oven
Sprinkle with sea salt and put in a big bowl
Cover bowl to keep them warm while you bake another batch

Can be served with salsa or other dips, but they break easily.