Witches, pumpkins, trick-or-treating, and lots and lots of candy. Today is Halloween. Worried about your kid’s candy consumption? Me too. With all the crazy additives from food dyes and preservatives,to partially hydrogenated oils and the 18 million different types of sweeteners out there, it sucks. Oh, and don’t even try to pretend that you’re not worried about all the candy YOU’LL be eating. So what to do? Turns out there are some creative ideas out there to deal with the candy issue:
This week we’re doing a deep dive on the very popular, Greek-style yogurt. The first post, Greek-style yogurt 101, was dedicated to explaining what Greek-style yogurt is, why it’s different than regular yogurt, and how to make it at home. The second post was all about what to look for at the grocery store including fat (we’re pro-fat around here), flavors, and additives. Today, is all about the brands. We took 9 popular brands and compared everything from price to additives. The one thing missing? Taste! We want to see what our readers think:
The brands below are listed in order from best to worst. We looked at the following information to rank the yogurt:
Seven-year-old Emma attends a private school that provides healthy snacks but has recently discontinued its hot lunch program. After initial fears that each day would mean a PB&J sandwich,her mom, Karen, got creative and established a system where Emma would be in charge of her own lunches. With the help of friends and input from Emma, Karen compiled a list of favorite foods that fall under the headings of Protein, Grain, Vegetable, and Fruit. Additional categories are Soup, Combos (such as sandwiches), and Dips. There are many options; for example, the protein category includes hummus, nuts, Greek yogurt, turkey, sunflower butter, cottage cheese, ham, natural hot dogs, shrimp, trail mix, and chicken sausage.
Yesterday, we took an in-depth look at what Greek-style yogurt is, why it’s different than regular yogurt, and how to make it at home. In today’s post we’ll show you what to look for when buying Greek-style yogurt.
Not all Greek-style varieties are created equal. As always, you have to read the ingredient label. Traditionally, Greek yogurt is only made with 3 ingredients: milk, cream and live cultures, but many of today’s versions contain other “stuff.”
We’re starting with flavor because that might be the most important decision when buying yogurt. The best advice here is to look for plain Greek-style yogurt. It is often the flavored varieties that add additional calories, sweeteners, thickeners, and colors. If you need to sweeten it, add your own toppings such as fresh fruit, granola (try this homemade tropical granola recipe), 100% pure maple syrup, or raw honey.
Milk Protein Concentrate – This cheap ingredient is added to Greek-style yogurt to increase thickness and the raise the protein levels. The concerns with MPC is that it is “ultra processed,” almost always imported, and highly unregulated (not a good combination). There is no reason to add this ingredient in pure Greek-style yogurt.
I’d been seeing “Greek-style” yogurt for quite some time before I actually tried it. My first thought was why the heck did I wait so long? This stuff is tasty. It’s thick, uber creamy, tart, and satisfying. Apparently, I’m not the only one licking my spoon. 5 years ago Greek-style yogurt was a $60 million business in the US. Fast forward to 2011 and sales are predicted to be $1.5 billion. Everyone wants a piece of the action and yogurt giants, Dannon and Yoplait, are scrambling as tiny player, Chobani, sky rockets to #1 with 10% market share in all yogurt.
Yogurt is often called a “superfood” and for good reason. It’s high in protein and the live cultures (probiotics) and helpful bacteria help maintain the healthy flora in our gut. A recent long-term study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that yogurt was inversely associated with weight gain. The more yogurt the participants ate, the less they gained weight. The popularity of yogurt shows no signs of slowing down as just last year, The Dairy Council of California named yogurt as the food trend of the decade. If you haven’t tried Greek-style yet, you’re missing out. Here is a helpful Q&A on this special variation of yogurt:
Fast food is cheap. Pay $2.00 and you get a huge burrito at Taco Bell. For a $1.99 you get a BK Topper Deluxe burger. Virtually every fast food joint has a value, dollar, or $0.99 menu. Poor families often eat at places like McDonald’s because where else can you spend $12 and feed a family of 4? On the flip side, “healthy” food has bad rap for being expensive, and to be fair, it often is. But does it have to be?
In response to cheap, fast food, Slow Food started the $5 Slow Food Challenge. They challenged people across the USA to make meal for less than $5.00 per person and to take this pledge:
“I pledge to share a fresh, healthy meal that costs less than $5 — because slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food.”
Slow Food chose $5 since that is the typical cost of a fast food meal when you include an “entree, ” side and a drink (think burgers, fries and a Coke). When I told my friends that I was participating in the challenge, virtually no one I talked to had heard of Slow Food. I was surprised since this global organization started in Italy in the late 80′s; a counter to the rise of fast food and fast life. In addition to addressing the disappearance of local food traditions, Slow Food seeks to “…renew people’s interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.” Noble cause, lofty goal, especially considering the popularity of fast food.
Bacon double cheeseburgers, French fries, ring dings, Twinkies, pepperoni pizza, sodas galore, TV dinners – you name it, I ate it. Those were just a few of my favorite things growing up and the list goes on. Of course, now I know why I was packing on a few extra lbs, was so sluggish and even depressed at times. I was eating cookies for breakfast and a whole assortment of high sugar treats on the way to school. As the day continued my high fat, high sugar roller coaster continued.