Food for Thought: Greek Yogurt

by Jenn (eating bender) on August 30, 2008

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful tips and tricks for keeping energy levels at their peak :) I will definitely be incorporating all of your ideas into my daily routine – even when I’m not sedentary!


Food for Thought: Greek Yogurt

The first time I tried plain Greek yogurt, I almost couldn’t get it down. I remember the combination well: Fage 0% with Welch’s Grape Jelly. The taste was so bitter! So I added more jelly. The taste was so bitter! So I added more jelly. The taste was so bitter! So I added more jelly.

The taste was WAY too sweet! Even for me!

Needless to say, I watched my fellow bloggers rave about Greek yogurt for months after my initial encounter and always asked myself, “why?!” I just couldn’t understand what could possibly be appealing about it. Then, earlier this summer, I noticed something different than the usual yogurt + honey combination: a new addition of fruit, cereal, granola and other, SOLID foods into the yogurt mix.

I decided that these new additions were ones that I’d be willing to try. So I took the plunge and bought a Chobani. As you can see from this post, I added PLENTY of “extras” to the plain yogurt to increase the odds that I would like it. And…I did!

Now that I’ve realized it is possible to eat plain Greek yogurt and LIKE it, I’ve experimented with many different brands and combinations. And over time, I’ve been able to add less and less to the yogurt and still enjoy it just as much. By easing my way in, I have developed a love for a product that packs a protein punch and leaves me feeling full and satisfied!

Here are some of my favorite combinations:

1) My newest obsession: Greek yogurt + Clif ZBaRs!

2) Greek yogurt + fruit + cereal

3) And, last but NOT least, the newest addition to the club…

Greek yogurt + Honest Foods blueberry vanilla granola plank!! Yes, I finally whipped open the box that I’ve had in my cupboard for MONTHS now.

Let me tell you, these planks COMPLETELY live up to the hype. They are not crunchy hard in the slightest – they are chewy and break apart so easily. The taste is great, and as the box says, you can crumble-your-own granola that never breaks into pieces that are too small to pick up by hand! I am definitely going to have to try other flavors when I finish this box – which I’m sure will be sooner rather than later!!

Ok, that was a big digression. Back to the topic of Greek yogurt, if you’ll let me :) Now that I know I enjoy it, there are two questions that I must ask: why is it so much thicker and how does it get so much protein?

I found a partial answer here:

A. Greek yogurt is much thicker than regular yogurt because a lot of the liquid whey is strained out. It doesn’t need the pectin or other thickeners found in many yogurts. Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, with 8 ounces of the nonfat version supplying about 20 grams of protein – nearly double the protein – content of traditional yogurt. It’s also lower in carbohydrates, which means even less lactose for lactose-intolerant people.

Do note, however that Greek yogurt is substantially lower in calcium than regular varieties (about 150 milligrams (mg) of calcium per 8 ounces versus the 300 to 450 mg in plain regular yogurt). Some brands may contain more, so be sure to check the Nutrition Facts label.

One more caution: fat and calories are also more concentrated – particularly in full-fat varieties. Eight ounces of nonfat Greek yogurt contain about 125 calories (similar to regular nonfat plain yogurt), but the same portion of the whole milk version contains about 300 calories and more than 20 grams of fat. Fortunately, the characteristic thick creaminess of Greek yogurt is present even in the nonfat form. While Greek yogurt is traditionally unsweetened, some flavored versions are now appearing in the U.S.”

I’m still not sure why there is so much more protein – but I am assuming that it again has something to do with the straining process. Does anyone have a better idea?!

So there is today’s Food for Thought. And now, some questions for the audience!

1) What is your favorite way to eat Greek yogurt?

2) If you can’t STAND Greek yogurt but do enjoy yogurt in other forms, what is your favorite type and brand…and why?

It’s the weekend :mrgreen: CELEBRATE!

1 mangochild August 30, 2008 at 5:19 am

From what I understand, the higher protein is because of the concentration. By straining, the liquid is taken out, leaving more room for the milk solids. So basically, more protein can “fit” in the same size container. Its denser nutritionally. That’s the same reason for the higher calories – a denser food. I could, however, be totally wrong about this, so anyone feel free to say so! :-)

As to the other part of the question, I’m vegan so I don’t eat this kind of yogurt, but I do make my own soymilk version of greek yogurt. Its really easy: I use the recipe at

mangochild ~ Thanks so much for the info! I will definitely look into the vegan version :)

2 glidingcalm August 30, 2008 at 6:04 am

How weird that it has less calcium?! Humph. I loved this post though. I am Greek yogurt fanatic. I saw the title and I IMMEDIATELY became excited. It is so filling and creamy and delicious…and I can’t even like plain yogurt as much. Too bad they can’t be the same price!!! If only I had the time to strain it and make it myself!!!

And dare I saw it… I think TJ’s Greek is becoming my fav. over Chobani!! You gotta try it Jenn!

Have an AMAZING weekend!!! Still get to be with the fam, right?
Take care Bender!!!!!!!

glidingcalm ~
I really do need to try TJ’s version! I’m going to go there this week and pick some up!

3 Christie I August 30, 2008 at 6:08 am

It is because of the concentration. I have strained a large container of yogurt before and it dwindles down quite a bit. Though the calcium in in the whey (the part strained off), the protein is in what is left.

Christie I ~ Thanks so much for the info!

4 Erin August 30, 2008 at 6:18 am

What an awesome topic! Thanks for the info – I wondered about the protein concentration just yesterday!
I like mixing stuff into any yogurt or cottage cheese. I’ll do applesauce, granola, cereal, fruit, trail mix…yum!
I wish so badly that I could try those granola planks but they don’t sell them here! I’m glad you love ’em so much.
Have a gorgeous Saturday!

Erin ~ Mm, never though to try applesauce – duly noted!!

5 Sarah August 30, 2008 at 7:28 am

I am officially ADDICTED to greek yogurt. I seriously eat it almost every day. My very favorite combos would be:

1******) Greek yogurt+maple syrup=I’ve never tasted something so amazing in life. Add a waffle and berries and you have my famous “waffle tower” that I always rave about:
like here:

2) Greek yogurt, pear, flax, fiber one

3) Greek yogurt, nectarine, blueberries

4) Greek yogurt + WHEATBERRIES!!!!
Seriously, do it. It’s awesome.

I want a plaaaaaaaank : ( I couldn’t find them anywhere this summer so hopefully I’ll have better luck in Boston.

Sarah ~ I am definitely going to try your waffle tower someday. It’s too good to pass up – and I think I’ve tried it with wheatberries, too. YUM! I hope you find your planks in Boston!

6 VeggieGirl August 30, 2008 at 8:15 am

Such fun combinations; and hooray for granola planks!! They’re making their way around the blogging world (too bad they’re not gluten-free – damnit 😉 ).


VeggieGirl ~ I wish they were gluten-free for you :(

7 Jordan August 30, 2008 at 8:33 am

I want those planks, BAD. They don’t sell them anywhere around here, so I guess I’m going to have to order them online. Sigh.

I really still haven’t gotten used to Greek yogurt, although I did try the Oikos Vanilla flavor w/ granola in it and it wasn’t too bad.

Jordan ~
I like the Oikos vanilla, too :) Good luck finding the planks!

8 suzanne August 30, 2008 at 8:35 am

The only greek yogurt i’ve seen here is the sweetned full fat versions!!
But if it ever gets to this part of canada i’m definitely going to give it a try 😉

suzanne ~ I hope it gets there!

9 Christie August 30, 2008 at 8:39 am

I posted my dessert last night and it was the same thing… Ilove the greek yogurt and I eaither have it in the AM with cereal fruit and PB or for dessert… I think it is great with the PB in it, I have used it in times to replace my fro yo obsession!

Christie ~ It definitely can be as good as fro yo with the right ingredients!

10 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) August 30, 2008 at 12:21 pm

I tried Greek yogurt by itself when I first got it and didn’t like it because it was so sour-tasting. Then I started adding jam to it, which made it taste better. But then I was adding so much jam that I realized I might as well get the fruit-flavored ones. However, I didn’t like all the sugar I was consuming.
Recently I discovered that if you add fresh fruit to Greek yogurt, such as a nectarine, it adds a lot of natural sweetness so you only need to add one or two spoonfuls of jam which saves you a lot of sugar. Also, if you freeze Greek yogurt and then thaw it for a little bit, the consistency becomes like Italian Ice and I feel like the very cold temperature dulls the sour-flavor quite a bit.

Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) ~ Thanks for your explanation! I definitely need to try freezing it soon :)

11 Erica August 30, 2008 at 1:03 pm

I like the Chobani a lot! I have only had the strawberry and peach and can’t wait to try the other flavors! I didn’t like the fage…and couldn’t finish it no matter what I mixed in! I think you are right in that you just need to find the combo you like! I like my chobani as is or with a little granola mixed in!

Erica ~
Ooh, peach Chobani?! Yum! And granola sounds yummy, too!

12 Aimee August 30, 2008 at 1:54 pm

I love using fage instead of milk in Annie’s mac and cheese, and I like mixing it in oatmeal.

I hope you are enjoying the weekend!

Aimee ~ Yum – great ideas!

13 Caroline August 30, 2008 at 2:27 pm

I haven’t had this in a while, but I used to really enjoy this combo:
apple butter+wheat germ+PB+Fage. LOVE IT.
Enjoy your weekend!

Caroline ~ Sounds great! I’ve never tried apple butter before but I’m sure I would love it :)

14 wholefoodswholeme August 30, 2008 at 3:08 pm

obviously i was going to love this post, because i eat fage 0% almost daily :) i wish i could chobani – i actually had a dream about chobani the other day!! hahahaha. i used to hate plain yogurt too, but i can eat it endlessly now – i like eating it any way really, with fresh fruit, cereal, maple/honey/agave, mixed with overnight oats, and i’ve also had it with mediterranean style couscous – that was such a good combination!

wholefoodswholeme ~ Haha, that’s so funny that you dreamed about Chobani! And thanks for the tip on the couscous – sounds interesting!

15 misswhiteskirt August 30, 2008 at 6:13 pm

I have *yet* to try this greek yogurt stuff – fage, chobani, etc etc. but I am totally blown away by the reviews I’ve read, like chobani has something like 22g of protien per little 6-8 oz container?!
I thought my Nancy’s nonfat plain was good at 12g per cup 😛 heh heh

that’s interesting tho about the decreased calcium. oh those Greeks! lol

I lovelove mixing stuff in with yogurt. Cereal, fruit, nutrition bars, even pretzels! also on stuff – pancakes, waffles, toast. also cottage cheese + yogurt and soymilk + yogurt is really good (to me at least!).

thanks so much for adding me to your blogroll 😀 have a great holiday weekend!!

misswhiteskirt ~ Definitely give Greek yogurt a try! But your tips with regular yogurt sound yummy, too!

16 blueberryhil August 30, 2008 at 9:06 pm

I actually hate the texture of most nonfat yogurt, so discovering the Greek kind was great for me! I love it and I’m happy to eat it straight, but I also love mixing it with peach or strawberry slices.

blueberryhil ~
Mm, peaches and strawberries sound perfect!

17 ruby red vegan August 31, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Haha, I’m still waiting for vegan Greek yogurt to introduce itself to the world… It’s funny I stumbled upon your post today, because I decided to try the ever-popular yogurt + fruit combo as a snack today. I used So Delicious plain soy yogurt and a big peach chopped into big chunks and layered it in a little glass with walnuts… Now I understand the hype! It is such a wonderful snack and really helped me energize! I really want to try some plain soy yogurt with a zBar now, so thanks for the suggestion! (Poo on those planks for being so expensive though — I can’t bring myself to buy them!)

ruby red vegan ~ I think the first commenter mentioned something about making vegan Greek yogurt – check it out! Thanks for the tips on the soy yogurt – and yes, unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be buying those planks too often. They are very expensive!!

18 Katie August 31, 2008 at 8:11 pm

I am not a big fan of Greek yogurt, actually. I had one with figs in it once that was very good, though it was full-fat and very decadent. (6 oz. was good for two servings.) After that, the 0% yogurts just never did it for me and I actually haven’t had Greek yogurt in a long time. Thanks for the reminder!

Katie ~ I hope you give it a try AND like it this time around :)

19 Mark Salinas August 31, 2008 at 8:26 pm

I have never tried the yogurt….looks good. I always like anything with blueberries. More blueberry foods! :)

Mark Salinas ~ Chobani has a blueberry Greek yogurt that is AMAZING!!

20 All Vegged Out September 1, 2008 at 9:29 am

My new favorite way is with Z bars… followed by with ripe strawberries… hmm choco brownie z bar and strawberries might just be the best thing ever… I’ll have to try that :)

All Vegged Out ~ Oooh yum-o!

21 Leng September 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I love greek yogurt. Emma has me addicted to it! haha. The info you gave was pretty interesting. Reading the comments you received on this topic, it makes perfect sense that there would be less Ca (since it’ sin the Whey, which is removed) and more protein (since it’s more concentrated).

my favorite way to eat greek yogurt, preferably Chobani, is with nectarines and granola. At first I didn’t like the taste of it, by itself. I guess it just grows on you ’cause now I can eat it by itself (my cat too).

Leng ~ She got me addicted, too! I’m glad your cat likes it 😉

22 Pacificglow September 30, 2009 at 6:24 am

Hi I just discovered this post in a search for frozen Greek Yogurt. I love the stuff, can’t get enough of it! I about to eat mine with walnuts, honey and blueberries. Yum!

23 Alicia January 24, 2010 at 8:38 pm

I must say, I tried it for the first time last week with a little surprise. I didn’t know what it would taste like. I’m slowly trying to get used to it because it’s healthier than regular yogurt, and realized it’s perfect with fresh pear! I froze the rest for a nice little treat between my classes tomorrow, and plan to use it to make my own spinach raviolis.

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