Part 3: How to Smash Your 2019 Nutrition Goals

 

 

So, I gave you some time off last week from having to think too hard 🙂 But, I am coming back at you with a vengeance today. This week we are finishing up your favorite topic – good ol’ goal setting. So, grab your nutrition goals that you have been working on so diligently and let’s get to work! 

 

To clarify once again these are the five key steps to goal setting to ensure your success. If you are coming in late to the game and want to revisit the first two steps of nutrition goal setting click here to read Part 1 of How to Crush your Nutrition Goals and click here to read Part 2 of How to Crush your Nutrition Goals.  

 

goals

 

 

Consequently, this week we are tackling # 3: Create an effective monitoring tool # 4: Execute your goals like the champ you are and # 5: Assess your goals at regular intervals

 

 

#3 – Create an effective monitoring tool

 

So, you let’s recap. In short, so far we have helped you clearly define your S.M.A.R.T nutrition goals. Next we helped you set a realistic game plan. However, now you need an effective tool to monitor these goals.

 

You have heard the saying, “What gets measured, gets managed.” Well my friends, this certainly applies to setting nutrition goals. Pick a ‘tool’ – any ‘tool’ to manage your goals.

 

 

goals

 

 

Below are examples of tools to help monitor and track your progress towards your nutrition goals. Please note depending upon what your personal nutrition or exercise goal is not all these tools may be applicable. I provide them just to demonstrate the various ways in which you can track your success.

 

  • A FREE tracking app like ‘My Fitness Pal, Lose It or Sparkpeople
  • An exercise journal
  • A food journal
  • Physical body assessments like body fat percentages as well as waist, hip, bust and bicep measurements
  • A real, live person to report your successes to weekly (like an accountability buddy!)
  • An exercise tracking device like an iwatch or fitbit
  • Before and after pictures
  • Lab values
  • Performance markers like amount of weight lifted, time trials, Vo2Max, ect.

 

Notice many of them are by no means fancy. But all of them get the job done. However, keep in mind the best monitoring tool is the one you are likely to consistently use.

 

I am old-school and use a good old fashion journal. For some reason I feel much more comfortable writing my goals down.

 

goals

 

But you may find that boring and rather log your food or nutrition in an app. Whatever you choose – just stick with it!

 

#4 – Execute your goals like the champ you are

 

Just. Do. It. In order to be successful with your goals, you need to be 110 % committed to taking action. Talk is cheap.  And just like Benjamin Franklin once said Well done is better than well said.”  I don’t think anyone can argue with that.

 

So, put on your blinders. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and just do it. Pull out your goals each every morning and every night. Focus on what is important NOW! Because I hate to be the bearer of bad news but If you don’t prioritize your goals and life for that matter – someone else will.  

 

#5 – Assess your goals at regular intervals

 

Remember your nutrition and exercise goals are not carved in stone. In other words, they should be dynamic and evolving in nature. Therefore, it is important to revisit them at regular intervals and make sure they are serving you. Here are some questions to ask yourself when assessing your goals:

 

  • Am I happy with my progress? Yes? No? Why?
  • What am I most proud of and why?
  • What do I need to be doing differently to ensure my continued success?
  • What are repeated barriers that are standing in my way to succeeding? How can I bullet-proof them?
  • How can I  high-five myself for a job well done?
  • What is the next behavior I want to tackle and why?

 

My new favorite quote is from the book You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I think it pretty much sums up goal setting perfectly, “There is nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fuck-yeahs.”

 

 

goals

 

 

In conclusion, hone your goal setting skills, take your health seriously, DO what you need to be successful, invest in yourself, practice your ass off, fail, fall down, but above all get right back up. Repeat 🙂

 

 

Hugs & High Fives,

goals

 

 

 

P.S. Having a hard time getting back up? Heck we have all been there! Feel free to reach out to the dietitians at The Plano Program to set up a consult to help get you on track to where you want to be going.

 

P.P.S. Love yourself – you are capable of anything.

Amy’s Number One Resource for Meal Prep

SO if you know me at all – you know that I love to cook! Therefore, it is no surprise that one of my favorite websites is called The Kitchn. If you have not checked it out it is a fun website geared towards the home cook. They offer articles on everything from cool new gadgets to Whole-30 compliant recipes. It is a food dork’s black hole. Therefore, please be warned you can really get lost on the site 🙂 Most importantly, their latest and greatest resource? A weekly newsletter aimed at

healthy meal prep.

Sign. Me. Up.

 

In January of this year The Kitchn started offering a FREE Meal Prep Newsletter in which they send out a weekly email that features doable plans and helpful recipes so you can prep, cook, and eat for the week ahead. The best part – they think of the healthy recipes so you don’t have to.
meal prep

Free newsletter with healthy meal prep options? Sign me up!

Most importantly did I mention this newsletter is FREE – delivered straight to your inbox 🙂 If that is not a win – then I don’t know what is.

 

You Know YOU Wanna

 

Above all in my heart of hearts I honestly feel like most people want to eat healthy. However, I also feel like most people don’t take the time to do the necessary things to set themselves up to succeed – like meal prep. Call it laziness. Call lack of focus. Call it whatever you want. Most people have solid nutrition goals – they just choose NOT to make them a priority.

meal prep

Get your prep on!

A couple weeks ago we talked about the importance of goal setting. We actually used the example of meal prep. If you need a littler refresher on goal setting click here for the full details. Success means not only shopping for the right foods but also engaging in meal prep. Furthermore, I think this quote pretty much sums up successful meal prep.

 “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” — Bobby Unser

Therefore,  when you and your family are 50 shades of “hangry” there is awesome, tasty, healthy food available.

 

Just Do It

 

So I encourage you to sign up for this newsletter. I think it could be very helpful. A resource like this has the potential to provides SO many things – inspiration, focus, motivation and even a definitive answer for the age old question, “What’s for dinner?”  And after all, who does not want to learn how to cook fast, shop smart, and eat well? I know this chick does!

Need Additional Inspiration?

 

Sorry there is no other way to put it. I am a Pinterest whore. I simply ♥ Pinterest.

mela prep

Sometimes I just want to look at pretty food. Is that too much to ask?

 

So if you need a little ‘pick me up’ or a bit of inspiration follow my modest Meal Prep Pinterest board.  Also if you are just looking for suggestions for dinner please follow my main pinterest board with all sorts of healthy dinner options! I have over 2000 healthy recipes Amy Plano approved 🙂 Get your eat on!

Hugs & High Fives,

meal prep

Part 2: How to Smash Your 2019 Nutrition Goals

So last week we talked about the importance of goal setting. And guess what? This week we are going to continue the conversation. It is really that important.

 

Like I mentioned there are what I like to consider five key steps to goal setting to ensure your success.

 

goal setting

 

Sooooo … last week we hammered the importance of step 1 – defining super duper CLEAR goals. We talked at length about how to clearly define your nutrition goals. How could you forget right? Remember I asked you to tattoo the acronym S.M.A.R.T on your wrist? Kidding! But just in case you need a refresher you can catch up here. But no worries – no tattooing this week, I promise.

 

Establish a realistic game plan

 

This week we are going to chat about the importance of coming up with a clear, realistic and effective game plan for your nutrition goals. This game plan will represent the exact steps you need to do to tackle your goals.

 

goal setting

 

 

It is here, in this step, that we take the S.M.A.R.T goals we have defined and add an actionable component. Without this very important piece you will be likely left spinning your wheels. 

 

So let’s use the goal of meal prepping. We came up with this S.M.A.R.T goal last week:

 

I will meal prep 1.5 hours every Sunday and Wednesday for the next month.

 

We made sure our goal was specific, that it was measurable, attainable, realistic and was time-sensitive. So this plan sounds great in theory, right? It looks good on paper, but how can we make sure we accomplish it?

 

Break your goal into bite size pieces

 

Well, we need to break down the goal into smaller steps. We need to identify EACH step that needs to be completed in order for us to be successful.  Then we need to come up with a game plan surrounding these actions.

 

Sweat the small things – the details matter

 

With a goal like meal prepping here are some of the questions you may need to ask yourself to ‘flesh’ out the mandatory steps to ensure your success.

 

Exactly what am I going to eat for the week? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinners? Snacks?

What specific food do I already have on hand that I should use up?

Exactly when and where am I going to grocery shop?

 

You have to get very specific. For each question there should be a very finite answer. No matter how clear your goal is – unless you outline the necessary steps there is just too much room for error.

 

It’s go-time

So the game plan might look like this:

 

goal setting

 

 

I would highly suggest putting all of this in writing. Write out your menu. Print or electronically save your recipes. I have a board in Pinterest called ‘dinners’ (yes, super creative!) that you are more than welcome to follow for inspiration. I also have a board called ‘Meal Prep’ that you might find equally as helpful. Write in your schedule exactly when you will go grocery shopping.

 

The more specific you get with your actions the increased likelihood of you connecting with your goals. Creating clear concrete goals is important. But coming up with game plan is equally as important.

 

Need help creating a game plan for your nutrition goals? The dietitians at The Plano Program are here to help. Click here to schedule your 60 minute initial consultation.

 

Hugs & High Fives,

goal setting

 

 

P.S. Got tips for meal prepping? Leave them in the comments below. After all, who does not love a good meal prep hack?

What to Look for When Buying Peanut Butter

What to Look for on a Food Label for Peanut Butter

 

This week at Quinnipiac University my students in one of my hybrid classes completed a module on food label reading. In this assignment I have them choose one of their favorite, commonly consumed foods and report back to the class on what they learned from reading the food label.

 

When I asked by a show of hands in last night’s class how many students were surprised by what they learned from the assignment – 25 out 25 hands shot right up. Not surprising as reading a food label can be pretty difficult territory to navigate!  In fact for some – it can be pretty foreign.

 

Therefore, I thought it light of National Peanut Day (which in case you did not know is TODAY in case you didn’t know!) it would be a good idea to tackle what to look for on a food label of one of my most favorite foods – good old peanut butter.

peanut butter

 

 

Peanut butter. To my expert knowledge is one of the best foods ever created on this amazing planet. It’s texture, salty taste, and affordability has made peanut butter a staple in most American homes.

 

peanut butter

Battle Royale of the Peanut Butters – Let’s the games begin!

 

So, what is in peanut butter? How is it made? What should we look for when buying peanut butter? Well, it sounds pretty simple in theory. Peanut butter should just contain peanuts and some butter, right? However, this is far from the case. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty and see what we should be looking for on a food label on this beloved food.

 

5 Important Things to Look for When Buying Peanut Butter

 

 

1. Always choose organic.

 

I promise – I am NOT ‘that’ dietitian. The one who preaches organics as the be-all-end-all of life. In fact, in my practice organics are only something I bring up if YOU bring them up. I have NO agenda when it comes to organics. So if I tell you to buy organic peanut butter there has to be a good reason.

You see, peanuts are one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the US. Insects and all sorts of little creatures ♥ peanuts – just like we do! So, that means the commercial peanut crops are sprayed with a heavy hand when it comes to pesticides.

Therefore, in an effort to decrease this lovely toxic load – choose a peanut butter that clearly states “Organic” on the food label. This information is found on the front of the product and often too on the back of the food label.

 

peanut butter

Choosing Organic peanut butter is critical!

 

And remember you do not need to choose a fancy brand. In fact, most store brands of organic peanut butter are equally as delicious as the far more expensive name brand varieties.

 

 

2. No added sugars.

 

I know this sounds like a no brainer. But sugar should never.ever.ever. be listed as an ingredient on a food label for peanut butter. Not in any form. No cane juice, corn syrup solids, high fructose corn syrup, agave, molasses, honey, etc. Because guess what? They all mean one thing – and one thing only – sugar.

 

peanut butter

This product (though delicious I might add)  contains added sugars – so buyer be aware!

 

You see food companies are pretty sneaky! Many will often use sugar as a ‘filler’ or just to make an already delicious product sweeter. Don’t fall for it. You are far too crafty smartie pants!

 

 

peanut butter

This product contains ‘added’ sugar in the form of ‘cane sugar’

 

 

Sugar does not belong in peanut butter. That is unless you are making a peanut butter pie. Which if you know me – understand fully that making peanut butter pies are pretty much my jam!

 

3. No added oils.

 

This one may stump you. But guess what makes most peanut butters smooth? Trans fats (a.k.a. hydrogenated oils). Hydrogenated oils are used to improve the texture of peanut butter. They prevent the oils from separating in peanuts and rising to the top.

Trans fats are an unhealthy type of fat. Trans fats tank our healthy cholesterol (HDL) which we want HIGH and increase our lousy cholesterol (LDL) which we want LOW. Some of the most popular peanut butters used to have partially hydrogenated fats in them: Skippy, Jiff as well as many standard store brands. However, given the dangerous nature of trans fats (And the FDA cracking down on using them!) many companies are switching to fully hydrogenated fats. These fats still impart the same qualities with less of an impact on our health. However, truth be told – fully hydrogenated fats while not as risky from a heart health standpoint should be avoided in my book!

 

peanut butter

All sorts of garbage here!

 

When reading a food label to determine whether or not a peanut butter contains trans fats look to the ingredient list for the words: partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. They are generally listed as the second or third ingredient on the food label.

As you can see in the label above – the products contains all sorts of garbage including sugar, salt and corn syrup. Awesome, right? But no trans fats.  As if label reading could not get any more complicated. Geez! Nonetheless, trans fat or not – this peanut butter is no bueno 🙁

 

 

4. Two Ingredients OR LESS.

Generally when it comes to most foods – the fewer number of ingredients, the better! In all honesty high quality peanut butters should only contain ONE ingredient — peanuts. Bingo!

A little salt can be okay, too. Some grocery stores have grinders that turn peanuts into peanut butter for you. Heck even our local Shop Rite has this – boom! This allows you to purchase however much you like instead of having to buy an 16-ounce jar and you can guarantee only one ingredient.

 

 

5. Peanuts as the MAIN ingredient.

 

Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. This means the ingredient listed first on the food label occurs in the highest quantity in the product. When viewing the list, peanuts should always be the first ingredient.

 

 

peanut butter

Focus on these 5 things and you will have no problem choosing a high quality peanut butter

 

Remember my friends peanut butter should JUST be smashed peanuts, period. Brand names shouldn’t matter as long as you follow my suggestions listed above.

My advice is always to make sure the food label hits these 5 criteria and is the least expensive among the choices. No need to get fancy or shell out a lot of money unless you choose to. With that being said – there should be no need to spend more than $6.00 on a jar of high quality peanut butter – after all it is just nuts.

Got tips? Do YOU have criteria that you like to follow when choosing a peanut butter? Is there a brand that you love? Share in the comments below. Our peanut butter loving community would love to be in the know.

Hugs & High Fives,

 my signature

 

How to Master Memorial Day Like a Champ

Between the crazy highs and unseasonably low temperatures this past week in CT (and freakish Tornadoes) it is hard to believe Memorial Day is just around the corner. However, you know it, people will be firing up their grills and breaking out the dogs and burgers. Rather than throwing caution to the wind and deciding you’ll jump on the latest detox diet Tuesday, why not stay ahead of the game? There are plenty of ways to keep your long weekend healthy and tasty! 

Sip Responsibly this Memorial Day 

 

Yes – I know this a no brainer! But seriously Memorial Day seems like the official kick off for summer drinking. As if people need a reason to drink, right? However, if you are going to imbibe then why not choose to do so responsibly.

Numero uno – avoid the carb bombs. Margaritas, frozen drinks and unfortunately the likes of craft beers tend to be very calorie and carbohydrate heavy. While Craft beers range in calories most clock in at about 200 – 250 calories per 12-ounce bottle. Thinking about knocking back 2-3? You are looking at an upward of 600 calories in alcohol alone.

Side note – back in the day when I used to bartend I would start my shift by making 5 gallon tubs of margaritas. In each batch I would put two full pounds of quick dissolve sugar! Yes – holy moley is right! Sugar rush for sure.

Instead, opt for clear spirits like vodka, gin, and rum mixed with a no/low-calorie mixer. For example, a Titos and Club Soda will only set you back about 95 calories. Plus did you know flavored vodkas (think Stoli Raspberry, Absolut Melon, Pinnacle Whipped Cream) have the same amount of calories as plain vodka? So you can even get fancy and mix a flavored vodka with a flavored club soda squeeze some lime on top and there you have your new favorite skinny summer cocktail.

Or if hard liquor is not your style – choose a light beer and you are only looking at about 100 calories as well. A glass of white or red wine is about 150 calories. Want to cut those those calories in half? Make yourself a wine spritzer! Fill a wine glass with crushed ice. Then pour 2-3 ounces of wine and 3-6 ounces of your favorite seltzer into a wine glass. Top with sliced fruit. Whallah!

Are the above options not really your jam? How about a low-calorie mojito? Coconut Water and Champagne Punch anyone? These low calorie cocktail from Proof are perfect for those watching their waistline. And let’s be honest – who IS NOT watching those waistlines!

 

Memorial Day Cocktails

Who says cocktails have to be unhealthy? Not this RD.

Photo by: Monika Grabkowska

Want more information about the calorie counts of your favorite beverages? Check out one of my recent posts on this very topic!

 

Pump up the Veggies

 

Often at picnics there are more veggies available than one might think. Sometimes you just need to do a little searching. Crudite platters, tossed salads and even the infamous toppings for burgers are all good places to get those veggies in.

Are you trying to watch your carbs? Why not try a lettuce wrap instead of a bun? After all, if 5 Guys offers this option it has to be good, right? You can save yourself 200 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrates by this simple little swap.

Does the green salad look a little weak? Why not grab some of the ‘fixins’ for the burgers (think lettuce, tomato, onions) and ‘doctor’ up the salad (on your own plate, of course!) Or even better yet – offer to bring a kick-ass salad or some sort of veggie based side. Both options often require very little prep aside from assembly. This way you know you will have something to round your plate out aside from Grandma’s tuna mac salad 🙂

 

Don’t go Hungry

 

This rule holds fast for any type of celebration. Never. Ever. Ever. Go to an event hungry.

I repeat. Never. Ever. Ever. Go to an event hungry

Most of my patients head to an event like a Memorial Day picnic with the mentality they are going to save all their calories for the day for one big meal. They plan to white- knuckle it the whole day until they get to the picnic. This backfires HARD pretty much every time. As soon as they see the food they everything short of bury their face in pretty much everything and anything that is out.

Instead plan accordingly. Have a light breakfast or snack prior to the picnic. Scrambled eggs and fruit, greek yogurt with 1-2 tablespoons of granola, an apple with peanut butter or something even as small as nuts or a cheese stick will keep your hunger at bay.  

I much rather see you spend more time on the ‘front end’ in preparing than leave the picnic feeling big, bloated and polluted with an underlying sense of guilt. We all know this feeling! But YOU are stronger than this. Don’t allow yourself to be defeated. Instead plan ahead like the champ you are and leave the picnic with your rock-star status intact.

 

Keep it Lean and and No one will be Mean

 

Be a lean mean grilling machine at your next BBQ. After all, nobody goes to a BBQ saying, “I cannot wait to eat super sloppy BBQ food.” If you are the grillmaster instead choose lean cuts of protein to throw on the coals. Your guests will thank you!

Think 93 % lean ground beef, flank steak, grilled chicken breast marinated in a little balsamic, rosemary and oil, or even a veggie burger (just watch the sodium on those puppies some brands are crazy high!)

Truth bomb – many people opt for a turkey burger thinking it is the best choice. Best as we know is a  relative term. Well, it’s not a horrible choice but is it the best choice? I am not so sure.

Memorial Day

Did you know that beef burgers and turkey burgers often contain the SAME amount of calories and fat?

 

Did you know a turkey burger made from “LEAN” ground turkey has just about the same amount of calories and fat (150 – 170 calories & 7 -10  grams of fat for a 4 oz. patty) as a burger made from ground sirloin (93 % lean ground beef)? Lean ground turkey is generally a mix of light and dark meat. So if you are craving a nice juicy burger but are feeling guilty about eating red meat please don’t!

 

The only exception from a ground turkey standpoint is when the package states “EXTRA” lean. This type of ground turkey has virtually no fat, is expensive and in my humble opinion does not taste very good. It is certainly not good for burgers on the grill. With virtually no fat the burger will be unfortunately very dry.

 

Be a Good Friend

 

From my experience as someone who loves to host parties and tells everyone NOT to bring anything – never believe the host. They lie. I love it when someone brings something. SO be that good friend and come bearing food 🙂 This is your prime opportunity to bring something healthy that everyone (including yourself) will likely enjoy.

 

I can’t tell you how many times my patients say, “There was nothing healthy to eat so I had to eat crap.” Really? Come on my friend. No need to be so lazy! Get off your little butt and avoid all those excuses.

 

Remember it does not have to be something fancy, complicated or expensive. Heck stop at Costco and grab a veggie platter for $9.99 or a simple fruit bowl (also may I add for only $9.99 at Costco). Even a big old tub of hummus with a bag of baby carrots will likely be appreciated. Pick up a whole watermelon and bring that! After all, who doesn’t like juicy watermelon? The list of healthy options you can bring are seemingly endless.

 

Memorial Day

Be a bestie and don’t forget to bring a healthy dish!

 

Want to step up your grame? Why not make a killer salad with everything but the kitchen sink in it? That way you can take whatever comes off the grill and and throw it on top of the salad. You will be surprised how many guests will follow suit. Because like I said, even though Memorial Day is typically synonymous with unhealthy foods, it does not have to be. More people than not are working hard to improve their health. Give people a handful of healthy options and they will thank you for it. A little effort goes a long way!

 

So whether or not it feels that way right now – Memorial Day will soon be here. While I am by no means asking you to be a saint (what fun would that be?) – why not start the summer season on a good foot? You have worked SO hard all winter. Let’s go into summer strong!

 

How do you anticipate to survive Memorial Day like a champ? What are your tried-and-true tips for a healthy summer holiday weekend? Leave your favorites in the comments below!  

How to Choose the Best Yogurt

Who the heck does not like yogurt? After all the possibilities for its use are endless! Yogurt can be used in parfaits, smoothies, soups, pancakes, and can even pinch-hit for sour cream. Yogurt is rich in protein and calcium and also contains potassium which is important for ♥ health.  Yogurt also contains live, active bacteria cultures. These active bacteria cultures are also known as probiotics and are great for maintaining a healthy gut and digestive system. However, with so many choices choosing the best yogurt can be challenging to say the least! 

how to choose the best yogurt

Navigating the grocery store tin search of the best yogurt can be tricky! I was in Shop Rite the other day and I kid you not – the yogurt aisle almost spans the entire length of the dairy aisle. I remember back in the day – the only two choices were Yoplait and Columbo straight up regular yogurt. There were no flips, dips or cherry pie-flavored yogurts. Just the normal variety of boring flavors like vanilla, peach and strawberry.

P.S. - what the heck ever happened to Columbo yogurt_!

Now a days there are SO many different options to choose from. Greek, traditional, flavored, plain, fruit filled, and varying percentages of fat are all factors to consider when buying yogurt. But what do these terms all mean? What is the best yogurt in light of all these choices? Let’s get to the bottom of this madness asap! 

 

 

What percentage fat should I buy?  

 

This is a tough question to answer. In all honesty – it depends on your #dietarygoals are as well as your overall health.

If you have high cholesterol or are just trying to keep your calories on the low side then it would be best to choose low-fat (1%) or fat-free (0%) yogurt. These two choices generally have the lowest calorie value and contain a nominal amount of saturated fat.

Tip_ saturated fat raises our lousy cholesterol (LDL) which we want low and decreases our healthy cholesterol (HDL) which we want high.

However, if cholesterol is not an issue and you are just looking for a yogurt with a thicker consistency then opt for a 2 % or full-fat yogurt.

I personally prefer 2% or full-fat plain yogurt. My favorite traditional brands when I can find them (please don’t laugh 🙂 ) are YoBaby Whole Milk Plain Yogurt or Liberte Plain 2 % Yogurt.  Shop Rite generally carries the YoBaby but as of lately I can only find the plain Liberte yogurt at Whole Foods. The reason why I like these brands is # 1 (and most important) they taste pretty darn good ! And # 2 both brands contain under 10 grams of sugar. Also they have no added funky ingredients. 

 

Which is best: Greek or traditional yogurt?   

 

Greek yogurt is strained which makes it thicker, creamier, and smoother than traditional yogurt. When comparing Greek and traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt has around double the protein but does have less calcium than traditional yogurt. Both Greek and traditional yogurt are usually well tolerated by individuals with lactose intolerance. However, Greek yogurt has less lactose than traditional yogurt and may be even better tolerated than traditional yogurt. For most people, Greek yogurt is preferable to traditional yogurt because of the higher protein content.

Nowadays pretty much every major brand has both a traditional yogurt and a Greek yogurt. Even Chobani who started out their career just selling Greek yogurt now has a “old-fashioned non-Greek traditional yogurt smooth yogurt”. Therefore, you really do have your pick if you are brand loyal.

However, please don’t fret if you just don’t love Greek yogurt! Many of my patients don’t like it and prefer the traditional style instead. Keep in mind – the average American consumes more than their daily requirement for protein. So if you opt for the non-Greek variety you will not be selling yourself short in meeting your protein needs.

For the Greek yogurts I personally bounce around brand wise depending upon what is on sale and has the lowest amount of sugar per serving. Although I do the bulk of my shopping at Trader Joe’s unfortunately (aside from their ‘plain’ Greek yogurt) they do not carry a whole bunch of options under 10 – 12 grams of sugar.  Some of the Greek yogurt brands in my fridge now are Siggi’s Greek Yogurt – 2 % Black Cherry, Fage Greek Yogurt-2% plain and Chobani Plain Whole-Milk Greek Yogurt.

 

Should I buy plain, flavored, or fruit filled yogurt?  

 

One of the major issues with yogurt is it often has added sugars. Yogurt is made from milk (duh!) and therefore has naturally occurring sugar in it, called lactose. Thus, if you look at the nutrition label of plain yogurt, you will notice it has 12 g of carbohydrates.  Since this sugar is naturally occurring, it is not of concern. However, what is concerning is the large amount of added sugars in many yogurts. A serving of flavored yogurt can contain an upward of 30 grams of sugar depending on the brand. That is a wholelata sugar! A can of soda has about 24 grams of sugar so the comparison is clear. 

 

yogurt bowl

how to choose the best yogurt

 

You can skip the added sugars by buying plain yogurt and adding your own fruit and flavors such as cinnamon and vanilla. You can even get fancy with different extracts such as almond, coconut or coconut to pump up the flavors without the calories or carbs.

If you want to buy a flavored yogurt, check the nutrition label and try to buy a yogurt containing less than 12 grams of sugar per serving. Some of the brands with the lowest amount of sugars include Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt, Chobani Hints, and Siggi’s Greek yogurt mentioned above.

how to choose the best yogurt

Navigating the yogurt aisle used to be challenging! But now, you should be able to navigate the dairy aisle with ease. Opt for low sugar yogurts that fit your dietary goals, budget and taste palate.  Choosing the best yogurt should not be pretty easy!

As always, if you have a question bring the nutrition label to your nutrition visit and the dietitian can review it.  Enjoy your creamy, delicious yogurt!

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