A High Five to Greek Yogurt
July 19, 2013

A High Five To Greek Yogurt

Ever since I was a wee little girl, I have loved yogurt. I am fond of the lemon and mixed berried kinds particularly, but I also really enjoy just plain, non-flavored yogurt. I love the tartness and zing, as well as the health benefits. My favorite plain yogurt is Greek yogurt. Its intensity in flavor pairs nicely with fruits (or jams, if you prefer, I guess). I also like a little bit of raw honey with my Greek yogurt. Yummy! It is just a tasty food that is really, really great for us.

In fact, it is such a great food that the US Department of Agriculture is adding Greek yogurt to the National School Lunch Program in four states. The added program, called National Greek Yogurt Pilot Program, will kick off in Arizona, Idaho, New York, and Tennessee according to a CNN article. This is an exciting (and might I add tasty) movement for healthy kids in schools.

Greek yogurt is stock full of many benefits. As WebMD identifies, “What distinguishes Greek yogurt is its thicker, creamier texture because the liquid whey is strained out. Also, it contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts.” Probiotic cultures help with intestinal health. These are necessary for balancing our guts. This is the main reason that I eat yogurt besides the fact that I love the taste.

Additionally, the LIVESTRONG website fully explains the benefits of Greek yogurt. First, it has more protein than other yogurts, almost twice as much. This extra protein helps us to feel fuller longer, as well as also providing the much needed nutrient.  Protein helps with energy, muscle functioning and growth, and general well-being. As a vegetarian, I seek out foods that have higher protein contents. With more protein, Greek yogurt helps my guts and my protein intake.

Greek yogurt also has almost half the amount of sodium of other yogurts. People who suffer from blood pressure issues benefit from this food. Despite the lack of salt, the yogurt still has a scrumptious taste without affecting heart health as much as other sodium-rich foods.

And if you are watching your carb intake, Greek yogurt is a great food because it averages around 9 grams of carbohydrate versus up to 15 grams in other yogurts.

Finally, Greek yogurt is easy to digest, versatile in its use, and has a rich, thick texture. These three make a super food to eat.

All of these reasons make it great that the US Department of Agriculture is testing Greek yogurt out in schools. But another added benefit is that yogurt is a booming industry in the US, particularly in New York, one of the pilot states for the new program. As Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, commented in a press release about the National Greek Yogurt Pilot Program,

“It is a win-win for the state, exposing our students to a nutritional product and expanding the marketplace for Greek yogurt producers and suppliers in New York State.”

This is a good test move for health in the National School Lunch Programs. I can’t wait to see what the USDA does next.

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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