Swap one snack a day with yogurt

Yogurt is a great addition to any meal and also makes a great snack. It tastes great and has many health benefits. With so many flavors and varieties to choose from, there is bound to be one that you and your family enjoy. Portable yogurts are available (GoGurt), which make a quick, easy and healthy on-the-go snack. Add granola and fresh or frozen fruit to make it even tastier.

Yogurt contains healthy bacteria
Yogurt labels contain the phrase “live and active cultures,” which may sound strange, but this is a good thing. Yogurt contains probiotics (living organisms) that can provide health benefits when eaten in the right amounts. These organisms live in your digestive tract and help get rid of harmful organisms that may cause infections in your intestines and stomach.

Yogurt that contains these active cultures can help with conditions such as lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhea, colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease by aiding in regulating digestion. Probiotics can also help strengthen your immune system by activating your immune-boosting cells (T-cells) to fight off harmful viruses like the common cold.

Yogurt may help with blood pressure
Studies have shown that eating two to three servings of low-fat dairy a day can lead to a decrease in the risk of developing high blood pressure. Yogurt also contains potassium that may help flush out excess sodium in the body, in turn helping regulate blood pressure.

Yogurt is high in protein
The amount of protein varies between different brands of yogurt and
can range from five grams to 20 grams per serving. Greek yogurt has
become a popular choice and contains up to 20 grams of protein per container. Yogurt makes a great snack after exercise because of its protein and carbohydrate content —carbohydrates replace muscles’ energy stores, and protein helps repair muscles.

Tips for choosing the right yogurt
Regular, low-fat and fat-free yogurt options are available. Next, find a flavor and brand you like. Have fun exploring all the options.

Look for yogurts with the following nutrition facts per serving:
-  100-150 calories
-  4 grams of fat or less
-  8 grams of protein or more
-  20 grams of sugar or less
-  At least 20 percent of the daily value of calcium and vitamin D

You also can purchase plain yogurt and add your own ingredients such as fruit, sweetener, granola, chocolate syrup, coconut, etc.

Yogurt can be used as a substitute in recipes
-  Use plain yogurt instead of sour cream as a topping for baked potatoes
-  Replace some of the butter or oil in baking with yogurt
-  Yogurt can replace all the fat in cake recipes

Let your kids add their favorite fruits to plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt, or combine your favorite flavored yogurt and fruit to make a delicious smoothie. With all of yogurt’s health benefits, why not grab a container next time you are feeling hungry?