Make or Buy: Flavored Yogurt

I’m not quite done with the subject of yogurt.  It didn’t feel quite right to cross it off the list of blog topics with just one teensy post about frozen yogurt.  The truth is, we eat a lot more flavored yogurt than frozen yogurt.  And while you can find hundreds of different kinds at the grocery store, much of them contain a scary amount of sugar…and in some cases, thickeners, added colors and preservatives.

Check out the list of ingredients!  This is yogurt?

Check out the list of ingredients! This is yogurt?

  Flavoring plain yogurt at home can make a healthy food even healthier.
018Here’s Sam’s favorite.

Lemon Yogurt

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (preferably low-fat or full-fat for best flavor)
  • zest of half a small lemon, washed well
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice (love those Meyer lemons)
  • 1 T. maple (or agave) syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Whip it all together and let rest for a few minutes for flavors to meld.

Another well-loved recipe is a riff on one included in a book I picked up at our library’s used book sale, Fit Kids! The Complete Shape-Up Program from Birth through High School by Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D.

Chocolate Yogurt

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 T. maple (or agave) syrup
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk together and let sit for a few minutes for flavors to meld.

Delicious and chocolatey, this makes for a nice after dinner dessert should one be needed.

Another good sweetener is 100% juice concentrate.  Remember that apples made the top of the Dirty Dozen list of most heavily pesticided produce, so buy organic apple juice concentrate.  And, of course, fresh fruit is the very best possible choice of all.

Eat it for breakfast or pack it in a lunch box, have it for a snack or dessert.  Easy enough for the kids to make themselves.  Pretty all around great.  Definitely make.



The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15

With the cost of organic fruits and vegetables often twice that of their conventionally grown counterparts, is buying organic worth it?
There was a big brouhaha a couple of months ago over a study put out by Stanford University about the benefits of buying organic food.  According to the study, there was no significant difference in nutrition or disease prevention between organic and conventionally grown foods. 
So, can you skip buying organic?  Especially when it could save you money at the market?
Yes and no.
We still don’t know about the long term impacts of pesticides over the course of a person’s lifetime, and according to Joel Forman, MD, a member of the AAP Council on Environmental Health, “We do know that children – especially young children whose brains are developing – are uniquely vulnerable to chemical exposures.”
So what’s a concerned parent to do?
Take a look at the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
 Get your own clippable guide to the “Dirty Dozen” to use as a reference.
The bottom line?
Get your daily requirement of fruits and vegetables, period.  Eating these nutrient dense foods is more important than worrying about how they were grown.   If you want to buy organic, but are watching the budget, then spend your money where it really counts–on the most heavily pesticided produce.
Apples, a fall favorite at our house, are at the top of the Dirty Dozen list.  While they may look tasty, neither you or Snow White can count on low levels of pesticides unless they are organic. Kids love apples so maybe this is where you can prioritize an organic purchase.  Remember this when buying juice, applesauce, or any other apple products.
And don’t forget, there are other reasons for choosing organic.  Organic practices protect soil, water and air quality.  They also protect the health of farmworkers.  In the long run,organic is good for everyone.
 An (organic) apple a day–and 4 or more servings of fruits and vegetables will  not only keep the doctor away but any wicked queens as well…