7 Yummy Toppings for Greek Yogurt...Without Adding Sugar
Plain Greek yogurt can be hard to swallow...literally! Everyone is crazy for Greek and Icelandic yogurts right now, since they are a great source of protein, but let's face it, unsweetened plain yogurt is not easy for most people to eat. That's the main reason people stock their grocery carts with flavored yogurts, which are actually loaded with added sugar. I find that flavored greek yogurts are one of the most deceptive sources of sugar that people get in their diet. They feel like they are eating a "health food" and are totally unaware that they just ate 25 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to 6 teaspoons of sugar! Not so healthy after all!
I have been trying to cut back on artificial sweeteners too, so I eat my yogurt plain most of the time, but I have found a few things that can make it taste much better without the added sugar. I thought I'd share my quick list of "add-ins" that help me enjoy eating plain yogurt.
Feel free to experiment! I try different combinations of the items below, always using two or three of the additions depending on what I am in the mood for. Keep trying different combinations until you find some that you like!
This is my favorite and I use it in almost every combination I eat with the yogurt. Cinnamon has a great flavor and has the added benefit of helping to stabilize blood sugar. It mixes so well with almost every one of the ideas below, I use a ton of it and always keep it stocked.
Adding a little dried peanut butter (PB2) is such a great way to make the plain yogurt taste better, it really is one of the easier and most flavorful additions. PB2 has an added boost of protein and is low in fat. Sometimes I use this, adding a higher ratio of PB2, to make a dip that I serve with sliced apples. This is one kids love too!
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Seriously, doesn't everything taste better with pumpkin pie spice? Absolutely - especially this time of year! Even better news is that pumpkin pie spice has health benefits too, with the ginger, nutmeg, and allspice all helping with digestion.
Natural Unsweetened Cocoa
If you are a chocolate lover, this might be an addition you will enjoy. It is low in calories and fat, and has zero sugar. Cocoa is full of healthy flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants and it is a heart healthy benefits as well. I like to mix this with a little PB2...Chocolate and peanut butter...brilliant!
Vanilla extract is great mixed into plain yogurt, you just need to be careful when adding it in, it can come out fast and have a bad aftertaste. Try starting with less and adding more to taste. Vanilla is a natural antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory abilities as well. I usually always add cinnamon or pumpkin spice to the vanilla extract.
Flavored Liquid Stevia
If all the other additions weren't enough to help you start eating plain greek yogurt, this one might just do the job. Friends that I know who struggle with the taste of eating plain yogurt usually love this. As far as artificial sweeteners go, stevia is one of the better choices since it is naturally derived from the stevia plant. Depending upon which yogurt you buy, the artificial sweeteners can be really unhealthy. This is a way to be in control of the choice of sweetener (using one from a natural source) and how much sweetener is used. You can find a variety of liquid stevia flavorings, everything from cinnamon, coconut, caramel and chocolate, to a ton more. (Here is a variety pack)
Adding a little crunch to your yogurt can make the biggest difference! It can be any one of a number of things, but be careful not to add sugary granolas and cereals. Just read the packages nutritional information to make sure it isn't loaded with added sugar. We love the Super Seed and Ancient Grains mix from Trader Joes and Uncle Sam's Cereal. I can't eat Uncle Sam's plain...it's REALLY plain, but mixed into yogurt and it's a great no sugar addition. It only had 4 ingredients and has healthy flax seeds too. Just plain old Cherrios work as well, or even throw in a handful of your favorite cereal you already have in your pantry.
I hope you enjoy trying all 7 yummy additions for your greek yogurt, without adding sugar! Do you have some healthy, low sugar additions that you mix into your greek yogurt? Please share them in the comments below - we love new ideas!