Lean Protein Spotlight: Turkey

The other day, I roasted a 15-pound turkey, but I was only serving two people. What was I thinking?

Actually it’s a simple answer.

Before Thanksgiving last year, our grocery store offered whole turkeys at $0.37 per pound if you bought $35 worth of groceries. I had to take them up on that deal, which meant that I had two turkeys in the freezer. Recently, I decided to cook one of them for guests, but they cancelled. Since I already had the turkey thawing in the fridge, I cooked it anyway. That’s the easy part: no dressing, no basting, cook until the thickest parts reach 165 degrees F. Results: a lot of food for two people.

Frozen turkeys will keep for a long time if held below zero degrees. They’re usually packed in air- and water-resistant plastic wraps that help prevent loss of quality during freezer storage. The general recommendation for freezer storage is one year, if the food has been frozen that whole time. This is a quality recommendation and not a food safety deadline.

According to the National Turkey Federation, removed bones typically reduce the weight of the turkey by 25% and my turkey was fairly true to that estimate. I weighed the bones after I cooked them down for soup and picked the meat off, and I had 3.3 pounds of “waste” (there was additional fat and moisture I couldn’t weigh) from my 15-pound turkey. We ended up with about 10 pounds of meat at around $0.50 a pound. What a deal!

The usual recommendation is to purchase one pound of turkey (on the bone) for each person served. This is geared for holiday meals with all the trimmings and to save leftovers too. With my February turkey, we had a few meals of roast turkey and then two big pots of soup. We also had lots of leftovers for sandwiches at a much better price, taste, and quality than that expensive processed turkey meat in the deli. Plus, I froze a few packages of cooked turkey for quick meals later. The recommendation for frozen cooked turkey is to eat it within three months.

The US Dietary Guidelines suggest choosing lean or low-fat meat and poultry as your protein source. Turkey is lower in fat and calories than many other foods in the protein group and can be a good choice. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, 3 ounces of whole turkey (meat only) contains 135 calories, 24 grams of protein, and only 3.26 grams of fat.

Even if you can’t get as good a price as I did, roasting your own turkey or turkey parts any time of the year can be an easy job with lots of nutritional benefits.  Why wait until Thanksgiving?

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University

Shopping with MyPlate: A Handout

Balance your cart for a balanced plate!

Shopping with My Plate:

The food you buy has a huge impact on your eating habits. Make sure that the choices you make are healthful and balanced, starting at the grocery store.

What does that mean?

Well, since MyPlate advises you to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal, roughly half your cart should be full of fruits and vegetables in the store. Make lean protein choices, and select dairy foods that are low in saturated fat and added sugars. When it comes to grain foods, make sure that at least half of all the grains you’re eating are whole grains. Skip those processed grains whenever you can.

More Shopping Tips!

My Plate advises people to “Compare sodium content for similar foods, using the Nutrition Facts label to select brands lower in sodium.” The next time you’re in the store, grab a couple of different options for an ingredient and compare the sodium content. Choose one of the options with lower numbers.

Watch out for portion size! When you’re in the store, look at the serving size and number of servings in the food that you’d like to buy. Is it realistic? Will a sugary soda bottle really be used for 2 or 3 separate servings, or, despite what it says on the label, is the drink really going to be consumed all at once? Remember, MyPlate wants to help people enjoy food but eat less of it, counseling, “Avoid oversized portions.”

Here’s a printable MyPlate handout that you can use however you see fit!

MyPlate Shopping Handout

And here are even more MyPlate educational materials, fresh from the Nutrition Education Store!

Art of Health MyPlate Poster

Health Hopscotch Floor Sticker and Game

Salt and Sodium Poster

Carrots!

Carrots!What should I do with 10 pounds of carrots?

Actually, the first question should be “Why do I have so many carrots?”

The short answer is because I’m frugal. Carrots were on my grocery list; I use carrots frequently and consider them a vegetable staple.  I can’t bear to spend $1 to $1.50 for a pound of carrots at the grocery store when I can get 10 pounds at our big box store for about $6. That’s just $.60 cents a pound — half the price, but a whole lot of carrots.

This large amount of carrots does cause a bit of a problem. Can I use them up while they’re still fresh?

Yes, I admit that there is a certain level of convenience in the bagged, ready-to-eat carrots. It’s no surprise that baby carrots are among the most popular items in the produce aisle, accounting for over 80% of all retail carrot sales.

RIMG4206One pound of carrots equals 3 to 3½ cups of peeled and sliced, chopped, or grated raw carrots. In case you’re counting, one 7-inch-long carrot has only 30 calories. A single cup of grated carrots has 45 calories. And boy, there are lots of nutrients packed into those calories! Few other vegetables or fruits contain as much carotene as carrots, which the body converts to vitamin A. Carrots are also a good source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin C.

But now, back to my 10 pounds of carrots.

Storage of this many carrots can pose a conundrum. It’s best to store carrots in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, unwashed and uncut, until you’re ready to use them. Most references say that carrots will keep for at least two weeks this way. However, I think we’re more inclined to eat our vegetables if they’re ready to use — that’s why baby carrots and pre-cut carrots are so popular (and $2 a pound!). So I left some carrots uncut and sliced some others for easy snacking on the go.

Carrot HummusTo use up my bounty, I turned to the Food and Health Communications recipe files. If you’re ever in the same boat as me, may I recommend the following recipes? They’re great for carrots!

Anyway, I’ve done this before, and after a while my husband finally said, enough is enough, he can’t eat any more carrots. Which is fine, but what do I do with the few that are lingering in the crisper drawer?

Carrots for the FreezerThe answer: I chop or grate them and throw them in the freezer in 1 cup portions. The National Center for Home Food Preservation says that carrots should be blanched before freezing for the best quality and texture. Since I plan to use the frozen carrots in cooked foods, I don’t worry too much about this, but I do try to use them up sooner rather than later. I actually like to have this extra stash in the freezer, ready to go for soups and casseroles when I don’t have fresh carrots available.

I’ve said this many times, a bargain isn’t a bargain if some of it goes to waste. But, in this case, I keep trying to convince myself that even losing a few last carrots would be cheaper than buying fewer at the $1.50 per pound price.  I think I’m still ahead financially, but I admit, I had to work at it!

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University

Here are a few more cooking and shopping resources from the Nutrition Education Store. We’re here to help you look your very best, right now.

Lighten Up Your Shopping Cart Poster

The Cooking Demo Book

Shop Smart for Diabetes PowerPoint

And here’s a handout that offers a great introduction to carrots, including their nutrient profile, how to cook with them, and how to store them. Enjoy!

Carrots

Sharol Cripe, RDN, LDN, has also sent in a fantastic carrot resource. Visit the Englewood Farmers’ Market homepage to see recipes for roasted carrots and carrots with a Moroccan twist!

A Fresh Look at Hummus

There are several foods in my refrigerator on a regular basis that weren’t there five years ago. One of these is hummus.

HummusI’ve been buying hummus as an alternative to sour cream or mayo-based dips, and it has now become my favorite appetizer. I try to “walk the talk” as a health educator, and so I put out healthful snacks when we have people over. Hummus goes very well with fresh vegetables, whole grain crackers, or baked pieces of pita bread.

Recently I wondered if I could make my own hummus. Some of this is just my curiosity, but I was also looking for a way to save some money/calories. The commercial versions of hummus are at least $2 for just 12 ounces and declare that 50 calories are in just 2 tablespoons. (This is still better than the typical French onion dip that averages 60 calories per 2 tablespoons, with 75% of the calories from fat). But I was looking for something even more healthful.

ChickpeasThe basic ingredient in hummus is the humble chickpea (a.k.a. garbanzo beans or cece beans). Chickpeas themselves are powerhouses of nutrients. They are high in protein and dietary fiber while staying low in fat and sodium. What a great base for this dish!

In addition to chickpeas, another traditional ingredient in hummus is tahini. Tahini is a paste that is made by grinding up sesame seeds. Not only is it expensive, but it’s really high in fat. According to the Nutrition Facts label on the jar, just 2 tablespoons of tahini contain 260 calories, and 200 of them are from fat! Wow! That adds up fast, especially when recipes call for 1/3 to 1/2 cup of tahini for each 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of chickpeas.

Now, when it comes to the ingredients, I prefer to take things a bit farther. Most of the hummus recipes I found start with a can of chickpeas. But I wanted to be even more in control of the ingredients in my hummus, so I got dried chickpeas. If you’ve never purchased them, dried chickpeas are with the other dried beans and peas in the grocery store. I soaked them overnight in water, brought everything to a boil on top of the stove, and finished cooking them for 5 hours on low in the slow cooker. Made this way, they were perfect. Chickpeas can be cooked for a shorter period of time on top of the stove, but the slow cooker was easy for me to start and then do something else while the chickpeas cooked.

Mixing It TogetherOnce I had finished preparing my chickpeas, I found that I got 8 cups of cooked beans out of a single pound of dried chickpeas. That’s about four times the amount of beans you’d get in one can. Plus, that larger amount costs the same as a small can of beans, and this version has no added sodium.

I was also impressed with the flavor — I found it to be so much better than the canned version.

Now that the chickpeas were ready to roll, I started to experiment with actual hummus recipes. I found one particularly intriguing recipe from the free recipe database at Food and Health Communications — this recipe used plain yogurt instead of tahini. I tried it that way and loved it, and what a savings in terms of calories and fat!

Hummus!From there, making hummus is a snap! I slowly processed all the ingredients in my food processor, adding more yogurt until I got the consistency I liked. After a few experiments, I found that I prefer Greek yogurt in my hummus because it offers a little more body than more traditional yogurts.

Once it was well blended, I seasoned my hummus with lots of garlic, lemon juice, and parsley. Drizzling it with a little sesame oil and sprinkling with toasted sesame seeds gives it a hint of tahini flavor and makes the presentation super appealing.

I guess I’m not a “hummus purist,” but I like this lower-cost and lower-fat version.

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Want to offer your clients a guide to healthful, tasty hummus? Get a free PDF recipe right here! This page is an excerpt from The Home Run Cooking Book, which is a fantastic introduction to healthful cooking. It goes over kitchen tips and techniques, discusses cooking equipment, and offers the most popular healthful recipes, all of which have been rigorously tested and audience approved. It’s the perfect educational resource. Try this hummus and see for yourself!

Hummus Recipe

Remember, we are here when you want to look your very best right now. Here are some wonderful options to help encourage your clients to choose balanced diets…

Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber, MyPlate and Much More!

Nutrition Poster Value Set

This CD has our top 6 grocery PowerPoints, all in one place!

Healthful Shopping Presentation

The truth about sugary drinks!

Beverage Banner and Stand

Salvaging: What Is It?

Salvaging. That’s what my friend called it when she invited me to go shopping with her. She had a long list of salvage stores in the area that she wanted to visit. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try.

Salvaging: What Is It?If you’ve never heard of such a thing, here’s the scoop.

Salvage stores sell scratch and dent items and stuff that the regular stores can’t sell. These items may be overstocks, returned merchandise, clearance, or just things that didn’t sell at the retail store. Salvage stores buy products by the pallet and truckload and then resell them at a drastically-reduced price. Each load is different, so salvage shoppers will never know what will be available at any store.

Most of the items were dry goods, canned goods, and nonperishable food. The salvage store also had paper goods, pet food, and some cleaning supplies.

Many of the products were past the dates on the labels. The “food safety hairs” on the back of my neck started to go up quickly. That said, by being cautious and paying attention, I was able to find some real bargains.

How?

Well, salvage shopping feels like a balancing act to me. Some foods are perfectly safe, while others needed to be skipped. Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know if you or your clients want to pursue salvage shopping.

SalvagingThe expiration date on food has nothing to do with food safety. There is nothing “illegal” about stores selling food that is beyond the expiration date. The one exception here is infant formula and some baby food.

Packages frequently have words like “best by” or “use by” on them. This does not mean that you can’t eat the food after this date. These dates are provided by the food manufacturers as a way for you to judge quality and freshness. Putting these dates on packages is entirely at the discretion of the manufacturer. After all, they would like you to eat their food when it is at its best.

Many unopened shelf-stable products will be of good quality long past their sell-by dates. Foods like mustard, ketchup, pickles, crackers, and cereal may lose quality, color, and texture, but can remain perfectly safe to eat.

Here’s a little key to those dates:

  • The sell-by date tells the store how long to display the product for sale.
  • The use-by date is the last date recommended for use of the product while it’s at peak quality.
  • The best-if-used by dates is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or a safety date.

Walking the Aisles...Non-perishable shelf-stable foods such as sugar, dried beans, spices and canned goods do not spoil unless they are handled carelessly. They will lose quality and nutrition, however, if stored for a long time, even if kept under ideal conditions.

Some shelf-stable foods are called semi-perishable and have a shorter shelf life. These are foods like flour, grain, dried fruits and dry mixes. They can usually be kept unopened for 6-12 months without much noticeable quality loss.

Commercially-processed low-acid canned goods like meat, poultry, fish, soups, corn, carrots, potatoes will usually keep (unopened) in a pantry for 2-5 years. High acid foods like juices, pickles, sauerkraut and items in vinegar-based sauces will generally keep for 12-18 months.

When shopping, avoid dusty cans or torn labels, this may indicate very old stock.

Don’t purchase bulging, rusted, or leaking cans. These could contain dangerous bacteria.

Unsafe CanBe wary of deeply dented cans. Carefully check dented cans before buying them. Cans with dents may have exposed the contents to air, which results in the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

Watch out for pantry pests (bugs) in salvaged foods. These pests can hitchhike into your house in foods like cereals, flours, herbs, spices, chocolate and dried fruit. Storing these items in air-tight plastic or glass containers can help prevent the infestation from transferring from one food to another in the pantry.

Consider the geographic area of where you live. Where have your salvage foods been stored? Food stored in warm and humid climates tends to have a shorter shelf life.

Don’t overbuy. Don’t get so excited about the deals you’re getting that you buy more than you can eat in a reasonable amount of time.

Once you get the items home, store them in a cool, dry place and rotate them, using the oldest first.

Remember the old saying “when in doubt, throw it out!”

I’ll add this… a deal isn’t a deal if you end up throwing the food out later. When you salvage, shop smart!

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University

Want to share salvaging tips with your clients? Here’s a SalvageHandout, just for you. Get your copy now!

Free Grocery Handout

For healthy shopping advice and guides to food safety, look no further than the Nutrition Education Store

Supermarket Shopping DVD

Food Safety Poster

6 Grocery Shopping Tours

Plus, there are tons of new materials in the store. Check them out, or just review the featured category below…

ALL-NEW Nutrition Posters

There are a whole bunch of new nutrition posters, and I really think you’ll like what you see. Help your clients choose healthful beverages, make balanced meal decisions, track their progress, and review nutrition basics, all with colorful and engaging posters. Take a look today!

Cool Beans

Yes, we all know that beans are the musical fruit. But did you also know that they’re magical?

I mean, not magic magical, but beans are an inexpensive, tasty, and nutritious powerhouse! Today I want to introduce you to the joys of beans. And we’ll even talk strategies for making them less musical too.

14% of the U.S. population is eating beans on any given day. Pinto beans are the most popular bean, closely followed by navy, black, Great Northern, and garbanzo beans. These versatile legumes even fit into two distinct MyPlate groups — vegetables and protein. Did you know that beans can be considered a healthful protein food or a fantastic vegetable option? Fit them on your plate wherever they can do the most good.

BEANSSo, why eat beans? In a word: nutrients. They’re full of them! Beans are great sources of…

  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Plant protein
  • Polyphenols
  • Potassium
  • Resistant starch
  • Soluble fiber
  • Total fiber
  • Zinc

According to MyPlate, many Americans don’t get nearly enough folate or potassium in their diets. Beans are a great way to correct this issue. Plus, a recent study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has revealed that beans “are among the only plant foods that provide significant amounts of the indispensable amino acid lysine.”

What does this mean for your health? Well, a diet rich in beans can…

  • Reduce your LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Decrease your risk of diabetes.
  • Help you manage your weight.
  • Improve the health of your colon.
  • Be rich in vital nutrients.

But wait, there’s more! Beans are wonderfully inexpensive and deliciously versatile. Did you know that canned beans cost only 4 cents per ounce, while dried beans average 11 cents per ounce? Just to compare, Angus Beef costs 31 cents per ounce!

Let’s take that bean and beef comparison one step further. What do you notice about the chart below?

Bean and Beef Comparison

A single serving of kidney beans has 20.5 fewer grams of fat, 6.5 more grams of fiber, and 48% fewer calories than lean ground beef! This means that beans are as great a bet for your health as they are for your wallet.

So, how can you make beans a part of your life?

Well, when it comes to canned beans, it’s as easy as draining and rinsing them, then tossing them into your next salad or batch of chili.

Dried beans require a little bit more effort. There are a few tried-and-true approaches, which I’ve outlined below…

  • Overnight: Cover your beans with several inches of water and let them soak in a large pot overnight. Then, when you want to cook them, drain and rinse the beans, cover with a few inches of fresh water and bring the whole shebang to a boil. Let everything boil for a few minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook for a few hours, until beans are tender.
  • Quick: For a quicker method that skips the overnight soak, bring beans to a boil in a large pot. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then turn off the heat and let them soak for an hour. Bring everything to a boil once more and then simmer for a few hours, until beans are tender.

A good soaking ratio for dried beans is 5 to 1 — 5 parts water to 1 part dried beans. Let’s look at an example. If you have 2 cups of dried beans, soak them in 10 cups of water. The cooking ratio for soaked beans is 1 part broth or water to 1 part beans.

Now the exact cooking time for dried beans varies based on…

  • Age of the beans
  • Altitude
  • Bean variety
  • Water hardness

Chicken Tostada SaladPhew! That was a lot of information about beans. It’s time to get practical. Here are some great (and free!) recipes for canned and cooked beans alike.

Oh and yes, sometimes eating too many beans at once will give you gas. Start introducing beans to your diet gradually in order to reduce your risk of musical side effects. Drink plenty of water while you eat beans and be sure to rinse canned beans well. These steps will further reduce your risk of any digestive discomfort so that you can eat beans without fear.

So what are you waiting for? Get our there and enjoy beans!

Here’s a free handout with a great bean recipe to help you get started…

Bean Recipe Handout

For More Information:

  1. Dry Beans. http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/vegetables-pulses/dry-beans.aspx#.VDxOWudN3U4
  2. Nutritional and Health Benefits of Dried Beans. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24871476
  3. Beans and Peas are Unique Foods. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables-beans-peas.html
  4. The World’s Healthiest Foods: Black Beans. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=2
  5. Cost of groceries. Peapod.com

Even More Bean Resources:

Protein Bulletin Board Kit

MyPlate on a Budget Brochure

Mediterranean Meals Poster

Breakfast Out

For many eating breakfast out is a real treat. It’s a great way to start the day and also reconnect with family and friends. But, how can you eat breakfast out and still strive for “healthful”? I asked this question of the participants in my weight loss and healthy eating class. They had some great responses:

• Only eat one egg—you can be satisfied with just one. Many people eat two out of habit.

• One couple liked to share a two egg breakfast at a local restaurant –each got one egg, one slice of whole wheat toast and one slice of bacon. It saves calories and helps the budget, too. I was pleased to hear this response because at an earlier class session they were complaining about what a restaurant charged for two eggs without the bread. They learned that they should keep the bread—make it whole grain– and just cut the portions. Yeah!

• Go for a veggie omelet— one class member really liked spinach omelets. She confessed that she hasn’t gotten the “nerve” to “hold the cheese”, yet. My thoughts…for her…why not go for an egg white vegetable omelet and keep the cheese. It’s a trade-off. Vegetable omelets are a great way to help meet that daily vegetable recommendation.

• There was also a discussion of splitting that veggie omelet breakfast to control portion sizes. That gives each diner ½ an omelet, one piece whole-grain toast, a ½ fruit, a small amount of potatoes. They admitted that they didn’t need that larger meal and weren’t really hungry with just half.

Egg white sandwiches at fast food breakfast places aren’t awful. You can take the Canadian bacon off, or feel comfortable that it has more protein and less fat than “regular” bacon.

Overall we were in agreement that oatmeal at a restaurant can be costly and quite often “instant” and not a good source of fiber. Also eating cold cereal out didn’t usually offer good options for high fiber and low sugar. Restaurants tend not have low-fat or skim milk or yogurts available. It’s also a budget thing—most did not want to spend the money for what they got for these items out.

Overall, eating breakfast at home provides more healthful options. But we all agreed, with some careful selections, a friendly restaurant and perhaps even an agreeable dining companion; eating breakfast at a restaurant does not have to sabotage an otherwise healthful diet.

Here are a few delicious recipes to make breakfast at home

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Check out our breakfast poster:

 

and our new My Plate Photo Poster in 18X24 (also available as 12X18)

My Plate Poster

Perspective on Portions and Budgets

IMGP1352

I grew up with a grandmother who knew how to pinch pennies. She bought dented cans, washed aluminum foil and cut the ends off toothpaste tubes to get the last little bit. So as my husband says, “I come by it naturally”. I’m always looking for ways to save money.

But sometimes I forget that there are different ways to look at things. We as teachers need to remember to look at our students’ perspective, especially when talking about food.

I was reminded of this by a good friend. We were recently at her house and she had small 100-calorie packs of nuts. I was surprised at the idea that she would buy these items. Not that nuts wouldn’t be a good snack, but the thought of the cost and the excess packaging made me question her decision making.

She probably saw the puzzled look on my face and quickly explained why she bought them. She said she knew they were expensive but she liked their convenience for a quick pick-me-up snack when she works late. The other thing that she likes about these prepackaged snacks is that she doesn’t have to spend extra time in the kitchen. She admits she doesn’t like to cook and says any extra time spent in the kitchen encourages her to overeat. She also commented that she’s been on weight control programs in the past that had her measuring and packaging food. She hated this, saying that being around food this much caused her to think about food and want to eat more. She says she does better if she’s just not in the kitchen.

For some this really does make sense.

Another perspective. Maybe you don’t want to have those big bags of chips hanging around. Small bags of snacks force portion control and don’t tempt over eating. I don’t know if I could re-package some foods without eating about 300 calories in the process. If you just want chips as a snack now and again, small bags are more practical and you save money by not throwing away stale chips that don’t get eaten. This is especially critical with children and teens who tend to want to open a new bag before finishing the old bag!

When teaching wellness courses I’ve been guilty of encouraging students to make their own 100-calorie packs. Part the reasoning here is to have healthy ready-to go snacks available, but also (at least in my mind) to save a little money over purchased packaged snacks or vending machine snacks. But, the next time I teach the class, I may add a little more discussion and a different perspective on this do-it-yourself concept. The process of making these bags drives home the reality of the portion size with these foods.

Speaking of money. I did some quick calculations on the nuts. You get seven .63 ounces packets of dry roasted nuts for $2.68. That makes each of the little packets about .40 cents each. Calculated out, the price comes to about $9.50 a pound. Not as bad as I though it would be compared to $9 a pound for bulk almonds. But there’s more to this picture than just little packets of nuts.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Helping Schools Meet Their Budget

 

 

 

Amy Lazev of WJCC Public Schools needed to add color to her schools but had to work with a tight budget.  So she gave us a call earlier this week and we helped the school along with a short-time sale on the Exam Room MyPlate 12×18 Poster.  She loved the poster and we met her budget because we love schools and kids!

Exam Room MyPlate Poster 12×18

 

A few weeks ago we also received a request from a hospital in Virginia for sodium brochures and displays that we did not carry in stock.  We immediately put our A Team to work on designing the products and our customer was thrilled to see how comprehensive our materials were and how quickly they were available.  And now they are available at nutritioneducationstore.com for you!

 

Low Sodium Success Brochure - Packets of 25

Low Sodium Success Brochure – Packets of 25

Salt Display Kit

Salt Display Kit

 

Are you in need of nutrition education materials and working with a tight budget?  Do you need materials that you don’t see in our store?  Just give us a call and we will do all we can to get you our newest and best-selling materials to meet your specific needs.  We love to help!

Sign up for our Nuggets email to be delivered to your inbox on Wednesday mornings.  You will find great weekly deals with 10-60% off our best-sellers each week!  We will let you in on a little secret… this Wednesday’s email (August 28th) has three products with discounts of over 55%!  Don’t miss out!

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Email us at orders@foodandhealth.com or call us at 800-462-2352 for special requests!

 

The Great Greek Yogurt Experiment


IMGP0055Whenever it’s discussed the conversation is always the same….Greek yogurt. …it’s so good…but so expensive.

I guess I’m not a good yogurt eater.  I buy it and I eat it, but don’t necessarily like it.  I know it’s good for me, it’s a good snack when I want something healthful, low fat and a good source of calcium.  I’m always trying to get folks to eat yogurt for all those reasons, but yogurt was really not on my “yummy” list.

That was until I tried Greek yogurt.  I had it the other morning with strawberries. Wow was it wonderful. I felt like licking the bowl .  The texture is amazing. I had vanilla with the strawberries and just can’t describe how good it tasted.

So, what makes it so good?

Real Greek yogurt is made with sheep or goat  milk and is a blend of cream and milk. In the US most Greek yogurt is made from cow’s milk.  Greek yogurt is also strained. This straining removes more water (whey) from the yogurt and is what helps gives it that desired dense, firm and creamy texture.

In the US there is no legal definition of Greek yogurt. Because it has become so popular, you can now purchase a wide variety of what is called “Greek-style” yogurt. Be sure to read the ingredients label, some lower fat versions have added thickeners to improve the texture and some of the flavored versions have added sugars. It’s really up to the consumer to read and heed what they are purchasing.

One of the reasons you pay more for Greek yogurt is that they need more milk to get the same amount of yogurt.  The straining of the whey concentrates both the texture and the nutrients. While most regular yogurts have a protein content of around 5 to 7 grams per 8 ounce serving, Greek yogurt usually averages anywhere between 12 to 21 grams. It also has more calories. One cup of a popular brand of plain Greek yogurt has 260 calories compared to plain regular or non-fat regular yogurts that can range from 90 to 150 calories.

I decided to make my own. Although I have made yogurt in the past from fresh milk, for this experiment  I started with one cup of already made plain non-fat yogurt. I placed it in a strainer lined with a coffee filter, covered it all with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.  I was amazed at how much whey strained out.  From one cup of yogurt I got just over ½ cup of thick plain “Greek” yogurt and 7 tablespoons of whey.  IMGP0174IMGP0170

How did it taste?  I have to admit, it was tart. Texture-wise  it was thick, really thick and it just didn’t seem to be as creamy as some of the commercially prepared Greek yogurts. It worked, but really I don’t think I’ll be doing this frequently.  It might be good in a pinch if I wanted a really thick yogurt to add to a recipe, but to make it just to eat it took a lot of yogurt and time for a small yield.

I think I’ll be buying my Greek yogurt in the future.

When weighing the higher cost of Greek yogurt,  remember you’re really getting almost double the amount of yogurt (and nutrition)  for the price. The problem is, it tastes so good can you eat just half the amount?

Favorite yogurt recipes

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Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

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