Easy Ways to Flavour Plain Yogurt
We’re big fans of yogurt here at Real Good Eats. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium and a source of vitamin D and A. But we often get questions about whether or not a flavoured yogurt is still a healthy option since it can contain added sugar. In this post, we’ll be answering all of your questions about flavoured yogurt and sharing some of the Easy Ways to Flavour Plain Yogurt for those looking to cut back on added sugar.
Overwhelmed by the variety of yogurt on the market? Check out our tips in this blog post: How to choose the best yogurt: a dietitian’s guide to the yogurt aisle
How much sugar is in flavoured yogurt?
Added sugar isn’t listed on the nutrition facts table in Canada, so the amount of added sugar in a given food product is unknown. But since yogurt comes in both plain (no sugar added) and flavoured, we can estimate the amount of added sugar in the flavoured products by comparing the two.
See the label comparison below for an example. The sugar content of the plain yogurt is 6g per 3/4 cup serving. Since there isn’t any added sugar in this yogurt, we can assume this is naturally occurring milk sugars. The flavoured yogurt has 14g of sugar per 3/4 cup serving. If 6g of this sugar is naturally occurring, the flavoured yogurt contains 8g of added sugar per 3/4 cup serving.
The amount of added sugar in flavoured yogurt varies depending on the brand and flavour of the yogurt. When we compare the flavoured yogurt options available on the Canadian market, added sugar content ranges from 7-16+ grams per 3/4 cup serving. To put this into perspective, that’s ~2-4+ tsp of sugar per 3/4 cup serving.
Is flavoured yogurt a healthy option?
The short answer – YES! The added sugar in yogurt does not discount all of the benefits of this nutritious food. If you’re concerned about the sugar content of added sugar, try plain. Don’t like plain? Try our suggestions to add flavour to plain yogurt below. Still a no-go? Then our advice is to choose nourishment. Yogurt, flavoured or not, is still an excellent source of protein and calcium, and a source of vitamin D and A. Depending on what you may opt for as a snack instead, flavoured yogurt may still be a better option.
Can I eat flavoured yogurt every day?
Yogurt is a highly nutritious option. But what about added sugar – does flavoured yogurt contain too much-added sugar to be eaten daily?
The World Health Organization recommends limiting your added sugar intake to <10% of your total calories. If we use a 2000 calorie diet as an example, that’s 50g of added sugar daily. Sugar-sweetened flavoured yogurt on the market can have anywhere from 9-16g of added sugar per 3/4 cup serving.
This means you can enjoy a serving of flavoured yogurt each day without over-consuming added sugar. Just be sure to limit additional sources of added sugar in your daily routine.
Is no sugar added sweetened yogurt a healthy choice?
Some types of yogurt on the market are have been flavoured with non-caloric sweeteners, such as Splenda or stevia. Whether or not non-caloric sweeteners are a better option than sugar remains controversial. There is debate as to the impact of these sweeteners on our hunger & satiety cues, whether or not we overcompensate with more calories or sweet foods later in the day after eating non-caloric sweeteners, and the impact on gut microflora and weight.
Whichever your sweetener preference (sugar, honey, Splenda, stevia, etc.), we suggest limiting sweeteners as much as possible in your daily routine. If you’re limiting your use of sweeteners throughout the day, flavoured yogurt – sugar or non-caloric sweetener – can be a healthy option.
How much yogurt should I eat in a day?
One serving of yogurt is 3/4 cup. To maintain enough variety in your diet, we recommend limiting your yogurt intake to one serving daily.
Easy Ways to Flavour Plain Yogurt
Stir in jam
Stirring jam into your yogurt is a simple and tasty way to add flavour to plain yogurt. Store-bought flavoured yogurt contains 2-4+ tsp of added sugar, so if you’re adding less than this amount of jam, you’re still reducing the added sugar content.
Combine flavoured yogurt with plain yogurt
Mixing flavoured yogurt with plain yogurt is a great way to reduce the amount of added sugar in your yogurt. Start by mixing 3/4 of a portion of flavoured yogurt with 1/4 portion of plain, and gradually adjust the ratio, to taste.
Mix in your own sweetener
Adding your own sweetener to plain yogurt, such as honey or maple syrup, can add flavour to plain yogurt while using less than the manufacturer would have. As a reference, store-bought flavoured yogurt contains 2-4+ grams of added sugar. So, if you add less sweetener than this, you’re still cutting back on the total amount of added sugar.
Mash fruit into your yogurt
Mashing whole fruit into your yogurt is a great way to add flavour to your yogurt while also adding fibre and additional vitamins and minerals that fruit provides. Mash whole fruit such as bananas or berries, or whisk in a pureed fruit such as apple sauce to give the yogurt more flavour than if you were to top the yogurt with fruit pieces.
Blend frozen fruit into yogurt
Blending frozen fruit with plain yogurt in a blender will give your yogurt a frozen yogurt feel while still reaping the benefits of whole fruit.
Use low-sugar mix-ins
For the lowest sugar option, try mixing in low-sugar mix-ins such as roasted almonds, oats, or seeds to add different flavours or textures to your yogurt without the sweetness.
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