Greek yogurt dates back way before the recent fad. Since before modern humanity, Greek yogurt has been a staple food in Central Asian cuisine. Dating back to around 6000 B.C., Greek yogurt hasn’t changed much since. The way we made the yogurt may have changed from being fermented in the stomach lining of skinned animals to modern machinery, but it is still the same enzymes and bitter yogurt as it has been for the past 8,000 years. Traditionally, Greek yogurt is made from sheep’s milk, but since 1975 most American Greek yogurt is from cows. The reason Greek yogurt is so much thicker than other yogurts is because the milk undergoes an evaporation process and then strained, giving it a nice thick consistency. Gruesome animal descriptions aside, its tart flavor gives it the ability to contribute the diversity it has brought to cultures from Neolithic Asia, to the ancient Greeks, to modern American Walmarts.
Not only does it have a diverse origin, it is also extremely healthy. Greek yogurt is an amazing source of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and Vitamins B6 and B12. So it’s a great way to get healthy bones, healthy muscles, pretty skin, and high energy! Even recent studies have shown the probiotics can "modestly" reduce blood pressure. As a young college student, I don't really even know what blood pressure means and the implications of it being high, but apparently, it is a really big deal! Jokes aside, probiotics found in fermented food and drinks, like yogurt, are extremely beneficial in helping out your intestinal flora clean the bad bacteria that builds up over time. That being said, why would you ever eat anything else for breakfast? When people put sugary candy in their yogurt, it is actually taking away from the nutrition of their food. I know Greek yogurt is sour and tart, but people are killing all the goodness of the yogurt by filling it with junk food. If you’re wanting a quick breakfast, add some healthier choices. Besides, Greek yogurt can be used for way more than breakfast anyway.
1. The Quick Breakfast: Greek Yogurt and Maple Syrup (adding sliced almonds optional)
This quick breakfast is healthier than ever! It takes about 3 minutes to make several of these on a Sunday night before a long week. Scoop them into little to-go reusable containers to take to work or school. They’re perfect for last minute breakfast options and the maple syrup adds some natural unprocessed sweetening.
Fun fact: Honey kills the healthy enzymes in Greek yogurt, so avoid adding honey to your yogurt as a replacement.
2. Greek yogurt with peanut butter, shredded coconut, raisins, and banana
Picture from my food instagram @rosiesdawgfood
If you have time to sit down and eat solid breakfast, try this! It is personally my favorite option, especially if I know I won’t be eating lunch for a long time. It is so filling that sometimes I can eat it for breakfast at 10 AM and not be hungry until 2 or 3 PM. On days when I have class from 10:10 am – 4:45 pm (Yes, I know. It is as horrible as it sounds) and I have a lot of homework to do in between classes, I’ll eat this and grab an apple to eat while walking to my last class. It is great way to start my busy day.
3. Homemade Taziki Dipping Sauce or Dressing
Yogurt, dill, salt, pepper are essential (some add olive oil, also) -- add feta and microwave it for 30 seconds if you are feelin' funky. That is all there is to it. Many people on meal plans don’t have dill laying around, but it could be an investment! I love eating this with cucumbers, pita bread, naan, and more.
1 cup of Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons of dill (either fresh or dried)
Add salt and pepper as needed *optional:
1 teaspoon of lemon juice 2 cloves of garlic
1 grated English cucumber
4. Substitute: Greek Yogurt As Sour Cream
There is no preparation for this. The bitter taste of Greek yogurt is the perfect substitute for sour cream. When I was in high school, my mom used to make fajitas all the time (bc they were the bomb) and we would put Greek yogurt on the table in a little bowl and nobody knew the difference! It's an amazing substitute for any sort of food that needs sour cream or tang!
5. Greek Yogurt as Mayo
One of my favorite sandwiches is a Turkey and Swiss with cucumbers and greek yogurt. Be generous if you usually like mayo on your sandwich! This might not be everyone's favorite substitute but it sure is healthier and keeps your sandwich from being dry. You could substitute Greek yogurt for many different recipes that call for mayo too. I could imagine greek yogurt deviled eggs would be pretty dang good.
6. Frozen Greek yogurt
For dessert, drop ice cream and have some greek yogurt frozen yogurt instead (just kidding, never drop ice cream... eat both). My mom makes the best frozen Greek yogurt, here is her recipe:
2 cups frozen fruit
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons of agave nectar or honey
Freeze for a few hours
7. Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt
My mom LOVES oatmeal. Lately, she's been putting a generous amount of greek yogurt in her oatmeal and then leaving it in the fridge overnight. Of course, there are endless options available to add for sweetness and extra flavors with peanut butter, frozen berries, brown sugar, or cinnamon. The best part about this oatmeal is that there is no cooking involved. Here is what she does:
1 cup Greek yogurt
3/4 cups of almond milk
1/2 cups of uncooked oats
2 teaspoons of honey
1/2 cups of pecans
3/4 cups of frozen berries
Stir and refrigerate overnight.
8. Greek Yogurt and Peanut Butter Fruit Dip
People eat this with apples, but I imagine it would be great on a piece of toast or as a sandwich. It might take a little more time than other ideas on this list, but sometimes you gotta treat yourself when you’re wanting a little more sweetness in your life.
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon Mix
9. Greek Yogurt Smoothie
This is the easiest breakfast ever. It is pretty self-explanatory, but for those of you who don’t make smoothies often, I can explain. You can make yourself a quick smoothie in less than 5 minutes by throwing any kind of fruit and Greek yogurt into a blender. You can expect this to be a little thick but don't let this stop you. Most people opt for frozen berries for two main reasons. They are way cheaper than fresh fruit, which as college students, I am sure we all know. Their juices melt into the smoothie, not only making it less thick but adding more sweetness, which offsets the bitter yogurt flavor. You can’t go wrong with a berry Greek yogurt smoothie, but bananas and peanut butter are an amazing option, too.
10. Cream Cheese
A great way to make cream cheese overnight is with Greek Yogurt. It is really easy and only takes about 30 seconds to prepare. All you have to do is scoop 1-3 cups of Greek yogurt into a straining bowl and leave it in the refrigerator for 8-12hours.There are two different things you can use to strain the yogurt to make it thicker. Either place the yogurt directly into a metal small-holed strainer or scoop the yogurt into a cheesecloth (or an old t-shirt cut into a square!!) and then placed it in a colander. You can do this right before bed or before leaving for school, either way, by the time you’re settled in and ready for some quick (and healthy) cream cheese it will be ready!
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