Choosing and eating Greek yogurt

With so many choices out there, it’s hard to know what is a real strained (Greek style) yogurt and which one is your best choice nutritionally.

  • First of all make sure that it only has milk and or cream and live cultures. If it has other things such as gelatin, stabilizers, protein, sweeteners etc it’s not yogurt. In fact, in Greece, yogurt that has other ingredients in it cannot be labeled as yogurt, but rather “dessert yogurt” (in Greek: epidorpio yiaourtiou)
  • Consider buying plain yogurt. Plain yogurt is so versatile; it can be used for sauces, dips, smoothies (see my other post), but it’s great plain too. Yes, I know there are so many great flavors to choose from, but honestly, if you want eat a yogurt Greek style eat it plain. Greeks often would have a big ceramic bowl of homemade yogurt on the table after a meal, and everybody would serve themselves. If they went out, yogurt was served with some honey and a bit of bread, but that was about it. So try to enjoy it that way. If it’s too sour for you, add your own honey or your own fruit. Personally, when I’m eating yogurt, I want it to taste like yogurt, not vanilla pudding.
  • From a nutritional standpoint, various types of processed sweeteners and additives are obviously not a good thing.
  • Don’t overdo it. Yes dairy is important, but the traditional Greek-Mediterranean limits dairy to 2 servings a day. Also high intakes of calcium have been associated with increased risk of ovarian and prostate cancer.

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  1. Thank you, Elena! You are a wealth of knowledge! I can get Greek yogurt from grass-fed cows here in my State in the US, but have a hard time finding sheep’s milk. Do you have a source or brand you can provide for sheep’s milk Greek yogurt?

  2. Marie Barker says:

    Hi Elena. I use full fat Greek yoghurt which says on the ingredients it is made from live cultures (not “contains” live cultures). I’ve recently been reading that even though it may have been made from live cultures, it won’t contain them if it has been heat treated. The ingredients list says :milk, milk solids, cream(milk), yoghurt cultures (milk),

  3. Jon Nickerson says:

    What type of honey is best to consume, in your opinion? I very infrequently use it, but the information out there is confusing. What about Canola oil? Again, I don’t use much – 90 percent of the time I use EVOO. Thanks in advance for your expert opinion, and thank you for such a wonderful website.

  4. I know in parts of Greece the yogurt is actually from unpasturized sheep milk, is that the usual or just in pockets? I know that in the US, I do not care for any of the feta I’ve tried except for one brand that is made from sheep’s milk and I love it.