What's the Best Yogurt for People With Diabetes?

Greek Yogurt: Nutrition Benefits for People With Diabetes

Glass of Greek yogurt with berries

Yogurt can be a smart food option if you have diabetes. The trick is to know the kind of yogurt to look for.

What to Look for in a Yogurt

In the best kinds of yogurt, you get a good balance of protein and carbohydrate, along with calcium and healthy probiotics. You also don't get a lot of added sugar or saturated fat. That means choosing a lowfat or nonfat yogurt. To cut down on added sugars, it's a smart idea to buy plain yogurt.

If you prefer flavoring, you can add a teaspoon of jam or honey (make sure you factor in those added carbs).

Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt

Greek yogurt is regular yogurt that's been strained, removing some of the whey and leaving behind a thicker, more protein-rich yogurt. Greek yogurt is readily available in regular grocery stores; find it in the refrigerated dairy section.

Regular yogurt provides 5 grams of protein per 6-ounce serving, while Greek yogurt provides up to 20 grams, depending on the brand. Because it has more protein, Greek yogurt has about 1/3 the carbohydrate of regular yogurt -- and since lactose is a source of carbohydrate in dairy products, this means that many people find Greek yogurt easier to digest than regular yogurt because of the lower carbohydrate and lactose content. On the other hand, Greek yogurt has less calcium than traditional yogurt, so keep that in mind if you're eating yogurt for calcium.

For people with diabetes, plain, lowfat, or nonfat Greek yogurt is an exceptional meal and snack option due to the low carbohydrate and high protein content.

How to Have Yogurt in Your Diabetes-Friendly Meal Plan

Yogurt for breakfast: For a great breakfast, try 6 to 8 ounces of plain lowfat Greek yogurt topped with one serving of fresh seasonal fruit (like berries, sliced bananas, chunked apples, etc.) and 6 to 8 chopped almonds for crunch, additional protein, and healthy fats.

If you like, add a sugar-free sweetener.

Traditionally, Greek yogurt is sweetened with honey; if you can spare the carbohydrates, then you could try a little bit of honey instead of a sugar-free sweetener -- but a better idea for people with diabetes whose meal plan calls for more carbohydrate would be to stick to the sugar-free sweeteners and then perhaps to add another serving of fruit or a slice of whole wheat toast instead of the simple sugar found in honey. With one serving of fruit and a sugar-free sweetener, your breakfast would be around 24 grams of carbohydrate. With an additional serving of fruit or toast, it would be around 40 grams of carbohydrate.

Yogurt in dips: Plain low or non-fat Greek yogurt can also be used almost exclusively in place of sour cream in dips and recipes since the texture and flavor are so similar. You can also use it in baked good that call for sour cream, such as cookies, scones or cake.

Recipes to try that use Greek yogurt:

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