Gluten-Free Kitchen: Cooking with Greek yogurt

I have never been a big fan of protein powders. And if you have read some of my previous posts, you know I believe in getting all the nutrients your body needs – including protein – from food (with a few exceptions: Read More).

But, how much protein do you need? There are many different formulas to calculate your daily protein requirements. The quickest way is to multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.8; to convert pounds to kilograms, divide your weight by 2.2 (e.g. 125lbs/2.2=57kg, 57kgx0.8=45.5g of protein a day). Keep in mind that this formula applies to healthy adults only. For more accurate estimation of your protein needs, schedule an appointment with a Nutrition Professional.

Protein powder is what many people turn to to supplement their daily protein needs. Although having one or two protein smoothies a day for snack can help you meet your requirements, I do not recommend it as a meal replacement. A healthy person’s GI tract needs solid foods to function properly. Liquid diets can contribute to many health problems, including gallstones.

Fortunately, there is a way to get close to 20g of lean protein without resorting to protein powder. Plain Greek yogurt may have as much protein and as little calories as two scoops of protein powder, but without all the unnecessary additives and preservatives. Yogurt is also a great source of calcium and vitamins, and healthy bacteria.

You can eat it on its own as a snack. You can have it for breakfast with oats, nuts, seeds, fruit, and honey. You can use it as a substitute for mayo through out the day. Finally, you can add it to your smoothies instead of protein powder. Just add some water or milk (either cow or plant-based), ice, and anything else you usually put into your smoothie: fruit, veggies, PB, seeds, honey etc.

For those who are lactose intolerant, try mixing Lactaid or other lactase enzyme substitute into your smoothie. But if you simply don’t like dairy, be picky with your choice of protein powder. A good rule of thumb is: if you don’t understand the ingredient list, don’t buy it. Whole Foods carries a wide selection of stripped-down animal- and plant-based protein powders.

So if you do decide to substitute plain Greek yogurt for protein powder to meet your daily protein requirement, here is a yummy tip: turn your smoothie recipe into delicious frozen yogurt – no ice cream maker necessary – by skipping water or milk and adding extra ice. Enjoy!

Image: Chobani.