Combination Cups Are the Answer To All Your Plant-Based Yogurt Woes

Say "goodbye" to flavorless snack food!

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Photo by: Min Kwon ©2015,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Min Kwon, 2015,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The biggest factors in your old school yogurt decision making process used to be regular or Greek? Nowadays options span far beyond cow’s milk or even soy milk. With seemingly endless dairy-free options — there's everything from almond milk yogurt to combination types — there’s something for every yogurt lover, plus ample opportunities to get some important nutrients in your daily diet. But what you should actually be looking for in the now endless yogurt aisle? See what a registered dietitian has to say.

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First of All, What Is Yogurt?

Traditional cow’s milk yogurt contains milk, beneficial bacteria and cultures (aka probiotics) and depending on the flavor, various add-ins like sugar, fruit and spices. Many commercial prepared yogurts also contain thickeners or stabilizers to help provide a creamy texture. Milk is heated and cooled and mingled with those good bacteria. The happy couple are left to ferment giving yogurt that unmistakable tang.

So This Plant-Based Stuff Is ... What Exactly?

When trying to recreate yogurt out of something other than milk there can be some challenges. Probiotics can be added, but the yogurt-like mixture may never reach the same level of thickness. To make matters worse, some these alternate yogurts have been known to fall flat in the flavor department.

Gross. Tell Me the Good News.

The newest answer to the taste and texture dilemma seems to be blending various combos of nondairy milks together to achieve yogurt-like greatness. Taking a page from the recipe books of non-dairy milks out there, several companies are offering blended combinations of various plant-based milks such as Almond Breeze Almond Coconut Blend and Veggemo’s veggie milk made form pea, tapioca and potato! All this variation lends itself to a wide range of nutrients that these beverages contain. One area of weakness in many cases is a lower protein content compared to what’s found in yogurt or soy milk. This is not a reason to skip these options but it’s a little-known fact that consumers should consider when assessing their protein intake. And unlike some other type of similar fortified products, there is no calcium or vitamin D added so check labels and seek out these important nutrients from other foods.

Want to get in on the newest non-dairy yogurt alternative trend? Take these three for a test drive.

Forager Project’s Coconut Cashewgurt comes in four flavors and uses a blend of cashewmilk, coconut milk and coconut cream along with cane sugar, fruit and tapioca starch 120 cals per serving.

Califia’s Prebiotic Yogurt Drinks feature a combo of almond and coconut milks infused with live active cultures in 3 flavors with 150 calories per serving. Oat fiber helps with texture and pectin and gellan gum help provide a thicker consistency.

With main ingredients including pili nuts, plantain, coconut and cassava root, Lavva may be the most diverse plant based option. For 170 calories per serving you can enjoy 7 flavors including vanilla, raspberry and pineapple.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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