I don’t know about you, but I feel really good about myself when I start my day off with a bowl of yogurt. I considered my bowl of Greek yogurt as my “healthy meal” of the day, and didn’t worry about what I consumed for my other meals, because my yogurt made up for the other bad stuff I ate throughout the day! However, my scale begged to differ. I was shocked when I stepped on the scale for the first time, a few months after I began my yogurt “diet” and saw that I had gained weight! Quite a bit of it! I thought I was being healthy! However, like most foods, there is a right way and a wrong way to do yogurt. I came to the sad realization that one “good” meal a day doesn’t mean that the rest of my meals can be Happy-Meals.
While yogurt can be a great snack for weight loss due to its high protein content, here are 6 mistakes you can make while eating yogurt that can thwart your progress:
1. Not Measuring Portions- Previously, when I bought yogurt, I assumed that one container was one serving size and never thought to double-check this with the label. Even when I bought the larger containers to save money, I never stopped to check how much of it I should actually be eating per serving. Its important not to assume a serving size based on gauging portions with your eyes, especially if you’re eating from a large container. Aim for 6 ounces to 1 cup per serving size.
2. Counting Calories vs. Counting Protein- While counting calories is essential when trying to lose weight, doing so with yogurt could be misleading you. Rather than only focusing on the amount of calories per serving, make sure you’re getting around 12-15 grams of protein. For example, rather than choosing the 100 calorie yogurt with 6 grams of protein, go for the one that has more calories, but also more protein, so you feel full longer.
3. Parfait Does Not Equal Yogurt- “It has yogurt, so its healthy… right?” Not necessarily. In fact, parfaits with full-fat yogurt and lots of granola can do more harm than good. For one thing, the granola breaks up the yogurt, leading you to believe you are eating less yogurt than you actually are. Also, a lot of packaged parfaits have artificial flavors and contain fruit that is far from fresh. I know the parfait looks much more appetizing than a regular packaged yogurt, but in the long run the parfait isn’t doing your weight-loss efforts any favors.
4. Adding Too Many Extras- So you’ve got your yogurt serving size down, but are you accounting for the cereal, honey, or fruit you are adding to it? All of these things can be great, healthy additions, just make sure you are adding them in modest amounts. It’s important to clarify whether you want your yogurt to be a snack, or a full-on meal. If it’s just a snack, make sure it is 200 calories or less.
5. Using Yogurt as Your Probiotic Source- While getting your daily dose of probiotics is important, make sure you aren’t choosing a yogurt just based on its probiotic claims. There are other lower calorie and fat sources for getting your daily probiotic intake, like supplements. There is no need to start loading your diet with yogurt just to get your probiotic fill.
6. Making Fat-Free a Priority- Usually, a fat-free yogurt will overcompensate in other areas, like sugar. Yogurt is a healthy fat, however, the added sugars are not. Go for a yogurt with less than 18 grams of sugar, and make sure that it is not the first ingredient listed on the label! Overall, you want to be sure you’re getting enough protein and not too much sugar.