Monday, November 2, 2009
A healthy alternative for cheesecake lovers
I usually cringe whenever I read about healthy alternatives to decadent foods and desserts. It's always something like: "If you're really craving a brownie, try eating a rice cake with a little unsweetened cocoa sprinkled on top!" Sorry, but that's just not going to cut it for me.
Recently, however, I found a yogurt that really did beg for a comparison to cheesecake. No, it doesn't taste exactly like cheesecake, but it definitely has a lot of the same characteristics.
And it's not one of those "desserts masquerading as yogurt" either. You know what I mean...those caramel chocolatey sugar-filled mousse yogurts that have no real nutritional value. In fact, this particular yogurt has 10 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, 130 calories, 17 grams of sugar and all natural ingredients. (If you need something to compare it to, regular Yoplait has 27 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, and 170 calories, not to mention artificial flavors and colors.)
I recently began eating greek yogurt just to try something new. I'd heard good things about it, namely its thick, super-creamy texture and high protein content. I've tried a few different varieties over the past few months, but my favorite by far is FAGE Total 2% yogurt.
This yogurt is unique in that it comes with two compartments: the main compartment contains the plain flavored greek yogurt, and the little side compartment contains a fruit topping that you can mix in. It comes in strawberry, peach, honey, and cherry varieties; my personal preference is the cherry because it adds to the cheesecakeyness.
There is a trick to eating this yogurt: the key is rationing the fruit filling so that there's enough to combine with each bite of the yogurt. If you get too filling-happy on the first few bites, you'll end up with a pile of unflavored yogurt at the end, which is kind of a bummer. Oh, and I also recommend using a baby spoon because it helps you get every last bit of the fruit filling out of the small compartment.
This yogurt has become my lunchtime or afternoon treat. My favorite time to eat it is when the girls are napping, so I can sprawl out on the couch and devote my energy to getting the perfect cherry-to-yogurt ratio on each spoonful.
Look for it next time you're in the yogurt section of the grocery store. I can find it in almost all health/natural grocery stores I go to, as well as some mainstream grocery stores. If you are desperately jonesing for the double fudge snickers cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory, this probably isn't going to fulfill your craving, but if you just want a healthy snack that doesn't scream "healthy" then I definitely recommend the Fage.
PS: make sure you check the label - there's a "classic" version that has a lot more fat than the 2% kind (12 grams vs. 2.5). If you're not concerned about fat it's no biggie, but just wanted to give a heads-up to those who are.