June is National Dairy Month. One of my favorite dairy products is yogurt.

Yogurt has probiotics, which help keep your gut healthy. Yogurt also contains calcium, potassium, and vitamin D, which are three of the four nutrients that Americans do not get enough of (the fourth being fiber).

Whether it is eating yogurt topped with fruit, using plain Greek yogurt on tacos for a lower fat option, or blending it into a smoothie, there are so many ways you can consume yogurt, other than just eating it out of the container.

Shopping for yogurt can quickly get overwhelming with all of the varieties. There are milk, low-fat and nonfat options. You will find yogurt with fruit and yogurt that is artificially and naturally flavored. You may even see some yogurts that come with sweet candy toppings that you just flip over onto the already-sweetened yogurt.

On top of these, there are now Greek yogurts, French yogurts, Icelandic yogurts, and more. What type of yogurt should you be buying?

Let’s start with milk fat content. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume three servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy per day, so choosing low-fat or nonfat yogurt is a good start.

When it comes to picking out your favorite flavor, I encourage you to buy plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with fresh berries, honey or granola. Typically when yogurts have their own fruit or flavor in them, there will be added sugars.

One important thing to note is even when you look at the Nutrition Facts Panel on plain yogurt, there are still a few grams of sugar. This is the naturally occurring sugar in milk called lactose.

Greek yogurt has become very popular, and rightly so. It has twice the protein and less sodium than traditional yogurt. You can also use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, cream cheese, or mayonnaise. Try plain Greek yogurt on your quesadillas, tacos, or chili.

You can also put Greek yogurt with mashed fresh fruit for a healthier alternative to flavored cream cheese on bagels. Finally, create a spread for sandwiches with plain Greek yogurt and dill.

Since school is out for the summer, mac and cheese will likely be more common in your home for lunch and dinner. Before you grab the box of mac and cheese on the shelf, I have included a healthier recipe for mac and cheese that uses Greek yogurt. Enjoy!

Emily McMillan is a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee stores in Rochester. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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