It’s true: Yogurt and oatmeal are healthy superfoods. Beyond their impressive vitamin and mineral content (which includes magnesium, B-vitamins, and much more), the fiber in oatmeal and protein in yogurt is especially satisfying, so you end up eating less.
The catch is that oatmeal and yogurt can be loaded with added sugar. And, as you know, eating too much sugar is associated with weight gain and and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Brands with artificial sweetener aren’t necessarily a good alternative — research has linked artificially sweetened diet soda with weight gain.
Long story short, you need to buy the unsweetened kind. Look for brands labelled “plain” or “unsweetened,” and always check the ingredients list.
Here’s what you should see:
Ingredients for yogurt: pasteurized milk, active cultures
Ingredients for oatmeal: rolled oats or steel-cut oats
If you’re used to heavily sweetened stuff, eating it plain can be a big step for your tastebuds. So don’t eat it plain! Experiment with healthy add-ins to find flavors you love.
17 tasty things to try:
1. Swirl in a tablespoon of “all fruit” no-sugar-added jam to yogurt or oatmeal.
2. For savory oatmeal, crumble in a slice of crisp bacon.
3. Cut a small apple into bite size pieces and add to yogurt or oatmeal with a teaspoon of cinnamon. (To make oatmeal extra sweet, saute the apple and cinnamon in a non-stick skillet until apples are tender.)
4. Add 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries, raspberries or strawberries to yogurt or oatmeal.
5. Mix a tablespoon of unsweetened almond or peanut butter into yogurt or oatmeal.
6. Add a scant drop of vanilla or almond extract to oatmeal, or add a pinch (1/8th teaspoon) of vanilla bean powder — it’s powerful stuff!
7. Mix 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree into oatmeal, then sprinkle on cinnamon and allspice to taste.
8. Add 4 or 5 frozen cherries to yogurt or oatmeal. Yum.
9. Stir a tablespoon of chopped almonds and a teaspoon of cinnamon into yogurt or oatmeal.
10. Make “lemon cheesecake” yogurt by adding in 2 tablespoons of part-skim ricotta cheese and 1/4th teaspoon lemon zest (optional: top with blueberries or raspberries, slivered almonds, and flaxseed).
11. Combine a tablespoon of powdered peanut butter and a tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder. Stir into oatmeal or yogurt along with half a sliced banana. Is this breakfast or dessert?!
12. Add a teaspoon of honey, a tablespoon of chopped or slivered almonds, and ⅓ cup of berries to yogurt or oatmeal.
13. For cheesy oatmeal, stir in 1/2 cup shredded, reduced-fat cheddar and sprinkle on chopped scallions or chives.
14. Stir 2 teaspoons of dark chocolate chips into yogurt or oatmeal.
15. Add a tablespoon of chopped walnuts and just a drizzle of real maple syrup to yogurt or oatmeal.
16. Mix in ripe, diced nectarine or peaches into yogurt or oatmeal for a burst of sweetness.
17. Top oatmeal with avocado slices, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and a poached or sunny-side-up egg (optional: add a fresh herb like parsley).
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Candida J. Rebello, MS, RD, William D. Johnson, PhD, Corby K. Martin, PhD, Et al. Instant Oatmeal Increases Satiety and Reduces Energy Intake Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Oat-Based Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Trial. J Am Coll Nutr. 2016;35(1):41-9. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2015.1032442.
Paul F Jacques, Huifen Wang. Yogurt and weight management The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 99, Issue 5, 1 May 2014, Pages 1229S–1234S, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.113.073031.
A. Macdonald. A Review of Recent Evidence Relating to Sugars, Insulin Resistance and Diabetes. Eur J Nutr (2016) 55 (Suppl 2):S17–S23. DOI 10.1007/s00394-016-1340-8.
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