Smoothies have become an increasingly popular way to get a nutritious breakfast or snack on the go. Many smoothie recipes call for yogurt as one of the main ingredients. But is adding yogurt to your smoothies actually healthy? Let’s take a closer look at the potential benefits and downsides of putting yogurt in smoothies.
Potential Benefits of Yogurt in Smoothies
There are several reasons why yogurt can be a nutritious addition to smoothies:
- Protein – Yogurt is a great source of protein. Just one cup of plain yogurt can provide around 15 grams of protein. This helps make a smoothie more satiating.
- Probiotics – Yogurt contains live active cultures known as probiotics. Probiotics support digestive and immune system health.
- Bone health – The calcium and vitamin D in yogurt promotes strong, healthy bones.
- Weight control – Eating yogurt as part of a reduced calorie diet may help with weight management.
So yogurt provides protein, probiotics, important vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients that make it a healthy ingredient for smoothies.
Potential Downsides of Yogurt in Smoothies
However, there are some potential cons to adding yogurt to smoothies that should be considered:
- Added sugar – Flavored yogurts often contain lots of added sugars. Too much added sugar is unhealthy.
- Lactose – Those with lactose intolerance may experience gas, bloating, or other digestion issues from the lactose in yogurt.
- Lower nutrient density – Ounce for ounce, yogurt is lower in nutrients compared to some other smoothie ingredients like leafy greens or fresh fruits.
- Less filling – Although yogurt contains protein, it may not be as satiating or keep you full as long as whole foods like oats or chia seeds.
So while yogurt does have some nutritional upsides, the added sugars, lactose content, and lower nutrient density compared to other whole foods are downsides to keep in mind.
Tips for Adding Yogurt to Smoothies
If you want to add yogurt to your smoothies, here are some tips to make it as healthy as possible:
- Choose plain, unsweetened yogurt – This avoids added sugars found in flavored yogurts.
- Use Greek yogurt – It contains more protein than regular yogurt with less lactose.
- Pair with nutritious ingredients – Combine yogurt with fruits, veggies, seeds, oats, etc. for more nutrients.
- Limit to 1/4 to 1/2 cup per smoothie – You don’t need much to benefit from the thickness and creaminess.
- Consider alternatives – Cottage cheese, avocado, and silken tofu can also make smoothies creamy.
Nutrition Comparison of Yogurt vs. Other Common Smoothie Ingredients
Here is a nutrition comparison of 1 cup plain yogurt versus 1 cup of some other ingredients often used in smoothies:
|Ingredient||Calories||Protein (g)||Fat (g)||Carbs (g)||Sugar (g)||Fiber (g)|
As you can see, while yogurt provides protein, other smoothie ingredients like kale, bananas, berries, chia seeds, and oats also offer valuable nutrients. Combining yogurt with these ingredients can lead to an especially nutritious smoothie.
Sample Greek Yogurt Smoothie Recipes
Here are a few tasty smoothie recipes that use Greek yogurt:
Strawberry Banana Yogurt Smoothie
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 medium banana
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 1 tbsp honey or agave (optional)
- 3-5 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients until smooth. The Greek yogurt gives a thick, creamy texture while the fruit adds sweetness.
Berry Yogurt Smoothie Bowl
- 1 cup mixed berries
- 1 small banana
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- Toppings: Granola, chopped nuts, coconut, berries
Blend the berries, banana, yogurt, and orange juice until thick and creamy. Pour into a bowl and add your favorite toppings.
Green Yogurt Smoothie
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1/2 medium banana
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 cup coconut water
Blend all ingredients together for a refreshing, tangy green smoothie. The yogurt adds creaminess while the flaxseed gives a nutritional boost.
The Bottom Line
Yogurt can add protein, probiotics, vitamins, and thickness to smoothies. However, flavored yogurts often have a lot of added sugar. For best results, choose plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt. Pair it with fiber-rich fruits, veggies, seeds, oats, or other wholesome ingredients. While yogurt can be part of a healthy smoothie, it works best when combined with other nutritious whole foods.
So are smoothies with yogurt healthy? In moderation and when made smartly, yogurt can be a nutritious addition to smoothies. Just be mindful of recipes with added sugars or yogurt as the primary ingredient. Balancing it out with plenty of whole foods results in a tasty, satisfying, and good-for-you smoothie.