A Q&A On Healthy Eating + Kids

PatriciaBannan

If you haven’t already heard, we’ve been hard at work on our mission to bring Greek yogurt to schools everywhere. Why, you ask? Because we believe kids deserve healthy options for lunch. We were lucky enough to have our friend Patricia Bannan, MS, RD, answer a few basic questions about healthy eating + how kids will benefit from Greek yogurt in schools. Read on and educate yourself!

1. What are some simple ways to use Chobani as a healthy swap or ingredient? 

What’s great about cooking with Chobani is it instantly adds a nutritious boost to your dish by adding protein and calcium. It’s also super versatile – you can use it as a healthy swap in almost any dish instead of cream cheese, buttermilk, sour cream, oil, butter, or mayonnaise.

For example, if you swap 1 cup sour cream for 1 cup Chobani you’ll reduce the calories by 68%. If you swap 1 cup oil for ¾ cup Chobani you’ll reduce the calories by 95%. It’s really amazing.

Chobani works great in salad dressings, sauces, dips, smoothies and parfaits, breakfast foods like waffles or oatmeal, and even desserts. One of the reasons Chobani works so well in various types of recipes is due to its thick consistency – it makes a dish taste rich and creamy without a lot of fat.

2. What are the 5 things we would always find in your refrigerator/pantry? 

You will always find in my kitchen:

1. A natural nut butter

2. Seasonal fruits and veggies (I’m a member of a farmer’s market produce delivery program so I’m always excited to see what new items I get

3. Jars of dried fruits, nuts and seeds (great for snacking or for toppings

4. Plain Greek yogurt (I like the plain because I prefer to add my own toppings or cook with it, depending on my mood

5. And a good quality dark chocolate for when I want a little something sweet!

3. How will kids benefit from eating Greek Yogurt as part of their school meals? 

I’m glad to see USDA launch the pilot program to help make Greek Yogurt more affordable for school leaders to put on their menus. Due to the high protein content of Greek Yogurt, it will likely help children be more focused in school and feel fuller, longer. Plus, offering new and tasty food options at school will encourage children to develop healthy, balanced eating habits. Kids love the taste of Greek Yogurt, too, so unlike other foods with high plate waste Greek Yogurt will be enjoyed by the students. If a nutritious food ends up in the trash, it doesn’t help anyone!

4. Would you like to see the USDA pilot program go national in schools, and why, especially for food service directors?

With the pilot program already underway during the Fall 2013 semester, I hope to see USDA expand the program to add a healthy protein choice for students across the country. Not only will Greek Yogurt be a nutritious protein source for children, it can help foodservice directors easily meet USDA meal requirements and kids love the taste. A 4 oz. cup can be served alongside fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grain side dishes to meet school meal requirements. Chobani can also be used to lower the fat, calories and sodium in fast scratch cooking. Whether it’s used as a 4oz. cup or an ingredient substitute in a chicken salad sandwich, soup, or muffin, Greek Yogurt will help improve the quality of kids’ meals without sacrificing the taste. For more information on the pilot program, visit GoGreekinSchool.com and show your support.

5. How does Greek Yogurt compare to other foods when it comes to nutritional value for both kids and adults, and is it important to look for an all natural Greek Yogurt product?

Both kid and adults can benefit from the nutrition, portability and versatility of Greek Yogurt. Greek Yogurt has more protein per serving than regular yogurt, and it’s a good source of calcium. It’s hard to find a portable snack that’s high in protein, and Greek Yogurt fits the bill.

When choosing a yogurt, it is important to look for authentic strained Greek Yogurt, like Chobani, because it provides more of the daily value of protein than regular, unstrained yogurt and is also thicker and creamier. Unlike some “Greek-style” yogurts, Chobani does not use ingredients like milk protein concentrate or animal-based thickeners, which create an imitation thickness and high protein content. Chobani is also free of artificial sweeteners, flavors and preservatives, which I try to avoid whenever possible.