Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Voskos Greek Yogurt has great tips for eating healthy and outstanding recipes that feature our popular variety of greek yogurts.

Did You Know? Chocolate is Good for You!

This is one piece of advice that we’re happy to give: chocolate is good for you! Not all chocolate, and moderation is key, but dark, 70 percent cacao or higher chocolate (as well as unsweetened cocoa), has been shown in study after study to be healthy.

Chocolate is Good for Your Heart

Since February is heart health month, it’s worth noting that daily chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in some high-risk patients, according to a 2012 study in the journal BMJ.

Cocoa also has outstanding vascular health and cancer fighting properties, due to the phytochemicals used in the chocolate production process, according to resent findings. These chemicals may improve blood circulatory function such as blood vessel health, slow blood clotting and improve insulin resistance.

The secret behind chocolate’s powerful health benefits is cacao, which is packed with flavonoids and theobromine. But cacao on its own is bitter and chalky, so milk and sugar are typically added to maked it more palatable. When recommending chocolate, we’re not talking about processed, junky candy bars, or even milk chocolate. We’re talking about the pure stuff – as pure as possible (some 90% bars are excellent), and no chocolate binges please! An ounce a day is perfect.

Why Chocolate on Valentine’s Day?

Our love for chocolate goes back much further than Valentine’s Day treats. The Aztec’s referred to chocolate as “the food of the gods”. As a Valentine’s Day tie-in, the Aztec ruler, Montezuma, believed chocolate was an aphrodisiac. Christopher Columbus enjoyed this ancient American When chocolate first made it to Europe, it was a luxury product only enjoyed by the wealthy aristocrats. Later on, production efficiencies made it more affordable for the rest of the population by companies like Cadbury in England and Hershey in the U.S. The heart-shaped box of chocolates was an idea Richard Cadbury introduced in 1861. Now it’s a delicious Valentine’s Day favorite!

Chocolaty Recipes

If you’re looking for a recipe to make for Valentine’s Day, look no further – we have a wonderful chocolate cake recipe for you: a rich, moist chocolate cake with a hint of raspberry, made with unsweetened cocoa and raspberry Greek yogurt. Decadent AND healthy – just the way we like it. Happy Valentine’s Day!

5 Superfoods for a Heart-Healthy Diet

February is Heart Health Month and a great time to refocus on one of the most important things we can do for ourselves – keeping our hearts as healthy as possible. Fortunately, when it comes to heart health, diet plays a major role, which is indeed good news, because it means that we actually have control over our heart’s health.

What is a Heart-Healthy Diet?

Generally, a heart-healthy diet is a diet that helps you lose weight, and lower your “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Regardless of specific foods, try to always choose whole, natural foods and avoid processed foods as much as you can. Processed foods often contain trans fats, which are extremely damaging to the heart; they also often contain cheap, potentially rancid vegetable oils, too much sugar, too much salt, and preservatives. None of that is good news for your heart, and being so palatable, these foods are also more likely to cause you to overeat. Our advice? Don’t keep them in the house, and you won’t be tempted.

Heart-Healthy Foods

Here are five superfoods that are especially potent when it comes to protecting your heart:

1. Wild-caught cold water fish. Whether it’s salmon, herring or sardines, cold-water fish contain omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of abnormal heartbeats, decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of plaque, and lower blood pressure.

Remember that due to mercury content found in fish, they should be eaten in moderation.

2. Dairy. For years, we’ve been told that saturated fats are unhealthy. But newer research shows that dairy fat can reduce the risk of heart attack. Dairy foods, such as Greek yogurt (LINK to Voskos homepage) contain a number of potentially beneficial substances, such as calcium, vitamin D, and potassium, noted the researchers. They have also been shown to increase people’s levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

3. Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts. These contain plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin E, magnesium and folate. A handful is all it takes – nuts are very calorie-dense, but a small amount will keep you satiated for a long time, thanks to their healthy fat content.

4. Red wine. We’ve all heard about the French Paradox, and it seems to be at least partly explained by the French high consumption of red wine.  Red wine contains flavonoids, which can improve “good” HDL cholesterol. Obviously, you don’t want to overdo it with wine – a 5oz glass with dinner each night is just right.

5. Berries, especially blueberries. Berries are loaded with potent antioxidants, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber. How wonderful it is that these tasty little treats are also so very heart healthy!

The list above highlights just a few of the heart-healthy foods that we should all incorporate into our diets. There are many more (fresh vegetables, for example!), but the above list, and staying away from junk foods, is a good place to start.



5 Easy and Filling Snack Ideas that Won’t Break The Diet

We’ve all been there – the midmorning slump that sends us straight to the vending machine, or that annoying afternoon exhaustion that can only be relieved, it seems, with a Grande Latte and a Snickers Bar.

Snacking is fine – in fact, many nutritionists say that five or six small meals a day are better for most of us than the traditional three square meals. Eating smaller meals more often should help you avoid the food coma typical to large meals, is easier on the digestive system, and helps provide you with steady levels of energy throughout the day. That is, as long as your snacks are sensible!

High Protein/High Fiber Snacks are the Best!
The best snacks are around 200 calories – not so small that they won’t satisfy, and not so large that they’ll cause you to break your diet; and they combine a protein and a healthy fat, to help you stay fuller for longer. The worst snacks, obviously, are sugary, empty-calorie-type snacks. Those will provide energy in the short term, but they tend to be high in calories and will send your blood sugar into a nasty roller coaster.

So ditch that Snickers Bar (it’s a yummy occasional treat but not a great everyday snack) and let’s look at a few ideas for snacks that are healthy, filling, and won’t break your diet.

1. An ounce of cubed sharp cheddar and a medium apple. This filling snack provides you with about 180 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein and 10 grams of fat (6g saturated). Bonus: you’ll also get 20% of your daily calcium needs.

2. A cup of plain nonfat VOSKOS® Greek yogurt, mixed with a tablespoon of softened creamy peanut butter. This 190-calorie snack contains 22 grams of protein and 20% of your daily calcium requirement.

3. A hardboiled egg, 10 large baby carrots and 1/4 cup dip made with VOSKOS nonfat plain Greek yogurt. This healthy snack contains 160 filling calories and provides you with 12 grams of protein and 450% of your vitamin A requirements.

4. Apple slices are extra yummy when dipped into vanilla or honey flavored VOSKOS® and sprinkled with cinnamon. This 211-calorie snack contains 16 grams of protein and 20% of your daily calcium needs.

5. Ants on a log aren’t just for kids! Spread a tablespoon of almond butter on 1/2 cup of celery strips, and dot the almond butter with 2 tablespoons of raisins. This 150-calorie snack will keep you satiated, thanks to the combination of healthy fat from the almond butter and fiber from the celery.

The best way to make sure your snacks are healthy and nutritious is to plan ahead. Don’t wait until the next snack attack! Fill your fridge with pre-portioned healthy snacks and stay full without breaking your diet or succumbing to the vending machine.

Kick-Start Your Diet With Protein In The Morning

You know that “healthy” breakfast that leaves you RAVENOUS by 10:30am? Yes, we’re talking about that yummy cereal. Even the whole-grain one converts into sugar almost immediately in your body, as do the granola bar and the breakfast cookies.

These high-carb breakfasts are delicious, but they do not fill you up. Like anything high in carbohydrates, they cause fluctuations in blood sugar that can leave you exhausted and hungry mid-morning, hours before lunch.

Choose a Healthy Breakfast Over a Sugary Breakfast
Too many of us deal with these blood sugar lows by reaching for yet more sugar – grabbing a candy bar from the vending machine (worst case scenario), or even having a piece of fruit – a much better option, but fruit are still high in sugar, which means more of that sugar roller coaster going on in your body.

If you’re tired of the sugar roller coaster and the endless cravings, and would like to try something new, we have one word for you: protein. A breakfast high in protein will not just keep you fuller for longer and help you avoid dips in blood sugar levels – it can also help kick start your weight loss, because while a high-carb meal raises your insulin levels, and insulin is a fat storage hormone, a high-protein meal won’t have the same insulin-raising effect.

High-Protein Breakfast Ideas
So what can you have for breakfast that’s high in protein and yummy? A cup of thick, creamy Greek yogurt is ideal – even better if you add a handful of nuts, because the combination of the protein in the yogurt and the healthy fat found in nuts is extra satiating.

Eggs are another great option for a protein-rich breakfast. These baked egg and bacon muffins can be prepared in advance and quickly reheated in the microwave, providing you with 16 grams of yummy protein per muffin.

If you find it difficult to give up classic breakfast foods, try high-protein versions of them. For example, two of these Greek yogurt banana pancakes will provide you with 10 grams of protein and just 200 calories.

Replacing the typical high-carb breakfast with a more substantial and filling protein-rich breakfast will leave you satiated, curb cravings, and will likely eliminate the need for a midmorning snack. If you do feel that you need something to tide you over until lunchtime, have more protein – a cup of yogurt, a hardboiled egg or an ounce of cheddar. It’s fine to add a piece of fruit too, but be sure to mitigate the effects of the fructose by adding protein to each of your meals and snacks.

3 Favorite Healthy Holiday Dessert Recipes

It can be so easy to splurge during the holidays, especially when it comes to desserts! You can save on precious holiday calories by preparing healthier versions of your favorite holiday sweets with VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt. Did you know that most of the VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt products are fat free? This makes it a delicious, and health-conscious addition to your favorite recipes. Check out our 3 favorite healthier holiday dessert recipes this season. You’ll be able to enjoy yourself without that extra guilt that comes after the holidays.

Greek Yogurt Vanilla Cupcakes – Bring these delicious cupcakes to family gatherings or your office potluck and you will be very popular! These tasty cupcakes are made with whole-wheat flour and VOSKOS® Vanilla Greek Yogurt. They offer plenty of sweet, delectable flavor and have only 5.6 g of fat per cupcake thanks in part to the fat free yogurt. Decorate with red and green sprinkles, and your holiday dessert creation is done!

VOSKOS® Pumpkin Cheesecake – Let’s face it, anything pumpkin-flavored during the holidays is always a huge hit and our recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake does not disappoint. All you need is a pre-made pie crust (or you can even use individual molds), nonfat cream cheese, VOSKOS® Plain Greek Yogurt and canned pumpkin pie filling. This cheesecake is incredibly easy to make and weighs in at only 152 calories per serving.

Honey-Pumpkin French Toast – If you are planning a Christmas brunch or traditionally make a special Christmas breakfast, then this Honey-Pumpkin French Toast is the perfect thing. This recipe is so rich in flavor and wonderfully sweet it’s like dessert for breakfast–without the hefty calories. It’s also very simple to make, all you need is a ½ cup of nonfat VOSKOS® Honey Greek Yogurt, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons honey and pumpkin pie spice—that’s it! All you have to do is mix the ingredients and make as you would regular French toast. Rich honey and spiced pumpkin make the perfect holiday flavor pair.

With these desserts, you don’t have to miss out on all of the holiday food and fun—we’ve taken the hard work out of eating healthy. Your family and friends will love the sweet-tasting decadence of these healthier holiday versions, and so will you. Happy holidays from our kitchen to yours!

45 Ways to Use Leftover Turkey

Many thanks to our wonderful Facebook fans for coming up with these yummy ideas for using – and enjoying – leftover turkey!

1. We have turkey sandwiches with the leftover sides for dinner, but for breakfast and lunch, it’s back to eating healthy.

2. Old school turkey sandwiches – just meat, bun and cheese.

3. Sliced chunk sized turkey meat with a side of plain Voskos Greek Yogurt mixed with a good spicy Dijon mustard.

4. Cranberry Sauce, turkey and brie cheese on gluten-free bread.

5. I love to make turkey noodle soup.

6. I’ll make soup but today just snaking on it cold!

7. I made a Turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce in it and it was Delicious!

8. Freeze it for turkey casserole next week (avoid turkey burn out).

9. I love to make turkey soup with leftover turkey and fresh veggies, plus brown rice or noodles. Delicious!

10. Turkey sandwich and a slice of pie while decorating the Christmas tree!

11. Simple: heat it up and make a burrito out of it!

12. I like to make turkey wrapped into a spinach wrap with zucchini.

13. Minced turkey with mixed vegetables casserole.

14. Turkey meat tacos–fix it yourself “taco bar” – I pan grill authentic mexican corn tortillas with all the trimmings, fresh cilantro, onion, cheese, salsa, red bell peppers, black beans, corn and we use Voskos Greek yogurt instead of sour cream! So yummy and refreshing after the previous day’s heavier fare.

15. My favorite way to enjoy leftover turkey is by making Ground Turkey and Quinoa Patties with Mint, Cumin, and Voskos Greek Yogurt . So flavorful and packed with protein. It is very possible to eat yummy food this time of year and still stay healthy.

16. A yummy Cranberry and Turkey Casserole made with Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing, and Mashed Potato, Mozzarella Cheese and Plain Yogurt!

17. I make turkey stacked with stuffing and topped with gravy and put between 2 slices of bread. It’s the best for turkey leftovers.

18. I like having a whole second thanksgiving meal. Just one meal of turkey and delicious sides is not enough!

19. Turkey, wine and ham creamy mushroom pie.

20. My absolute favorite way to enjoy leftover turkey is a plain cold turkey sandwich with mayo. I’ve enjoyed this ever since I was a little kid. I actually look forward to that most of all.

21. Leftover turkey on toasted sourdough bread, provolone cheese, (a little but of) spicy brown mustard, lettuce, spinach, avocado, sea salt, & fresh ground pepper. With a side of homemade potato chips.

22. Turkey with Dijon mustard and mayo sauce on sourdough bread.

23. Turkey pot pie and turkey tetrazzini …or instead of homemade chicken and dumplings, I make turkey dumplings.

24. Turkey omelette with lots of cheese for breakfast, and turkey sandwiches for dinner! That’s about all the turkey we can handle after that!

25. Hummus, pineapple, and turkey wrap.

26. Turkey and gravy over biscuits.

27. I make a turkey bowl – turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, green beans and gravy – mix it all together.

28. Turkey salad using Voskos Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise . Tasty! High in protein!

29. This year, I’m making individual Turkey-n-The-Kitchen-Sink-Wellingtons: puff pastry wrapped around diced turkey, leftover roasted Brussels sprouts, sausage stuffing, and gravy.

30. I like to mix Voskos plain yogurt with left over cranberry sauce and use it as a dip for my turkey.

31. The absolute best way to enjoy leftover turkey is turkey noodle soup with grilled cheese.

32. Leftover Turkey Chili.

33. I had a Turkey Holiday Hash served over Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Smashed Potatoes with a Fried Egg on top!

34. Turkey and bacon club sandwiches.

35. Turkey and stuffing enchiladas!

36. I chop up the left overs and mix it with some plain Voskos Greek yogurt, add in chopped celery, chopped apple, and a little curry powder. Then I’ll put the turkey salad on some of the left over sour dough dinner rolls (I live near San Francisco so sour dough is the way to go!) with some cranberry sauce. Delicious!

37. We deep fried our turkey this year since we’ve had it previous years and it honestly is the best way to get a juicy, flavorful turkey! My favorite way to enjoy leftover turkey is for breakfast and make a couple of over easy eggs, then lay it on top of the turkey and stuffing with a small side of our maple glazed ham. Nothing like breaking open those yolks like gravy! Paired with a nice hot cup coffee, yummers!

38. I have a recipe for a salad that calls for cubed turkey, dried cranberries, goat cheese and pistachios. It’s a healthy meal to follow a not-so-light Thanksgiving meal.

39. We take the bits & pieces of the turkey left and make a Mediterranean Turkey burger in a pita.

40. Chop it, add egg, roll in panko bread crumb, pat out in burger, bake and top with a salsa and Voskos, ENJOY!

41. Turkey noodle casserole with cheese.

42. Pulled Turkey and cranberry BBQ sandwich.

43. Turkey and bean burrito w/homemade fresh blended salsa.

44. Scrambled egg, left over turkey, slice of pepper jack cheese and a little mayo on whole wheat bread.

45. I like to spice things up & make turkey and pepperjack cheese quesadillas in my quesadilla maker! I sauté’ peppers & onions and add them to the quesadilla before grilling. Then I make the dip! I add chipolte seasoning to plain Voskos Greek Yogurt (instead of sour cream) to make a great dip for the quesadillas!

10 Healthy Sandwich Ideas

In our last blog post, we featured healthy lunch ideas, and said that there’s really nothing wrong with having a sandwich for lunch – you just need to make sure it’s a healthy sandwich, and – to avoid boredom – prepare something more interesting than the all-favorite peanut butter and jelly.

To make your sandwich healthy, start by avoiding spongy white bread and choose whole-wheat or sourdough bread. While sweet spreads such as jam and Nutella are tasty, they are not very nutritious, so it’s best to minimize their consumption. Here are a few ideas for delicious, filling, healthy sandwiches:

  1. Egg salad sandwich. A substantial, filling sandwich – in fact, it is filling enough to serve as a dinner on your meatless nights.
  2. Whole-wheat bread spread with a generous amount of hummus, and filled with thinly sliced cucumbers.
  3. Turkey sandwich with yogurt spread – the delicious yogurt spread is made with VOSKOS®, sun dried tomatoes, Parmesan and seasonings.
  4. Whole wheat pita pockets filled with grilled chicken breast, grilled eggplant slices, tomato slices, and feta cheese.
  5. Whole wheat bread, spread with almond butter and filled with banana slices.
  6. Sourdough bread, spread with Dijon mustard and filled with roast beef, sharp cheddar and red pepper slices.
  7. Sourdough bread with pesto sauce, grilled chicken and tomato slices.
  8. Whole-wheat wrap, filled with a mixture of mashed white beans mixed with guacamole and grated sharp cheddar.
  9. Artichoke and egg spread sandwich – a nice alternative to a traditional egg salad sandwich.
  10. Leftover meatloaf sandwich – whole wheat bread with Dijon mustard, thinly sliced meatloaf and pickles.

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional peanut-butter-and-jelly or cheese-and-ham. But it’s always nice to have alternatives. Remember that leftovers make wonderful sandwich fillings, and this includes meatballs, baked or grilled chicken, even baked salmon (great with Greek yogurt and scallions). Just wrap the sandwich well in cling wrap, and pack it with a cold pack so that it stays fresh.

10 Ideas for a Better Lunch Box

I used to pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my kids’ lunch boxes every single day. It was easy; they liked it; and I thought it was healthy. Research over the past couple of years has taught me that the quintessential American lunch box staple is not exactly healthy. Peanuts might contain carcinogens, jelly is basically sugar, and white bread isn’t much better – it’s quickly converted into sugar in the body.

But if peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are not the best option, what is? Here are a few ideas for a better lunch box:

1. Leftovers. Leftovers from last night’s dinner are an easy solution for today’s lunch. A fun way to transform leftovers is to dice some leftover meat and veggies and quickly fry them with leftover rice.

2. Greek yogurt. VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt, plain or flavored is wonderful either as part of lunch, or, if you need to pack a separate snack for your child (both my kids have a snack at 10am and lunch as 12pm), VOSKOS® is the perfect snack – delicious, filling, and high in protein.

3. Ants on a log, made with celery, almond butter and raisins, or with cream cheese and raisins (yes, it’s a yummy combination!)

4. Oatmeal and apple muffins – each of these delicious muffins contains 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein!

5. Tuna salad pockets. A refreshing change from sandwiches, these tasty, filling tuna pita pockets contain 30 grams of protein in each serving.

6. Greek yogurt breakfast quiche. Quiches are tasty at room temperature, so go ahead and pack a slice of this greek yogurt quiche in your child’s lunch box. Each slice contains 10 grams of protein.

7. Cheese cubes and fruit. Mozzarella sticks are easy, but cubed sharp cheddar is tastier. Forego the “cheese cubes and pretzels” combo and instead, pack the cheese with some grapes or dried fruit. The sweet-salty combination is wonderful.

8. Hardboiled eggs. Hardboiled eggs are healthy, delicious and filling. One of my kids likes them simply salted. For her sister, I spread them with a little spicy mustard or guacamole.

9. Vegetables and fruit. This goes without saying – every lunch box should contain a veggie and a fruit. Celery and carrot sticks with Greek yogurt ranch dressing or hummus for dipping are excellent; in the summer, try packing frozen grapes. In the winter, I often pack apple slices – dip them in orange juice to prevent browning.

10. Whole wheat or sourdough sandwiches. Obviously, sandwiches ARE a convenient lunchbox solution. Try to use whole wheat bread or sourdough bread with no sugar or preservatives, both a healthier option than processed white bread. Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we will feature a list of healthy sandwich ideas!