Greek Yogurt vs Regular Yogurt – What’s the Difference?

Most of us have likely tried the creamy smooth texture of Greek yogurt and wondered hey is this better for me than the regular yogurt I’ve been eating for years? Greek yogurt’s popularity has been on the rise over the last little while and you may wonder what all this fuss is about. My big question was is one more nutritious than the other?

From a production perspective, all yogurt comes from milk that has had healthy bacteria added, causing it to ferment. Yogurt is then strained through a cheesecloth, which allows the liquid whey part of milk to drain off. Regular yogurt is strained twice, while Greek yogurt is strained three times to remove more whey.

While all yogurt provides numerous health benefits the nutritional stats for Greek yogurt and regular yogurt do differ. Here’s how the two stack up:

Protein – Greek yogurt has almost double the protein of regular yogurt. Eight ounces of Greek yogurt has about 20 grams of protein, whereas regular yogurt provides around 11-13 grams.

Carbohydrates – Greek yogurt has fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. This could be beneficial to diabetics, who have to watch their carbohydrate intake.

Calcium – Regular yogurt has about three times the calcium of Greek yogurt. Both are still considered good sources of calcium, but women who don’t get enough calcium from other foods may want to stick to regular yogurt for its bone-building benefits.

Texture – Greek yogurt is much thicker and creamier than regular yogurt because it’s strained more. Greek yogurt can also be used in cooking as it does not curdle when heated like regular yogurt

As both are a nutritious snack especially topped with granola and fruit – choose one which best suits your taste buds and your nutritional needs.

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Summer Time Breakfast On the Go!

When the sun is shining and the kids are ready to play breakfast should be quick and easy for moms and dads to get the kids out the door. Having these items prepared and ready for the kids to grab and go can make breakfast a breeze.

Having items pre-packed and ready to go is key!

1. Single-serving bowls or baggies of whole-grain cereal are packed with vitamins and minerals.

2. Pair string cheese with whole wheat crackers.

3. Hard-boil several eggs to have on hand for the kids to grab and go.

4. Small cartons of low-fat yogurt are a good combination of carbohydrates and protein/have small containers of pre-cut fruit on hand to stir in for added nutrition.

5. Whole-grain English muffins can serve as a base for a breakfast sandwich. Spread on peanut butter, a source of satisfying protein and heart-healthy fats.

With kids getting more active on those long summer days it’s important for them to start their day right and have snacks on hand throughout the day to keep their energy up!  Be sure to keep them hydrated on those hot sunny days as well!


Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Oatmeal – A Healthy Way to Kick Start Your Day!

Nothing says “good morning” like a warm bowl of oatmeal. Whether slowly cooked and creamy or blended with fresh fruit in a smoothie, oats provide your body with many benefits. If you’re not eating oatmeal for breakfast, you’re missing out on a delicious way to add fiber and nutrients to your body first thing in the morning.

Oatmeal is a whole grain, and eating whole grains can lower your risk for several diseases, including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Oatmeal also contains lignans, a plant chemical that has been found to prevent heart disease. The food label on your package of oats should list one ingredient: whole grain oats.

To make sure you include at least three of the four food groups for your breakfast – top your oatmeal with fresh or frozen berries and enjoy a glass of milk on the side! Check out this delicious homemade oatmeal recipe I discovered – Mmmmm!

Warm Banana Bread Oatmeal

Yields 2 servings

1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup (about 1 1/2) overripe bananas, mashed (you can slice the leftover 1/2 banana and use for garnish)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup quick oats
2 teaspoons brown sugar

In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk, mashed bananas, and spices. Heat the mixture on medium heat. When it starts to boil, add the rolled oats and cook for 5 minutes, stirring ocassionally, or until the oats are soft and the liquid has been absorbed.

Pour into a bowl, top each serving with a teaspoon of brown sugar, slices of banana, and enjoy your nice, hot, nutritious breakfast.

Information and Recipe adapted from: &

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Cost Saving Ideas for your Breakfast Club and Beyond

Kids Eat Smart Foundation knows that nutritious foods are often costly so when shopping for your KES Clubs and for your family use these tips to make your dollars go farther!

My best plan of attack during the weekly shopping trip is make a list, make a list, make a list. Often on Sunday’s I’ll scan the flyers have a look at the sales and plan my weekly menu based on the sales. I like to get the most bang for my buck when creating my menu – use the tips below when planning your next trip.

Plan Your Budget

Make a list of what food you will need before you go shopping and stick to it.  If you start buying things that are not on your list you will probably go over budget.

Use Coupons & Flyers

Look for specials in flyers and use coupons to get the best deals.  For example, if bread is on sale buy extra loaves and freeze them.  Don’t buy perishable items in larger quantities than you need unless you have an appropriate storage space to keep them.

Portion Foods

Portion foods into smaller, bite-size pieces.  If you cut fruit into segments, students are more likely to take a piece.  Portioning foods often reduces waste as people can choose how much they want more easily.

Buy Local

Buy local foods whenever possible.  Not only are items like fruits and vegetables cheaper and fresher, you’ll be supporting your local community!

Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk can be a lot cheaper in the long run.  Only buy in bulk when you are going to use the food before it expires

Compare Prices

Shop around and compare prices.  Grocery store brands are often cheaper than big brands, even when big brands are on sale, and are virtually the same products.

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Getting the most out of Balanced Meals

I attended the PGI Children’s Literacy Festival 2013 at the College of the North Atlantic yesterday and met with some 600 school aged kids throughout the day! Some of the schools in attendance included: Hazelwood elementary, Virginia park elementary, St. Andrew’s Elementary, and Bishop Abraham.  Although the kids were young in age between 7-9, I was excited to hear how much they already knew about eating healthy and Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide

I chatted with the kids about the importance of balanced meals and snacks throughout the day as well as went over the Food Guide. Then as a group we worked together to come up with a balanced meal for breakfast and lunch. Did you know that if we include fruits and vegetables with each and every snack and meal it’s a little easier to attain those recommended servings from the Food Guide?

It’s important to have balanced meals throughout the day to ensure we are eating a variety of foods and getting the required nutrients we need. Balanced meals should include foods from all four food groups: Fruits and Vegetables, Grains, Milk and Alternatives, and Meat an Alternatives. Balanced snacks should include foods from at least two of the four Food Groups. Please refer to Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide for your recommended servings per day for your specific age group – you might be surprised to see if you’re meeting the recommendation servings or not.

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Five make-ahead Breakfasts

Most times the thing that might fall of the morning routine first when we are in a time crunch is breakfast. Beat the morning rush by making these nutritious breakfast foods ahead of time and freezing them. Then on a busy morning, just reheat and eat.

•French toast – Use whole grain bread to make several slices of French toast. Freeze them and reheat it when you need it. Spread some applesauce, or top with yogurt, blueberries or canned peaches.

•Whole grain pancakes – Serve with fresh or frozen berries, 100% juice & yogurt.

•Homemade whole grain muffins – Enjoy with an apple, a piece of cheese, and a glass of milk.

•Quinoa, brown rice or steel cut oats – Make extra grains (which can take a long time to cook) and freeze into single serving sizes. Then reheat it in the microwave and enjoy with some milk, dried fruit and nuts.

•Breakfast burritos – Wrap scrambled eggs in a whole grain tortilla with shredded cheese and diced tomatoes (without the juice). Wrap in foil and freeze. Remove the foil before microwaving and simply heat when you’re ready to eat. Switch it up with other toppings such as red or green peppers, sautéed mushrooms, baby spinach, or green onions. Make sure to drain any liquid from the cooked vegetables so that the tortilla shell doesn’t get soggy.

Enjoy these healthy breakfast choices either at home or at work for a well balanced way to start the day!

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Margarine or Butter?

For the most part, most people have veared away from butter in recent decades and have switched to margarine. As a Dietitian, I often get the question how come margarine and not butter?

This is my  explanation: Margarine is made from vegetable oils, so it contains no cholesterol.  These types of fats help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol when substituted for saturated fat. Butter, on the other hand, is made from animal fat, so it contains cholesterol and high levels of saturated fat. Trans fat, like saturated fat, increases blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. In addition, trans fat lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol levels
In addition margarine is also higher in “good” fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated — than butter is. It also important to note that, not all margarines are created equal. Some margarines contain trans fat. In general, the more solid the margarine, the more trans fat it contains.

As from my previous post Tackling the Nutrition Facts Table look for a spread with the lowest calories that tastes good to you, doesn’t have trans fats and has the least amount of saturated fat. When comparing spreads, be sure to read the label and check the grams of saturated fat and trans fat. Also, look for products with a low percent Daily Value for cholesterol.

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

A Healthy Summer Treat for the Kids

popsicleWith summer struggling to make it’s way through I thought I would push it along a little with a refreshing summer snack for the kiddies! A perfect snack to help cool down the kids on those hot summer days which includes a serving or two of fruit as well. Get the kids involved in making them the night before to get them excited about the snack.

Healthy Fruit Filled Frozen Treat


  • 3 cups watermelon puree (seedless if possible)
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  •  1 peach or nectarine, diced small
  • handful fresh cherries, pitted and chopped


Cut the watermelon into chunks and then puree it in a blender until smooth. Set aside.

Set out about 1 dozen popsicle molds (amount needed will vary depending on size of molds). Fill each one with the chopped fresh fruit. Then pour in the watermelon puree until each mold is full to the top. Place a popsicle stick into each one. Place into your freezer and freeze for about 6 to 8 hours.

When ready to serve, run the popsicle molds under warm water for a few seconds and then pull each one out.

You can use whatever fruit you have on hand to make a colorful frozen treat.

Adapted from: www.dashrecipes .com

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Tackling the Nutrition Facts Table

Sometimes people feel overwhelmed when trying to decide which product is better for them than another. I think the most overwhelming of them all would be the cereal aisle. I often get questions about which cereal is best. The key to this answer is knowing how to read those Nutrition Facts tables that some people dread so much. This facts table can give you all the information your need to decide on which cereal is best. Use the amount of food and the % Daily Value (% DV) to choose healthier food products.

Follow these three steps:

1. Look at the amount of food
Nutrition Facts are based on a specific amount of food. Compare this to the amount you actually eat. This can be a tricky one as some labels will list 1/2 cup of cereal for example an likely we are all eating up to about a cup. This of coarse will force us to do some math in our heads to figure out the actual values.

2. Read the % DV
The % DV helps you see if a specific amount of food has a little or a lot of a nutrient. fact-fiche-choose-eng

**Rule of thumb: 5% DV or less is a little 15% DV or more is a lot.

3. Choose
Make a better choice for you. Here are some nutrients you may want…

less of                                              more of 
Fat                                                        Fibre
Saturated and trans fats                  Iron
Sodium                                                Vitamins & Calcium
For cereals in particular remember the rule 5% DV or less is little 15% DV or more is a lot. Looking for high fibre content in cereal is key!

For more information check out Health Canada website for Nutrition Fact info:

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Fabulous fibre

FibreYou’ve probably heard that you should get more fibre in your diet, but do you know why that is?

Dietary fibre is an important part of healthy eating because it aids in the normal progression of food through the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, fibre makes it easier to remove waste from the body.

Consuming fibre also plays a role in the production of various beneficial compounds in the body.

If you want to start getting more of this healthful ingredient in your daily diet, why not incorporate it into your first meal of the day?

Here are some great fibre-filled breakfast foods that you should definitely try:

1) Cereal
All cereals contain some amount of fibre in them, but whole-grain and multi-grain cereal varieties contain the most. Some of the best cereal types include those with bran flakes and oat clusters. Whole-grain shredded wheat cereals are also excellent sources of fibre. Combined with the high protein and Vitamin D content in milk, cereals are one of the most well-balanced breakfast foods out there. Look for cereals with 15% or more of fibre listed in the Nutritional Facts Label. To pump up the fibre on cereal try adding a variety of fresh or frozen fruit to the cereal mix as well!

2) Whole-grain waffles/pancakes
Did you know that waffles and pancakes come in whole-grain and multi-grain varieties? You can find these mixes in your local grocery stores. If getting some resistance from kids start off slow with half regular white flour mix and incorporate the whole grain mix

3) Veggie omelette
There are not many foods that make for a better start to the day than eggs. The egg is a nutritious, edible nugget that is high in proteins, fats, and other vitamins and minerals. One of the most popular preparations of egg is the omelette. To boost the fibre content of your omelette, add plenty of leafy, green vegetables like spinach. Tomatoes and onions are also omelette favourites too. Most fruits and veggies have abundant fibre content, so get creative and add whatever you would like into the egg mixture.

4) Oatmeal
This mash of whole oats is a traditional breakfast food that has been eaten by various peoples for many years. High in fiber and packed with energy, oatmeal is usually sweetened with sugar and may contain other spices like cinnamon to enhance its mild flavor. To boost fiber content and add texture, toss in fresh berries or other fruit pieces for a complete meal.

5) Multi-grain peanut butter and banana sandwich
This high-calorie, high-fibre breakfast will give you enough energy to last the rest of the day. Popularized by the King of Rock, this combination of peanut butter and banana on toast offers tons of essential fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals too. If you are looking to start your day right, this is the only way to go.

For more info about fibre and ways to source it in your diet, check out Food Sources of Fibre from the Dietitians of Canada.
Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.