Which Yogurt Should I Buy?

For me, one of the most confusing parts of the grocery store is the yogurt area.  There are so many options! There are different types and flavors, different nutrition, and different prices.  To play it safe, I usually stick with what my family likes – citrus flavored yogurts for me, peach yogurt for my husband, drinkable yogurt for my oldest son, Greek yogurt for my daughter, and small containers of yogurt for my youngest son.  


But, I have wondered, what if I am sacrificing nutrition or paying too much by playing it safe?  Down below, I have created a table to help make decisions when buying yogurt. I used the information for yogurt that is available at a local grocery store where I shop.



Yogurt Type

Container Size (oz) Cost Sugar (g) Calcium (%DV) Vitamin D (%DV)

Fruit flavored (original)


$0.46 19 20


Fruit flavored (light)

6 $0.46 10 15



5.3 $0.78 6 15


Greek fruit flavored (light)

5.3 $1.00 6 15



1 tube


(per tube)

8 10


Drinkable                 3.1


(per bottle)




*Percent Daily Value or %DV is the amount of that nutrient for a 2000 calorie diet.

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Schools Back in Session

Here in Iowa, schools are back in session. For some families this means packing lunches, although the cost of school lunches is hard to beat, and packed lunches are not automatically healthier than school lunch.

I think the key to getting kids to eat what is in their lunchbag—rather than trading it or throwing it away—is involving them in choosing the food. I take my lunch to work almost every day and I’m sure that no one else could guess what I would like!

Consider letting your kids choose what they want from a list of healthy alternatives, and even take them with you to shop for it. Ideally, a lunch would include food from at least 3 food groups. Use MyPlate as a guide.

Here are some ideas to get you started…

  • Low fat dairy: nonfat or 1% milk; low-fat yogurt (even a smoothie or drinkable yogurt);
    low fat cheese; cottage cheese
  • Fruits: fresh fruit that travels well such as apple, grapes, orange, banana; fruit canned in juice; single-serve applesauce; cut-up fruits served with a fruit-flavored yogurt as a dip
  • Vegetables: baby carrots; colored pepper strips; broccoli or cauliflower; lettuce and tomatoes in a sandwich; V-8 or tomato juice; cherry tomatoes; zucchini slices (don’t forget to include a little ranch dressing as a dip)
  • Protein sources: turkey, lean ham or roast beef; peanut or other butter; nuts; tuna; hard-boiled egg;  bean soup or chili;  leftovers; mashed beans with salsa rolled in a flour tortilla; peanut butter and banana wedged between slices of cinnamon raisin bread or a pita
  • Grains: pretzels; popcorn; cereal; trail-mix with dried fruit chips
    Think whole grains! More nutrition and more fiber!—whole wheat pita bread; whole wheat bagel; whole wheat or corn tortilla; whole grain crackers

If a “treat” is a must and fruit just doesn’t cut it, consider something very small like a couple of
chocolate kisses or a cookie. It shouldn’t take much to satisfy the sweet tooth!

A few recipes from Spend Smart.Eat Smart. that are ideal for packed lunches are:
Wraps “Your Way”
Make-ahead Mexican Rollups
Popcorn Trail Mix
Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip
Crispy Granola

Finally, don’t forget food safety when packing your lunch.

-pointers from Peggy

Needs versus wants applies to food

Recently, I did an educational program on Spend Smart. Eat Smart. for employees at a local public health department. A dietitian in the group shared a way her family could save money on milk:  “Get my family to drink more water and not always drink milk.” Some in the group seemed surprised that a dietitian would make that suggestion. What did she actually mean? Her point was that she wants her family members to drink the amount of milk they need nutritionally, but not necessarily more than that.

This brings out a good point when it comes to saving money on food…how much are we actually eating/drinking and is it more than we need? In the case of milk, MyPlate recommends that children ages 2 – 8 need the equivalent of 2 cups (16 ounces) per day and everyone age 9 and over needs the equivalent of 3 cups (24 ounces) of milk per day. At my house, the glasses we usually use hold 12 ounces. If I have two of those each day, I have met the recommended amount. For more information, see dairy – milk, cheese and yogurt.

This concept makes an even bigger money-saving impact when you are talking about meats. The daily recommended meat equivalent is 4 to 5 ounces for children aged 2 to 13, and 5 to 6.5 ounces for teens and adults. When you plan meat for a meal, plan for 2 – 3 ounces per person. This will encourage healthy eating and save you money. For additional information on saving money on meat or other protein foods, see meat and beans.

-contributed by Renee Sweers

Shopping Myths Busted

I recently went grocery shopping with my daughter. She needed shredded cheddar cheese and planned to buy the brick of cheddar cheese and shred it herself. As we looked at cheese prices, we discovered that the shredded cheese was not any more expensive than the brick cheese. Here are the cheese prices we found for a store brand cheese:

8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese = $1.78 = $.222 per ounce
16 ounces (1 pound)  of shredded cheddar = $3.94 = $.246 per ounce

16 ounce (1 pound) brick of cheddar = $4.18 = $.261 per ounce
32 ounce (2 pounds) brick of cheddar = $7.18 = $.224 per ounce

We were surprised to discover that the smallest package (8 ounces) of shredded cheese was actually the cheapest when you looked at the unit price. I guess you might say we “busted two shopping myths.”

Myth 1: Pre-shredded cheese is more expensive. You can save money by shredding it yourself.

BUSTED! My daughter saved time and money by buying the pre-shredded.

Myth 2: Buying in bulk is less expensive.

BUSTED! In this case, the larger quantity of the pre-shredded cheese was more expensive. The larger quantity of the brick cheese was less…but still not quite as cheap as the 8-ounce package of shredded (which was the quantity my daughter wanted).

Bottom line: Don’t make assumptions! Check the unit prices to really find the best deal!

Find more dairy shopping tips on the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Web site.

-contributed by Renee Sweers

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