Part of living a healthy life and supporting your body is eating right. Many people fall into the trap of snacking mindlessly and filling up on empty calories. By making little changes to your snacking routine, you can make big strides in your health goals.
Think about yogurt, for example. This popular snack can be a great source of protein, excellent for your digestive health, with probiotics that strengthen your immune system. Once you learn how easy it is to make your own yogurt, you can make yogurt in any flavor that you choose and always have a healthy snack on hand.
YOGURT AND PROBIOTICS
One of the main reasons you should be consuming a cup of yogurt every day is the variety of probiotics found in this food. Probiotics battle bad bacteria in your body, fight off infection, and support healthy digestion.
Store-bought yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, of course. However, by making your own yogurt at home, you can ensure that you are using raw, organic milk and enjoy the greatest concentration of probiotics possible.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOGURT
Taking the time to make your own yogurt allows you to enjoy a wide range of health benefits. Research indicates that there are many good reasons to eat yogurt, including an improvement in gastrointestinal health and a healthier immune system.
When you choose yogurt as a snack, you get a big serving of protein, probiotics, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are even better when you make your own yogurt, since you don’t have to worry about your snack being full of unnatural preservatives and chemicals.
MAKE YOUR OWN HOMEMADE YOGURT
Yogurt is so incredibly easy to make that there is no reason to buy commercially-made yogurt. This is a great trick if you have kids, since you can use yogurt to boost their nutritional intake and avoid the added sugars in commercial yogurt.
Before you get started, have the following ingredients and items ready to go:
- 2 tablespoons of ready-made yogurt as starter (stick to organic, no-sugar-added varieties)
- 1 quart of raw, organic milk (goat’s milk is best)
- A food-grade thermometer
- 1 bath towel
- 1 quart-sized mason jar
- 1 ice cube tray
- A wire whisk
- An electric heating pad
- 4-quart saucepan
Once you have everything ready to go, you can begin. Just follow these steps to enjoy fresh, homemade yogurt:
- Heat the milk in the saucepan, avoiding scorching. Allow the milk to boil very slightly.
- Pour the milk into the glass mason jar and allow it to cool down to 110° (use the thermometer)
- Stir the starter yogurt into the milk and seal the jar.
- Wrap the jar in the heating pad and wrap it in the towel.
- Leave the jar in the turned-on heating pad for 7 to 10 hours.
- Gently remove the jar from the heating pad and transfer it to the refrigerator.
- After letting the yogurt sit overnight, it will form into the yogurt texture that you know, and is ready to eat. Stir in fruit or spices to give it a little flavor boost. Add spices and fruit to each individual serving to avoid contaminating the jar of yogurt.