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Is Yogurt a Healthy Choice at the Hotel Breakfast?

Almost every hotel breakfast, club-floor or otherwise, offers yogurt as a “healthy choice.”  Besides the fact that it is a great source of calcium, iodine and phosphorous, among other vitamins and minerals, it also contains live active bacterial cultures which may help you to live longer and may fortify your immune system. Further, these active bacterial cultures aid in proper digestion. Unfortunately, along with all of these great health benefits, yogurt comes with a ton of sugar…and more often than not, refined sugar which provides very little to no nutritional value, and a lot of empty calories. If it doesn’t have a lot of sugar, you can almost guarantee that it comes with artificial sweeteners, which as we know, are controversial at best.  Lastly, if you are interested in getting a dose of fiber and protein (which makes you feel fuller longer), traditional yogurt doesn’t cut it.

So does this mean that yogurt isn’t a healthy choice at a hotel breakfast?  Not necessarily.  Here are some tips to make it healthier:

  1. Choose Greek Yogurt When Possible. You may have noticed the influx of Greek Yogurt on grocery store shelves. The good news is that a lot of retail outlets and hotels are getting on the Greek yogurt bandwagon. Greek yogurt is a healthy choice compared to traditional yogurt because it is lower in natural sugar (lactose), and is higher in protein, making it more filling and nutritious. Look at the chart below for some comparisons:
    Product Calories Protein Fat Carbs Sugar
    Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt  (8 oz) 120 20 gms 0 gms 9 gms 9 gms
    Plain Non-Fat Traditional Yogurt (8 oz) 110 11 gms 0 gms 16 gms 15 gms
    Strawberry Fruit on the Bottom Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (6 oz) 140 14 gms 0 gms 20 gms 19 gms
    Strawberry Fruit on the Bottom Non-Fat Traditional Yogurt (6 0z) 130 6 gms 0 gms 26 gms 24 gms

    Some popular brands of Greek yogurt include: Fage, Chobani and Oikos.

  2. Use real fruit. As you can see from the chart above, flavored varieties with fruit on the bottom often contains a whopping amount of refined sugar and sometimes even high-fructose corn syrup. Further, flavors with pre-added fruit can have preservatives and sometimes artificial flavors. For a healthy choice, choose plain, unflavored yogurt and add a 1/2 cup of berries or other fresh fruit.  Real fruit will provide more fiber than that of pre-added fruit, which will help you stay regular on the road and keep you feeling fuller longer.  If you want a little more sweetness, consider adding a teaspoon of honey which can often be found at a hotel breakfast.
  3. Get in a little Fat. In order to make your yogurt a bit more satisfying and well-balanced, add some Omega-3s or Mono-unsaturated fat to it. If it isn’t already on the hotel breakfast buffet or menu, ask the attendant or waitress for some chopped nuts and sprinkle a couple of tablespoons over the yogurt.
  4. Add Some Fiber. A hotel breakfast generally offers a variety of cereals as part of its options. If you want to boost your fiber intake, add a 1/4 of raw oats, muesli or other type of unsweetened whole-grain based cereal to the yogurt.  This will give it more texture and fiber, keeping your digestive tract happy during travel.

So go ahead, have some yogurt or Greek yogurt at the hotel breakfast.  Just be smart about the kind you eat and how you eat it to make it a healthy choice.

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