How to Buy the Healthiest Yogurt

By: Joyce Hendley, EatingWell Recipe Contributor

Greek, Icelandic, French and more! The yogurt aisle is exploding with options. Is your favorite yogurt healthy? Find out what to look for on the nutrition label plus, the benefits and drawbacks of each style.

sweet beet-raspberry yogurt in a bowl

Pictured recipe: Sweet Beet-Raspberry Yogurt

We love plain yogurt—Greek or regular—it's the perfect base to flavor however you like while giving you control over added sugars (see how the numbers stack up in the chart below). But we get it, flavored yogurts in single-serve cups are mega-convenient. Get our favorite picks and learn what to consider as you navigate the coolers.

Related: Dress Up Plain Yogurt with These Yummy Yogurt Recipes

Editors' Picks: Our Favorite Yogurts

many different brands of packaged yogurt from overhead with purple background

We put our tastes to the test on more than 30 varieties—these 5 finalists met our nutrition guidelines and had us coming back for more!

Stonyfield Organic Low-Fat, Raspberry

Stonyfield lowfat raspberry yogurt

We love the smooth texture of this lightly sweet yogurt that tastes like fresh fruit.

Fage Total 0%, Blueberry

Fage Total 0% yogurt

Real bits of fruit stud the jammy blueberry stirred into thick Greek yogurt.

Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt, Alphonso Mango

Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt Alphonso Mango flavor

Just a touch of sugar makes the flavors of this creamy strained yogurt pop.

Oui by Yoplait, Strawberry

Oui French Style Yogurt by Yoplait - strawberry

This custard-like French yogurt is delicious enough to eat as dessert and the glass pot makes us feel fancy.

Siggi No Added Sugar Peach & Mango

Siggi's strained whole-milk yogurt no added sugar Peach & Mango

The fruit-packed skyr (Icelandic strained yogurt) is sweetened with just that—fruit.

How to Buy the Healthiest Yogurt

Sleuth Out (Added) Sugars

Even plain cow's milk yogurt will never be sugar-free since it contains lactose, a naturally occurring sugar (about 8 to 10 grams per ­single-serve container of low-fat ­yogurt and 5g to 6g for Greek). Flavored yogurts have even more natural sugar from fruit, plus added sugar. To estimate added sugar, compare the total sugars with those in the same serving size of a similar plain yogurt. Aim to keep added sugars under 6g.

Get Smart About Sweeteners

Many "light" yogurts contain sugar substitutes, including natural ones like stevia and monkfruit and artificial ones like aspartame and sucralose to keep calories, carbs and sugars low. As for natural sugar, whether it's maple syrup, honey or plain ol' sugar, your body treats them the same.

Go Big on Protein + Calcium

Yogurt is a good source of both, but amounts vary by type. For the biggest protein punch, choose Greek and Icelandic styles. These are higher because the lower-protein whey is strained out, leaving the high-protein solids behind. The trade-off: Strained yogurts are usually lower in calcium. So if you want more calcium, traditional yogurts are your best bets; you'll easily find brands delivering 20 percent of the recommended daily value.

Finessing Fat

Research has found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, opting for full-fat dairy does not increase risk of obesity and heart disease. But, if you're calorie conscious, dig in mindfully, since more fat also means more calories.

Related: 4 Good Foods to Eat Full Fat

Yogurt Nutrition: By the Numbers

cucumber cooler yogurt in a bowl

Pictured recipe: Cucumber Cooler Yogurt

With so many yogurt options, you can find a style to fit any health goal. Here's an averaged snapshot of the different varieties so you can pick the one that's right for you. Numbers will vary by brand.

Greek Nonfat Plain (8 oz.): 135 calories, 23g protein, 25% daily value of calcium

Greek Whole-Milk Plain (8 oz.): 220 calories, 20g protein, 25% daily value of calcium

Traditional Nonfat Plain (8 oz.): 125 calories, 13g protein, 45% daily value of calcium

Traditional Whole-Milk Plain (8 oz.): 140 calories, 8g protein, 30% daily value of calcium

Flavored Low-Fat Single-Serve Cup (5.3 oz.): 150 calories, 6g protein, 20% daily value of calcium

Related: Which Is Healthier: Greek Yogurt or Regular Yogurt?

Don't Miss:

Best Yogurts for Diabetes
Breakfast Recipes with Yogurt
How to Make Homemade Yogurt