‘Tis the season of hearty meals, unrestrained eating and thoughts of getting your body right. I admit it. The later haunts me every year at around the same time, never failing to remind me that my body deserves better. Despite the excuses of being tired or busy, I decided earlier this month to become more consistent with exercise and putting quality food in my body. I started making sure that each meal had the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. My snack game consisted of the usual suspects like celery with peanut butter, turkey jerky with almonds and (my favorite) greek yogurt with granola. But then I heard something about Icelandic Provisions’ skyr (“skee-er”) and how it’s just as good as my favorite greek yogurt brand. I decided to try it out for myself and see what the hype was about. Here’s what I found interesting:
There are healthy probiotics
With the craze of organic meats and produce, skyr adds more to the healthy eating craze through its ingredients and live and active cultures known as probiotics. Upon reading the nutritional facts, I see that this yogurt-like snack comes with the good, digestion improving bacteria – heirloom skyr cultures (streptococcus thermophilus islandicus), L. bulgaricus, and bifidobacterium – which all improve the overall health of anyone hitting the gym. What’s also interesting is that the cows that produce the milk are grass-fed and raised in a free-range environment without all the artificial growth hormones, like rBGH. It’s a win-win situation all around.
It goes down easy
I like greek yogurt, and sometimes its thickness and texture make my eating experience less than pleasing. Besides cottage cheese, greek yogurt was my only other source of protein in the dairy family. Thankfully, the creamy texture of skyr is smoother than my favorite brand, making me more motivating when it comes to eating more of the good stuff, despite the taste (Sidebar: I mostly eat plain greek yogurt. I don’t know how, but I do). I also appreciate that it’s lighter than my favorite brand, satiates my hunger while helping me get closer to my fitness goals.
It enriched with a long history
Every time I eat a cup of yogurt (or any dairy product for that matter), I assume that it comes from some bustling factory or farm, churning out food to package and ship out. Surprisingly, much like my go-to greek yogurt, skyr really comes from the Northern hemisphere country of Iceland. In fact, it reminds you on the black foil lid, which reads, “Icelandic Skyr (pronounced ‘skeer’)” in bold at the very top, before it shares an inviting description of what’s to come. On the side of the small container, it mentions how heirloom cultures make up most of the skyr, which was “developed with Iceland’s oldest farm-owned dairy cooperative, MS Iceland Diaries, which was established in 1927. Interesting fact: Skyr has been Iceland’s signature food for nearly a thousand years. You can date it back to the 9th century when it was believed to be a Vikings journey staple.
It has the right amount of sweetness
Although it comes in many Nordic-inspired flavors like coconut, blueberry with bilberry, strawberry with lingonberry and plain, I decided to try the good old trusty raspberry flavor. Surprisingly the flavor was light and not overbearing on my taste buds. I could actually feel the tiny grains of the berries (thanks to the raspberry puree and fruit ingredients) and could tell that I was eating the real deal, minus any artificial flavoring. Above all, it was not super sweet (just 12 grams in this sucker), beating out the average amount of sugar (33% less than) in one serving of traditional yogurt.
There’s muscle-friendly protein
When it comes to burning body fat, gaining and maintaining muscle is important. And to keep them functioning well after a workout, protein is a must. Thankfully, my body can digest dairy without any uncomfortable side effects, so I’m not limited to just getting this nutrient from meats or vegetables. The raspberry skyr comes with 15 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat, which is perfect post-workout, refueling snack after a solid sweat session. It also came handy whenever I left my protein shake at home. Glory!
After annihilating my first cup of Icelandic Provisions’ raspberry skyr and 2 other flavors – plain and vanilla – I have decided to add this brother of yogurt to my office snacks line up and meal plan. Thankfully it recently made it to the United States. You can find Icelandic skyr for $1.69-$1.99 at your nearest Whole Foods Market (where I oftentimes find myself trying not to buy more than I need) or aany of these 900 locations.
If you can handle dairy foods, try a flavor and let me know your thoughts. In the meantime, may the “body goals” force be with you.