Let me count the ways…

There are a couple of supermarket products that frustrate me more than most–in all honesty, more than they probably should–in terms of how they are marketed (as healthy) versus what’s actually in them (not). One of those foods is yogurt. What annoys me about yogurt is how manufacturers have mucked up what should be a pure and simple, healthful food. Unfortunately, what many parents serve their children as yogurt is full of sugar (in various forms), artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, along with thickeners–oh yeah, and a little bit of what was once milk.

Not Fage (pronounced fa-yeh) Greek yogurt. Short of making it myself, this is the best yogurt I’ve found. It’s so rich and creamy, it’s hard to believe it’s good for you. Add some fresh seasonal fruit and maybe a touch of honey, and Fage easily passes as a dessert.

Unlike most store-bought yogurts, Fage has very few ingredients: milk, cream and active cultures. Seriously, that’s it. No sweeteners artificial or otherwise, no thickeners or preservatives, no powdered milk or protein. Fage easily fits within Michael Pollan‘s rule against eating manufactured food with more than five ingredients.

And, while Fage isn’t made with organic milk (the only thing that’s missing, in my humble opinion), it is made with milk from cows not treated with rBGH.

According to Fage’s website, it’s their straining process that makes the yogurt so thick and creamy. It’s also the straining process that prevents it from separating at high heat, making Fage great for cooking.

Speaking of Fage’s straining process, the company has a cool history. Founded in 1926 by Athanassios Filippou in Athens, it’s still run by the Filippou family. In 1964 they opened their first factory. In 2008, they opened a yogurt production facility in upstate New York. Today, Fage is Greece’s largest dairy company and sells yogurt worldwide.

In addition to eating it plain, with fruit, or with ground flax seeds, I use Fage in place of sour cream and mayonnaise in recipes. It’s lower in calories and sodium than either of these (mayonnaise has almost 10 times the calories of Fage), higher in protein, and tastes delicious.

Grace isn’t a big yogurt girl, so she mainly eats Fage in recipes and sandwiches (chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, etc). The first time I served it in place of sour cream with chili, Grace was skeptical. “Why is there yogurt on the table?” she asked. I explained that it tastes just like sour cream and is better for us. She reluctantly put a dollop in her chili. After a taste, she proclaimed “It’s better than sour cream. It’s creamier!”

Be well!