The Best Probiotic Foods – Skyr, Kefir, and More.

So I love Greek yoghurt, but knowing that it has held the limelight on the dual probiotic high protein stage for quite some time, I thought it was worth sharing a range of other products that are starting to become more readily available in the USA, and I can only hope all make their way onto Australian shelves (if they are not already there) for everyone back home to be able to enjoy too!

The foods I wanted to share with you today are a mixture of foods that are either a:

  • Source of probiotics
  • Good source of protein
  • Source of plant sterols for high cholesterol management
  • Lower sugar and calorie ice cream made from natural ingredients
  • Or a combination of some of the above!

All in all, they are products I have tried, enjoyed, and think others could too! They are at least worth putting on your hit list of foods to try if you can find them wherever you are in the world!

1. Skyr – The thick and creamy Icelandic dairy product that I fell in love with from the moment I tried it…it tastes incredible! I believe it takes 4 cups of milk to make 1 cup of skyr, so it ends up being super high in protein (and low in both fat and carbohydrates), resulting in a very low calorie, and very creamy “yoghurt” (or some may even refer to it more like a cream cheese), that is super filling!

I remember trying it for the first time when I got off the plane in Iceland and thought, oh my gosh, where have you been all my life! I ended up buying at least 4 serves in the space of the 22 hours I was in the country! Lucky for me, there are companies here in the USA that have realised the potential for this product and have been expanding over the past couple of years with Icelandic skyr products. I can only hope that these companies, such as Siggis, expand to Australia and set up production there too!

My first skyr experience in the homeland…iceland. Literally the first thing I ate when I landed.

My first skyr experience in the homeland…iceland. Literally the first thing I ate when I landed.

Iceland!

Iceland!

Iceland at 4am during midsummer! So bright!!

Iceland at 4am when I got up to go to the airport during midsummer! So bright!!

Me in Iceland!

Me in Iceland!

Smari - another brand of icelandic skyr available in the USA

Smari – another brand of icelandic skyr available in the USA

Another brand of skyr available in the USA - smari

Another brand of skyr available in the USA – smari – as you can see this wasn’t their plain variety so did have added sugar.

 

Siggis is a fabulous brand that has a huge array of icelandic skyr products. I mixed in some english toffee flavoured stevia and it tasted crazy good!

Siggis is a fabulous brand that has a huge array of icelandic skyr products. I mixed in some english toffee flavoured stevia to a plain one to keep the added sugars down, and it tasted crazy good!

2. Kefir – Definitely gaining some momentum in owning a space in the front of peoples minds as a probiotic rich yoghurt alternative; Kefir actually has a range of cultures that it provides that are not available through regular Greek yoghurt, and can be made from kefir grains into non-dairy varieties too.This one is a must if you haven’t already tried it.

Some people may find the plain variety too tart, but given most flavoured varieties are made with added sugar I would suggest trying to create a mix as I did above (or below) with a natural sweetener if you are wanting to keep the calories and added sugar down whilst still obtaining the benefits of the product in a manner you will enjoy consuming.

I enjoyed this Russian thicker kefir here in NYC made by a great passionate company Latta (the owners were Russian). They had flavoured varieties and plain varieties, and I mixed in a natural sweetener and some hemp hearts for a super healthy breakfast one morning!

I enjoyed this Russian thicker kefir here in NYC made by a great passionate company Latta (the owners were Russian). They had flavoured varieties and plain varieties, and I mixed in a natural sweetener and some hemp hearts for a super healthy breakfast one morning!

Babushka kefir is a great company in Australia who has been making Kefir for a while now! They are available at health food stores around the country.

Babushka kefir is a great company in Australia who has been making Kefir for a while now! They are available at health food stores around the country.

3. Cottage cheese with probiotics – pretty cool, right? This brand, Nancys, has been around for ages here in the USA. As most of you may know, cottage cheese is one of the higher protein lower calorie spread or dip options, and now you can get it with live active cultures…this needs to go global!

Nancys organic cultured cottage cheese is a very unique product that I wish expanded across the globe.

Nancys organic cultured cottage cheese is a very unique product that I wish expanded across the globe.

4. Protein enhanced coconut beverages – I felt that given this beverage is enhanced with whey protein, and since it has a milky consistency (or at least milk alternative consistency), it could get away with being on this list! As coconut water companies expand their product lines and protein continues to steal the limelight (I think its pretty obvious that fats and prebiotics are going to get the next limelight, but speaking in the present while protein is still here), these naturally sweetened protein enriched coconut beverages are definitely on the mark.

I know to some people who don’t like formulated foods, this won’t get their approval given the use of carrageenan, synthetic vitamins, and erythritol (which could be GMO in the USA unless stated otherwise), so will not seem “clean” enough to them, but to the masses, this ingredients list is certainly above many other formulated products, and one can only hope that a product line extension (or a competitor who comes in) will make the even “cleaner” premium version of this.

coco-libre brand of protein enhanced coconut beverages

coco-libre brand of protein enhanced coconut beverages

coco-libre protein coconut water - nutrition information

coco-libre protein coconut water – nutrition information

5. Low calorie, higher fibre, low sugar, natural ice creams – There are a few products that fit in this category which I hope continue to improve and expand their product lines across the globe. Obviously having a small portion of the “real thing” is also fine (at least in my eyes it is), but I do know that sometimes people just feel like having a big serve of ice-cream for whatever reason it is, yet they still genuinely do not want to be putting so many calories or so much sugar into their bodies…in walk some of these next products.

WINK - technically a frozen dessert not an ice-cream, it is predominantly water, provides minimal calories and a bunch of fibre if you felt like eating a whole tub!

WINK – technically a frozen dessert not an ice-cream, it is predominantly water, provides minimal calories and a bunch of fibre if you felt like eating a whole tub!

So delicious coconut milk ice-cream is dairy free and they have no added sugar varieties that are lower in calories than the regular varieties and much higher in fibre.

So delicious coconut milk ice-cream is dairy free and they have no added sugar varieties that are lower in calories than the regular varieties and much higher in fibre.

6. Plant-sterol or probiotic “shots” – Plant sterol enriched yoghurt shots were everywhere in England and Spain when I travelled there, and I still see them here in the USA all the time! Unfortunately I recall due to regulations on how many grams of plant sterols you can put in a single serve of a portion of a food product in Australia these products were never on the shelves back at home. I do hope this changes so that people can get the prescribed dose to lower cholesterol levels (should they want to be consuming plant sterols for this reason) in just one calorie controlled food item. Probiotic rich “shots” have also taken off here in the USA, along with drinkable yoghurts and drinkable kefir, however these tiny serves pack a punch!

Benecol plantsterol enriched shots in Europe

Benecol plantsterol enriched shots in Europe

plant-sterol shots in Europe

plant-sterol shots in Europe

probiotic food shots in the USA

probiotic drink “shots” in the USA

Kefir in mini packs

Kefir in mini packs as “shots”

7. Flavoured Greek yoghurt that is sweetened with natural sweeteners – Yes I know, this is a Greek yoghurt, but I felt bad not including at least one special variety of Greek yoghurt that I have come across over the years. When we compare flavoured varieties of Greek yoghurts often they either have artificial sweeteners, fake fillers to keep them thick, or a lot of added sugar…in walks in “Sophies yogurt”, this product really is one of its kind at the moment in the fridge section in the USA (or at least in NYC). This small company started by none other than you guessed it, Sophie, uses milk from hormone free cows, sweetens the products with stevia and xylitol (but I wouldn’t think having one serve would cause gastric problems except for people that were super sensitive to these “sugar alcohols”), and still packs the probiotic and protein rich punch people are often looking for in a Greek yogurt. The plain variety has oligofructose added to it to give it a couple of grams of fibre too. I hope this product line goes national (and international) so that everyone can enjoy them!

sophies yogurt nyc no artificial sweetener naturalsophies yogurt nyc no artificial sweetener natural

sophies yogurt nyc no artificial sweetener naturalsophies yogurt nyc no artificial sweetener natural

So there you have it, a few more products to keep an eye out for.

I will reiterate, I have NOTHING against Greek yoghurt, I really quite like it (as shown by my final inclusion in the list)!  I just thought you might enjoy seeing some of the additional products that are available around the globe that fit different peoples requirements when it comes to selecting foods for different health or lifestyle reasons.

I hope you enjoyed this post and do let me know if you have any other products that you think would be great to share on a future post (that fit in with this category).

For now,

TD x

 

 

About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in New York City. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, and barre class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea in how to make this world a healthier and better place.

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