Yogurt is one of America’s most common breakfast options. Easy to eat on-the-go and loaded with protein and probiotics, it’s hard to say no to this dairy wonder … at first, anyway. Packed with protein, probiotics, and calcium, many people see yogurt as a quick and easy breakfast convenient item, which is no undoubtedly why its still a prominent product in the food industry today. Yogurt is also great topped with fruit, nuts and seeds which makes it an adaptable snack or meal. The downsides to yogurt, however, are huge and are affecting our bodies and our planet much more than we think. The yogurt industry has skyrocketing profits, while at the same time it’s negatively contributing to environmental impacts and an increased number of dairy farms. And while vegans may not be able to find a yogurt as high in protein as dairy yogurt, we do have other protein sources that we can get instead.
Although yogurt can be difficult to give up as a plant-based eater, there are many alternatives that can give your body the same health benefits with an even better taste. Although there are non-dairy yogurts in grocery stores, some brands can contain added sugar and unnatural flavoring.
Here are five natural, nutrient-dense foods to replace that breakfast yogurt.
Coconut kefir is one of the best alternatives to yogurt. There are so many reasons to try this vegan dream. Coconut kefir has a similar texture to yogurt, however it is often fluffier and lighter. The taste of coconut kefir is like walking on a cloud- it’s rich and creamy yet subtly sweet. The health benefits of kefir are also tremendous. Coconut kefir has natural, vegan probiotics and contains healthy fat. Top kefir with fruit and this Healthy Plum and Pecan Granola for the ultimate breakfast experience, or try adding coconut kefir to smoothies. Get a taste for coconut kefir and I can guarantee you’ll kick yogurt to the curb for good!
Chia Seed Pudding
Cha Cha Cha Chia! Chia seeds are growing in popularity because of their extreme health benefits. Being a superfood that helps build lean muscle, chia seeds make a great start to any morning. Chia seed pudding is an awesome alternative to yogurt as it has a creamy texture and is jam-packed with protein and fiber. To make, simply add chia seeds to a non-dairy milk and let the seeds soak in the fridge until they nearly double in size (preferably overnight). This saves you time, and the best part is, the flavor possibilities are endless! You can add fruit, cinnamon, dates or agave for extra flavor, or try this Chocolate Chia Breakfast Pudding for a morning treat. Our Coconut Vanilla Chia Pudding has exotic flavors to add something special, and would taste even better with a scoop of probiotic-rich coconut kefir!
Smoothie bowls let you enjoy all the goodness of a fruit smoothie, but with a spoon. And who doesn’t love to eat something delicious instead of drink it all the time? Giving you the same satisfaction as eating a bowl of yogurt, smoothie bowls can provide you with health benefits that feel cleaner and more detoxing than dairy yogurt. Thicker in texture, these bowls are a brilliant way to dress up a breakfast smoothie. Most often made with acai, this nutrient powerhouse will give you bursting morning energy. Smoothie bowls can be flavored how you like it, like this Creamy Pumpkin Acai Bowl. They can also get fixings on top such as goji berries, almonds, ground flax or fresh fruit. For a breakfast that will really jump-start your day, try this Superfood Smoothie. Using a combination of fruit and greens, this bowl will provide you with lasting energy.
Like yogurt, oatmeal is a breakfast staple. For a yummy oatmeal twist, try raw soaked oatmeal, which is an excellent yogurt alternative because it is cold, thick and can be eaten on-the-go. Pass on instant oatmeal packets and soak rolled or steel cut oats in non-dairy milk overnight. Similar to chia seed pudding, soaked oats will expand in size and provide a porridge texture. Besides being easy, overnight oats are extremely healthy, as the soaking process can help aid in digestion. Oats also contain fiber, protein and hearty whole grains that are particularly good for plant-based athletes. For a quick breakfast alternative (or dessert!) try this Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats!
Fruit purées are great for both kids and adults. This Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter has all the crisp flavors of apples combined with the sweet flavors of dates. Fruit purées can make a lighter morning meal since they don’t contain as much protein found in other yogurt alternatives. Fiber-packed and refreshing, you can purée any fruit you have available. Homemade Apple Sauce makes a great base, and you can add blueberries for antioxidants or flax seeds for extra fiber. What’s great about fruit purées is that you can add spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg to enrich the fresh fruit flavors. Similar to yogurt, these can also be topped with all the fixings.
What’s your favorite dairy yogurt alternative? Have a different healthy recipe? Share it, we’d love to hear from you!
Lead Image Source: Vegan Feast Catering/Flickr