Making a change in your diet can be an eye-opener at the grocery store. This was the case when I went on the hunt for nondairy yogurt after recently reducing my consumption of dairy.
Is it technically yogurt if it's not made with cow's milk? The answer is yes - any kind of milk (almond, coconut, soy, cashew) can be used to make yogurt, which starts with adding bacteria to milk (or plant milk). Here are the nondairy varieties I sampled:
1. CO YO coconut milk yogurt alternative - chocolate. This super creamy concoction that CO YO touts as "Heaven in a Mouthful" is thick and rich, like decadent chocolate/coconut ice cream. It's vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free and soy-free. A serving has 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. The downside: One 5.3-ounce serving packs 365 calories and 37 grams of fat. However, it's the "good" fat that has been shown to lower bad cholesterol. Another downer: It's fairly expensive.
Cost: $2.89, Whole Foods
2. Forager Project Creamy Dairy-free Cashewgurt - lemon. Nice, light citrus flavor. It's organic, non-GMO, kosher and free of lactose, gluten and soy, plus it's "teeming with probiotic cultures" - a good thing for your tummy. This option packs 130 calories and 5 grams of fat. Upside: It's one of the least-expensive yogurt alternatives I've found. It's exclusively sold at Whole Foods Market. Downside: It features only 2 grams of protein. But isn't it cool that it's made from cashews?
Cost: $1.49, Whole Foods
3. Kite Hill artisan almond milk yogurt - blueberry. This product is vegan, soy- and gluten-free, and contains live cultures. It has 170 calories, 5 grams of protein and 11 grams of fat. Upside: Eating this might help to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The label notes that emissions of carbon dioxide per production of a gallon of almond milk is 0.9 pounds compared with 17.6 pounds for a gallon of dairy milk. Downside: No fiber content. Also, the taste could be fruitier, although I did see a few actual blueberries in the yogurt. I prefer the almond and vanilla varieties.
Cost: $1.99, King Soopers
4. Daiya Deliciously Dairy-free Greek yogurt alternative - blueberry. It's gluten-free, provides 20 percent of your daily calcium and vitamin B-12 needs, and contains beneficial probiotics. A 150-calorie, 4.5-fat-gram serving packs 3 grams of fiber. It's also a winner for high protein with 8 grams. It has a creamy, yogurtlike texture and is fairly delicious. Downside: The tapered container makes your snack seem tiny. Strawberry is also good.
Cost: $1.69, King Soopers
5. Silk Dairy Free Yogurt Alternative - strawberry. This one's free of cholesterol and gluten and packs 6 grams of plant-based protein. It's non-GMO verified and has 130 calories and 3.5 grams of fat per serving. The fruity taste is pleasing. Downside: It's on the runny side. Bonus: This manufacturer, WhiteWave Foods, is based in Denver and Silk products are made in Broomfield.
Cost: $1.39 King Soopers
6. Good Karma Dairy Free Yogurt - strawberry. This one wins my taste test. You won't even know you're missing dairy. The strawberry flavor is fruity, and there are pieces of real berry throughout. Blueberry is good, too. The texture and appearance is pretty close to regular yogurt. This non-GMO product provides 5 grams of plant protein and 800 milligrams of omega-3 per serving. It does not contain nuts or soy. With only 2 grams of fat, it's made with flaxmilk - a good source of omega-3s, which are believed to have potential for protecting against heart disease, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis, according to Livestrong.com. Another plus: Good Karma is made in Boulder.
Cost: $1.99, King Soopers
7. Almond Dream nondairy yogurt - vanilla. The taste is sweet, like vanilla-almond cake batter. I really like almond and vanilla, but this was way too sweet for me. Had I noticed a serving packs only 1 gram of protein, I would've steered clear. Why bother for so little of a protein payoff? It's also high-carb at 28 grams (9 percent of your daily value).
On the plus side, it's vegan, high in calcium (20 percent daily value), lactose-free, gluten-free and non-GMO. It contains only 3 grams of fat and 160 calories while offering 3 grams of fiber.
Cost: $1.59, Sprouts