By Lindsay Cohn
Cool, creamy and tangy—yogurt is a healthy eater’s friend, and luckily there’s no shortage of options these days, even if you’re dairy free.
But as with everything else at the supermarket, quality varies. So we asked two dieticians to weigh in on their favorites, based on nutrition, taste and texture.
What you won’t see on the ingredient list of any of the below: Soy and carrageenan. We left out soy because 93 percent of the U.S. crop is genetically modified, and soy is considered a major allergen. As for carrageenan, this seaweed-derived thickening and stabilizing agent, often found in natural and organic products, has been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation.
Read on for the non-dairy yogurt brands RDs seek out when shopping.
BEST COCONUT: COYO
“The fewer ingredients, the better,” says dietician and wellness coach Michelle Smith. “And I’m in awe of how simple the ingredient list is for the natural version.”
With a whipped-cream consistency, seven probiotic strains and a tart taste, COYO is her go-to coconut yogurt. “Although the calories and fat content are high for this pick, it’s so rich that one serving will probably last you more than one sitting,” she notes. Available in natural, mango, mixed berry and chocolate.
BEST ALMOND: Kite Hill
“Nutrition-wise it’s a solid choice,” says Danielle Flug Capalino. “A 5.3-ounce serving contains 160 calories, 6 grams of protein and only 5 grams of sugar. Plus, it tastes great too—somehow naturally sweeter than other almond milk varieties.”
Kite Hill also wins points for price, texture and its 9 flavors, which include peach, pineapple, key lime, caramel, and classics like blueberry and strawberry. And it’s easy to get, available at Target and Whole Foods stores nationwide.
BEST CASHEW: Forager Project Cashewgurt
“Forager Project is one of my all-time favorites,” Smith says. She loves the texture, and notes that it’s organic, contains just a few ingredients, and provides six probiotic strains. Plus, the unsweetened plain variety has only 1 gram of sugar per serving (a cup of plain dairy yogurt has 11 grams). Since it’s relatively light on protein with only 4 grams per serving, Smith recommends adding a handful of seeds or a few nuts. Also available in wild blueberry, strawberry, cherry, lemon, vanilla bean and coconut.
HONORABLE MENTION: Anita’s Coconut Yogurt
“We’re super fans in my home,” Capalino says. “You can’t beat the texture. It’s rich and creamy—even thicker than Greek yogurt—and the ingredients are so simple.” Plain is made of just coconut milk, coconut water and 8 billion vegan probiotic cultures. Plus, it has only 3 grams of naturally occurring sugar per 6-oz. serving.
Anita’s, which also comes in mango and blueberry-chia flavors, can be hard to come by (find a retailer near you here). But Capalino assures us the extra effort is worth it.