Healthy Habits

Icelandic Skyr

icelandic skyr served with sauteed apples and roasted hazelnuts

Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits

From the Dietitian’s Desk
With Becca Rick, MS, RD

Icelandic skyr (pronounced skeer) has been a part of food traditions for over a thousand years. Skyr’s origin story dates to the ninth century. Legend has it that a proverbial Norseman rode his galloping horse with a calf-stomach saddlebag full of milk. The contents sloshed and mixed with the stomach’s bacteria and rennet, causing the milk curds to separate from the whey, resulting in longer preservation.

Today, skyr is often thought of like yogurt. However, skyr is considered a fresh cheese in Iceland because rennet (cultured milk and enzymes from the calf’s stomach) is used to curdle the milk. American-made skyr does not use rennet and is therefore considered yogurt.

Icelanders enjoy skyr throughout the day, and it is so loved that the cultural idiom “not my cup of tea” has been replaced with “not my cup of skyr.”

In terms of health benefits, yogurt is most celebrated for supporting bone health through its high concentration of calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. Like most yogurts, skyr contains healthy strains of probiotics (live, active bacteria) that give skyr its signature sour, tart taste and promote digestive health. No matter what time of day you choose to enjoy a cup of skyr, it will support long-lasting energy until your next meal or snack.

Fun Fact — Skyr is made from strained cow’s skim milk, resulting in twice the protein content per cup as regular yogurt. The concentration of the milk results in thick and creamy texture like Greek yogurt.


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