If you’ve ever hung out with co-workers trying to lose weight, you’ve experienced yogurt at its plainest. But beyond those little plastic cups lies an often overlooked source of protein waiting to fuel your body.

“I think yogurt is a perfect post-workout food,” says Lindsay Langford, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., a registered dietitian with St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis. And here’s why it tops her list:

  • With between 6g and 9g of complete protein per serving, regular yogurt holds its own against other protein sources. For extra muscle power, though, try the thicker Greek yogurt, which can have twice as much protein per serving.
  • In addition to having all the essential amino acids, yogurt has both quick-burning whey protein and the more slow-acting casein, a sure-fire win when it comes to muscle recovery.
  • Yogurt can also refill your energy stores burned off during that extra mile on the track, with carbohydrates from both the milk sugars and added fruit, plus it has potassium—which will replenish the electorlytes lost to your sweaty jersey.
  • And finally, with both calcium and vitamin D, yogurt packs a wallop for your bones.

Now, if your mind draws a blank when faced with the supermarket's endless wall of yogurt, simply stick with the high-protein Greek variety for post-workout snacks, says Langford. Then choose either low-fat or fat-free to limit the extra saturated fat in your diet, and if added sugar’s a concern, buy it plain—and add your own fruit.

Most of all, though, don’t let yogurt’s reputation fool you. As these six easy recipes and snack ideas will prove, it's much more versatile than just a quick snack in a cup. Read on...and power up.