Go Greek with Simple Substitutions

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For years yogurt has been an iconic health food, and rightly so. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, which not only helps build muscles, but also helps you feel full. Yogurt contains calcium, potassium and a variety of other vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. Plus, there are those live and active cultures, known as probiotics, which maintain digestive health and give our immune systems an extra boost.

In the past twelve years, America’s consumption of yogurt has doubled, and the evolution of Greek yogurt has played a large role in that trend. With this expansion of yogurt, the difference between the varieties is still Greek to customers. Here is what makes Greek yogurt different: Greek yogurt is strained to remove most of the liquid whey, lactose and sugar, making it thicker than traditional yogurts. As far as the nutritional differences, Greek yogurt can contain up to twice the protein, and is usually lower in carbohydrates.

Snack and breakfast times are the most common time yogurt is consumed. However yogurt can be easily included in other meals. The creamy texture of yogurt makes it a great substitute for the fat in most recipes. Try a few of these easy exchanges in your kitchen:

Instead of this: Try this: Calories saved:
1 cup sour cream 1 cup yogurt 392
1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup yogurt 1334
1 cup cream cheese 1 cup yogurt 710
1 cup butter 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup yogurt 789
1 cup oil 3/4 cup yogurt 1852

Use these simple swaps in a variety of recipes from baked goods to dips and salads; by doing so you’ll easily cut a few hundred calories from your dish. Here are a few easy ways to use yogurt at mealtime:

  • Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to top tacos, baked potatoes and chili.
  • Try mixing two cups of Greek yogurt with a packet of dry ranch dressing for a quick veggie dip.
  • Switch your milk and butter for yogurt next time you make mashed potatoes.
  • Experiment with flavors too; replacing sour cream with lemon yogurt in a cherry or blueberry coffeecake makes a great combination!
  • Cool off on hot summer days by serving fruit at meals with yogurt, in the form of a smoothie or parfait.

Serve your salads with yogurt – like the recipe below.


Summer Fruit and Pasta Toss
Serves 4

All you need:

  • 8 ounces uncooked whole wheat spiral pasta
  • 1-1/2 cups cubed cantaloupe (about half a cantaloupe)
  • 1-1/2 cups cubed pineapple (about half a pineapple)
  • 1-1/4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup halved seedless grapes
  • 1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) low-fat vanilla yogurt

All you do:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and cool in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  2. While pasta is cooking, prepare fruit and place in large serving bowl.
  3. Once pasta has cooled, add to bowl. Gently mix yogurt into pasta mixture.
  4. Chill for 30 minutes in refrigerator before serving.

Nutrition Information per serving: 370 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 77mg sodium, 80g carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 14g protein.
Daily values: 21% calcium.

Source: Midwest Dairy

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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