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New Ways to Substitute Greek Yogurt to Cut Calories
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Cooking with Greek Yogurt
If you haven't tried Greek, or strained, yogurt, you are in for a treat. At about twice the protein and a third of the sugar as traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt is a much healthier choice. The great thing about Greek yogurt is it's versatility.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use Greek Yogurt:
1. Tuna Salad. I make a tuna salad with plain greek yogurt, diced grapes, chopped almonds and a little sweet relish served on whole grain bread or just a bed of lettuce. The kids love it, and I feel good knowing they are getting in lots of protein, whole grains and fruit. I haven't used mayonnaise in a tuna salad in years.
2. Taco Salad. Taco salad is a standby dinner at our house. No matter what meat we use (shredded chicken, ground grass-fed beef, or leftover pork roast) we also sneak in lots of veggies - diced bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and corn. We serve it all over a bed of spinach, top it will a little shredded cheese and a dollop of Greek yogurt. I love this dish, because I can go a little light on the meat, heavy on the vegetables and everyone is still happy and coming back for seconds.
3. Mexican Food - no matter if we are making the taco salad above, fajitas or enchiladas, you will not find sour cream in our fridge. Greek yogurt is our standby. You can substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream in all your cooking.
4. Breakfast - you will often find our kids having a bowl of plain greek yogurt with their breakfast. Traditional flavored yogurt has about as many calories as a candy bar, and not many more redemptive qualities, other than a little calcium. Greek yogurt, on the other hand has plenty of protein, and, depending on the brand, about 1/3 of the sugar. When I first started my kids on yogurt, I only gave them plain yogurt - they didn't know that most kids expect it to be sweet, so they ate it up. Now that my girl is a little older, she gets a little local honey on her Greek yogurt. My son still eats his plain. In either case, I am just happy to see that they are getting a good serving of protein to start their day. Add in a little granola and some fruit and you almost have a balanced breakfast in one bowl!
5. Smoothies - A cool, refreshing smoothie hits the spot on a hot summer morning. I love to make a fruit smoothie using Greek yogurt and fresh fruit from my local farmer's market. Any smoothie recipe that calls for yogurt can use Greek yogurt instead. This is also a great way to reduce the sugar content of your smoothie while at the same time adding a little more protein.
6. Dips - Anytime I am making a dip that calls for mayo or sour cream, I substitute Greek yogurt. This is works in spinach dips, french onion dips and more. When I bring a dip made with Greek yogurt to a party, no one can tell the difference and they are all excited to find tier favorite recipe can be made with about 1/3 less calories. What''s not to love?
7. Yogurt Lime Dipping Sauce - Whenever we make grilled chicken, I like to serve it with a little yogurt dipping sauce. I just take a dollop or two of Greek yogurt and mix in a little fresh lime juice and stir well. This goes great with almost any grilled meat and my kids just love it. You can add more or less lime, depending on your tastes.
Does it Cost More Than Traditional Yogurt?
Greek yogurt does cost a little more than traditional yogurt, but the health benefits are worth it. While you can find a 6-ounce container of traditional yogurt for about 50 cents on sale, you might find the same size container of Greek yogurt on sale for 99 cents. But, when you buy it in a large container, rather than individual serving size containers, the price per serving drops dramatically. Not to mention, you aren't tossing as much plastic in the trash by buying in bulk. If you are going to be cooking with the yogurt, this is a much better way to go. If you are buying a national brand, you can look for coupons in your weekly paper.
Where do you buy Greek yogurt?
I buy plain Greek yogurt by the quart from our local food cooperative. You can also buy it from your local grocery store, just be sure to check the label. Because Greek yogurt has become so popular, every yogurt maker has a line and some are just as packed with sugar as traditional yogurt.
What is your favorite greek yogurt?
How Do You Use Greek Yogurt?
I'd love to hear other suggestions on how you substitute Greek yogurt for mayo or sour cream in your kitchen. Or any other uses you have for Greek yogurt.