Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse and chocked-full of impressive health benefits, including improved digestive function and pain management. Since the thick, creamy Greek yogurt is a nutrition superstar, why not get a little creative to incorporate more of it into your diet?
U.S. News and World Report and the Idaho Statesman detail nine unusual ways to eat Greek yogurt:
- Mayonnaise substitute: Mix it in everything from tuna salad to deviled eggs. "You're going to get the extra protein, calcium and save on calories, fat, and saturated fat," says Allison Enke, a dietitian for Whole Foods Market.
- Yogurt cheese: A tangy Greek yogurt cheese, such as this recipe from Food Network star Alton Brown, involves straining Greek yogurt through a cheese cloth-lined strainer for several hours and jazzing it up with herbs and spices.
- Top tacos, chili and soup: The next time you reach for sour cream, opt for Greek yogurt. Save 15 calories per tablespoon to dress up tacos, chili or add a creamy texture to soups.
- Frozen (Greek) yogurt treats: Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of “The Flexitarian Diet,” suggests blending vanilla or plain Greek yogurt with fruit – or even spinach – until smooth. Pour into ice molds, pop into the freezer and wait for a delicious, chilly treat. It can also be added to smoothies instead of milk to triple the amount of protein.
- Dessert: Replace part – or all – of the cream cheese in cheesecake for a delicious, low-calorie dessert. Or substitute for butter in frosting recipes to cut the calories considerably. There are plenty of other tasty options, including chocolate mousse or Greek yogurt brûlée.
- Yogurt ranch dressing: Another family favorite is ranch dressing, but at nearly 150 calories and less than half of a gram of protein for a two-tablespoon serving, bottled dressing is a nutritional nightmare. Mixing your own can reduce this to just 50 calories with 1 gram of protein per serving.
- Pancake topper: Real maple syrup packs 52 calories per tablespoon while non-fat Greek yogurt is closer to 11 calories. Drizzle on honey or add some fresh fruit puree to make a healthier breakfast treat.
- Ice cream alterative: Who needs an ice cream maker? Add one teaspoon of milk and a dash (or so) of vanilla into a single serving of Greek Yogurt and stir. Place in a freezer and chill for a few hours. “You can get creative with the flavors, too,” Enke says. “Try stirring in a little cocoa powder, or fresh or frozen berries.”
- Marinating: Adding Greek yogurt to a marinade tenderizes meat while adding flavor. Iron Chef Michael Symon suggests marinating meat – in his case, chicken – in Greek yogurt to keep it moist, juicy and flavorful.
- Make guacamole nutrient-rich: “Who knew?” that’s what one surprised person commented on this recipe for Greek yogurt guacamole from Chobani. Similar recipes, including this one from Food Network, have been a hit with home cooks.
- Lighten side dishes: Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and pairing Greek yogurt with mashed potatoes can make for a lighter, yet still flavorful, side dish.