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:

  1. 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.  
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Dessert:  Replace partor 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.
  6. 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.  
  7. 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.
  8. 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.”
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

Click here to read more from U.S. News and World Report and the Idaho Statesman.