Go Greek with simple substitutions

Published 5:27 pm Saturday, June 1, 2013

Simple dairy substitutions can make dishes much healthier.

Simple dairy substitutions can make dishes much healthier.

June is Dairy Month, a time to celebrate the many health and taste benefits dairy delivers and the farmers that produce them.   One dairy food that has soared in popularity is yogurt.

In my five years as a supermarket dietitian, Greek yogurt specifically, has substantially taken over the regular yogurt in space and popularity.

Yogurt has always been an iconic health food because of its live and active cultures that help with digestive health and immunity.

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But did you know it is an excellent source of protein to keep you full and maintain muscles?  Or that it contains calcium for healthy bones and potassium for healthy blood pressure?  It’s also a great choice for people with lactose intolerance.

Why all the growth of Greek yogurt?  The biggest reason — twice the protein content of regular yogurt. But not all Greek yogurts are created equal, so be sure to check the label and look for 14 grams protein per serving.

Greek yogurt is just a style of yogurt making — straining out the liquid whey and some natural milk sugar — lactose, which makes it usually lower in carbohydrates.

Due to this style of yogurt making resulting in a creamier and thicker texture, it becomes a great substitute for the fat in some recipes. Here are a few exchanges you can make in the kitchen.

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 my favorite ways to use yogurt at meals:

•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.

•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 whipping up a refreshing smoothie or layering fruit and yogurt in a bowl as a parfait.

•Serve your salads with yogurt — like the recipe below.

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                           ½ cup butter                        789

and ¼ cup yogurt

1 cup oil                                 ¾ cup yogurt                        1852

Summer fruit and pasta toss

Serves 4

All you need

•8 ounces uncooked whole wheat spiral pasta

•1½ cups cubed cantaloupe (about half a cantaloupe)

•1½ cups cubed pineapple (about half a pineapple)

•1¼ cups sliced strawberries

•1 cup halved seedless grapes

•1½ 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, 21% Daily Value Calcium

 Source: Midwest Dairy

Follow Jen Haugen at her blog: http://jenhaugenrd.wordpress.com