3 Ways to Eat More Plain Yogurt
While plain yogurt may not scream flavor, it is an extremely versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes to cut fat, cholesterol, and sugar in half. Plain yogurt can be incorporated into just about any concoction that normally calls butter, mayonnaise, or sour cream. It can also serve as the base of a healthy breakfast or dessert, and then dressed up with different toppings. Whether you’re looking to create healthier dishes or simply want some inspiration, here are three ways to incorporate plain yogurt into your daily diet.
Almost any recipe that usually calls for sour cream, heavy cream, mayonnaise, butter, olive oil, or buttermilk can be replaced with plain yogurt. Switching to plain yogurt is a great way to reduce calories, fat, cholesterol, and a host of other harmful ingredients. You can use it as a topping for tacos, nachos, and other dishes that typically use sour cream. You can also incorporate it into cooked or baked goods using the following general guidelines:
1 c. butter = 1/2 c. plain yogurt + 1/2 c. butter
1 c. sour cream = 1 c. plain yogurt
1 c. heavy cream = 1 c. plain yogurt
1 c. mayonnaise = 1 c. plain yogurt
1 c. olive oil = 1/3 c. plain yogurt
1 c. buttermilk = 2/3 c. plain yogurt + 1/3 c. milk
To give you an idea of how much healthier plain yogurt is, one cup of butter has around 1600 calories and close to 200 grams of fat. One cup of nonfat plain yogurt has 110 calories and zero grams of fat. By replacing butter with yogurt, you eat less than one tenth of the calories and none of the fat.
Plain yogurt makes a great base for a tasty, healthy breakfast. While it can be tempting to reach for a prepackaged carton of flavored or fruit-filled yogurt, you may want to think twice. A small tub of the flavored stuff contains around 170 calories and an astonishing 27 grams of sugar. Plain yogurt? It has 60 fewer calories and none of the sugar. If you don’t like the taste of plain yogurt, there is a healthy solution. You can dress it up yourself to get a flavor you like with little to none of the sugar. Try adding fresh berries, nuts or granola, a splash of vanilla extract, and a drizzle of honey for a nutritious, creamy parfait.
Craving something sweet? Try panna cotta made from plain yogurt. It’s a light, Italian classic that tastes like a thick vanilla mousse. The only ingredients you need are plain yogurt, gelatin powder, water, a little cream and sugar and vanilla extract or beans. You can eat it as is after it refrigerates, or top it with some strawberries and lemon zest for a tasty kick. For additional flavor, soak the strawberries in balsamic vinegar and ground pepper for 30 minutes before adding to the top of the finished panna cotta.
These are just some of the delicious ways you can incorporate plain yogurt into your culinary repertoire. Your health and taste buds will thank you.