Tip of the week: Food Substitution – Greek Yogurt

I plan on posting some sort of healthy living tip each week. A lot of tips will be simple food substitutions for your everyday eating and cooking. This first meal substitution was one of the first substitutions I began doing regularly when making healthier choices for myself.

The first food substitute is Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt pairs comfortably with many different types of food. From savory to sweet it is a delicious, protein and calcium rich meal option. My favorite substitute is to use Greek yogurt in the place of sour cream, in my opinion you can hardly taste the difference. Unlike sour cream which is primarily fat, Greek yogurt is chock-full of protein. This protein also contributes to the filling effect of Greek yogurt. Dieticians have dubbed Greek yogurt a high satiety food, which means that it makes you feel more full than many other foods.

You can also combine Greek yogurt with fruit and a touch of honey for a sweet and guiltless treat. It can be used to make a great cream sauce for pasta, or cream base for a casserole. Because it is more concentrated than milk you get a great deal of calcium in a single bite. It is also is lower than sodium and higher in probiotics than other types of yogurt. And even though it won’t have quite the same health benefits you can make your own Greek yogurt from non-dairy sources as well by straining non-dairy yogurt overnight.

Greek yogurt comes in a variety of forms but the best to choose is the full fat, plain, organic version. It seems counterintuitive to choose full fat, but studies have begun to show that low fat versions of dairy products actually may not be as good for you as once thought. It seems that whole fat versions of dairy products actually may benefit cardiovascular health. Research seems to showthat as long as the fats are naturally occurring fats and not created fats they may not negatively affect cholesterol the way we were traditionally taught, but may actually help lower cholesterol.

Of all non-organic foods, non-organic dairy, is one of the worst places to skimp. If you don’t eat organic often I still highly advise choosing organic dairy to avoid added hormones, steroids and antibiotics. And it is always better to choose plain Greek yogurt and add your own fruit rather than to buy the pre-flavored kind.

Have fun exploring the many ways to use Greek yogurt and if you find a particularly tasty way please let me know in the comment section.

Sources: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/5-reasons-why-greek-yogurt-is-the-perfect-healthy-snack.html#b; http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/04/full-fat-dairy-for-cardiovascular.html; http://www.livestrong.com/article/415066-is-sour-cream-good-for-you/; http://www.livestrong.com/article/257915-probiotics-greek-yogurt/

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