Substitute Yogurt For…: Healthy Ideas to Consider

In “Eureka! It’s Greek Yogurt,” by Penny McLaren (December 2013), School Nutrition readers were invited to take advantage of the explosive popularity of Greek yogurt by menuing the product on its own and using it in various recipes. Truth be told, both Greek yogurt and its more-traditional counterparts can be a great substitute for less-nutritious alternatives in a wide array of recipes. Consider the following options at home and at school.

Skip the Syrup: Top waffles or pancakes with fresh blueberries and a dollop of lemon-flavored yogurt. The protein boost of yogurt turns a favorite treat into a complete meal.

Move Over, Mayonnaise: Substitute plain, nonfat or lowfat yogurt for one-third to one-half the mayonnaise normally used in tuna, chicken and potato salads, as well as for coleslaw or on sandwiches. You'll enjoy the familiar tang and creaminess of mayonnaise without the excess fat.

Sweeten Treats: Instead of full-fat ice cream or whipped cream, top a slice of pound cake with lowfat, vanilla or French vanilla yogurt. Or, serve cake, pies and/or fruit with a scoop of frozen lowfat yogurt.

Get Saucy: Mix plain yogurt with spicy mustard or chili sauce, to taste, for use as a shrimp dip or a great topping for roasted chicken and/or fish. Likewise, marinating meats with yogurt and spices creates a more tender, juicy dish.

Dip In: Use plain yogurt as a base for vegetable and chip dips. Add your favorite seasonings, mix, chill and serve. Again, the protein boost can turn a dip with veggies into a mini-meal.

Dream a Dressing: Turn a bottle of vinaigrette into a "homemade" creamy dressing by adding 2-3 Tbsps. of plain yogurt per cup of dressing.

Top a Tater: Cut the fat by substituting plain nonfat or lowfat yogurt for traditional sour cream on baked potatoes.

Say Olé: Cool down your favorite Mexican dishes with a dollop of plain yogurt instead of sour cream.

Whip up a Smoothie: Combine your favorite sliced fruits with plain or fruit-flavored yogurt and ice in a blender for a refreshing instant meal.

Source: National Yogurt Association,