Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weight Loss Super Ingredient #1

Well I'm feeling rather healthy today, and since I got so much positive feedback from this post regarding the psychological aspects of weight loss, I decided to share some of the basic recipes I've learned throughout my coursework and personal experience. Today's super ingredient?

Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

I'm sure many of you have heard of this, and I'm sure a brave few of you have tried it. I'll be honest, when I first tried it myself, I hated it, and to this day I can't stand the taste of it on it's own. I really do wish I could be a part of the club that finds greek yogurt rich and tangy, but alas, the invitation eludes me.

So to those of you who have been there, done that, and refuse to try again; I feel your pain. I really, really do. But how about we let bygones be bygones, because greek yogurt, my friends, is a nutritional landmine, and when used in some creative ways, you can reep the full benefits and your tastebuds will never be the wiser. 

So first of all, why make the switch? Because this stuff is ridiculously healthy. In one 1 cup serving it's got roughly 23 grams of protein (more than many protein shakes) 350 mg of potassium (almost equivalent to the amount in a small banana) and no fat. Not to mention it's a great source of calcium, and also has a incredibly low sodium level compared to other types of yogurt, not to mention other foods in general. Make sure to get the plain kind, to minimize the sugar content.

Some suggestions, you ask?

1.) Try it in place of sour cream. Try this once and you'll never go back. My boyfriend (the burger/pizza eating beer drinking baseball coach) actually prefers greek yogurt to sour cream now because it takes exactly like it, but you can absolutely smother your enchilada with it, 100% guilt free. We mix it in chili, put it on tacos, enchiladas, and eggs with salsa and hot sauce. Drop in a heaping scoop to make creamy garlic mashed potatoes, or use it in your homemade alfredo sauce. My die-hard italian mother even approves.

2.) Use it to make fruit and cream oatmeal. Now this one I'm proud of so hear me out.

For preparation take a bag of frozen fruit (I use strawberries, no sugar added, but any fruit is fine) and let it thaw in the fridge. Now make oatmeal with the basic quick oats (yes the incredibly bland boring ones) but instead of adding water or milk, add the liquid in the bottom of the thawed out bag of fruit. It's zero calorie fruit flavored water, how convenient! Throw in a few pieces of the thawed fruit and follow the directions. Usually microwave on high 2 minutes. When you're done mix in a 1/2 spoonful of greek yogurt and bam: fruit and cream oatmeal.

Want to sweeten it up? Feel free to add a bit of real sugar or honey. It's still immensely less sugar than the store brand fruit and cream oatmeal. You can also add cinnamon, nutmeg, or any other spice you so desire. My boyfriend's favorite is blueberry'n'cream with blueberries, peaches and cinnamon. My personal favorite is bananas'n'cream with banana slices, walnuts, cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg. I've also made strawberry'n'cream with strawberries and banana slices. It's really all up to you!

3.) Smoothies.
Basic recipe:
1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
1 banana
2 cups thawed fruit
1 cup frozen fruit
1/3 cup juice (or thawed fruit water)

This makes about 2 servings, roughly 200 calories (usually less) each. Change this up anyway you like. I always tend to use frozen blueberries, they're little and easier to blend. Anything larger (strawberries, peaches) I tend to thaw out first. Of course I have a pretty basic blender so if you have something with a motor belonging to a small motorcyle or chainsaw you might not need to thaw anything.

Be careful of frozen pineapple though, as I've found the texture is a little different. Same goes with apples or applesauce. It's still delicious, just a different texture. If you want the flavor maybe try using apple or pineapple juice. Buy smart though, no point using an apple juice that's 2% juice and 30 grams sugar.

Some ideas? Start with a banana and some greek yogurt, then try adding:
1.) Blueberry - Applesauce - Apple Juice - Cinnamon
2.) Raspberry - Blackberry - Lemonade
3.) Banana - Peanut Butter
4.) Strawberry - Banana -Vanilla - Orange Juice
5.) Blackberry - Pomagranate Juice
6.) Strawberry - Blueberry - Banana - Orange Juice/Pineapple Juice
7.) Peach - Banana - Blueberry - Strawberry Water
8.) Blackberry -  Raspberry - Strawberry - Blueberry - Blueberry Water

This is your chance to be creative! I've made pina colada smoothies with sugar free key lime pudding mix, bananas, vanilla, lime juice, sugar free whipped cream and a drop of coconut extract. There are so many different frozen fruits and juices available there should be no reason to ever get bored. Try some tropical ones like mango, papaya, watermelon or kiwi; the options are endless!

4.) Dips.

This one is easy. You know all those packets of ranch dressing? Or Lipton Onion Soup Mix? Mix a packet with some greek yogurt and you've got a great dip for veggie or chips.

Now this might seem a little sudden for some people. So instead of going all out greek yogurt, use half the yogurt half sour cream. Sure it's not exactly healthy for you, but it's a hell of a lot healthier than using all sour cream or mayonaisse alone, and that's really what the first steps are all about. Then slowly, over time, use less sour cream and more yogurt.

Remember that concept of making changes so small your body doesn't realize what's going on? Put it into play here. Your mind is the parent and your body is the child. The child wants chips and dip. Would a child really notice if the ratio is 55%-45% yogurt to sour cream today rather than the 50%-50% ratio it was yesterday? Probably not. So take the first step. Try mixing in a teaspoon next time you make guacamole. You might surprise yourself (in a good way).

So take the risk! Any small change is better than no change at all. And remember:

There is no such thing as a diet. There is either healthy eating, or nothing.

I'd love it if anyone tries these recipes and gives me some feedback! Do any of you have any recipes using greek yogurt? Do you have any that you have tried, that ended up miserably? Let me know!

P.S. Keep voting in the poll on the right (see this post for explanation), time's ticking away!


  1. Well, I always like it mixed with honey and musli for breakfast.

    Alternatively, I've heard it's good for thrush and mixed with honey and oats can make a good face mask/scrub. That's suspiciously like my breakfast suggestion.

    I put it in potatoes in place of cream and butter and to make pasta sauces creamy.

    I'm a fan as you can see.

  2. PS. I know I said go to Belgium before, but that was quite honestly based on how close it is to other places. Belgium itself is a bit bleugh but a really good base to explore more of central Europe.

    If you want to just do one country, do Italy. Italy is soooo much better than Belgium(but it wasn't on the list before). I love Venice and Rome is amazing!!! (I just voted) If you are in the north, you can easily go for a day or over night trip to Austria if you fancied a change.

  3. Thank you for sharing, great tips!

    I'm a new follower from the Follow Me Back Tuesday hop! Please stop on by and follow me at http://www.mommydigger.com and say hello :)

  4. Greek/natural yoghurt is the BEST! I used to hate it... I always thought it tasted so tart, but once I weaned myself off the sugary fake yoghurt, I grew to love it.

    Love the suggestion of using it instead of sour cream. I think it tastes almost the same anyway! It's also beautiful with muesli, fresh fruit and a little squeeze of honey.

    Great post! xxx

  5. New follower from the Wed hop!

    Great blog!


  6. awesome! I was just thinking today, man I need to eat healthier :/ I'm gonna bookmark this page and get some Greek yogurt tomorrow! :)

  7. I love this post! I started eating Greek Yogurt (with fruit on the bottom... never could stomach just plain yogurt of any kind!) in the mornings because of the protein content and its portability (and because the prevailing theory about the cause of my odd symptoms may be hypoglycemia).

    I like the idea of using it instead of sour cream, especially if it is healthier. I'll have to try it with my pseudo-enchiladas and let you know how it turns out!

  8. I love this post. I've been buying this instead of the yogurt my husband picks up and I'm so glad to know I've been making the right choice. I mix mine with fruit and use it as a mini salad dressing on my salads as it give it a boost.
    I've got you book marked so I can come back and be a regular. ;) as I'm a GFC from my last visit.
    Grace/Blessed Elements/goinggreen

  9. Well I am a huge yogurt user already, but haven't tried the greek yogurt. Will see if they have it in vanilla as I always use vanilla yogurt in place of whipping cream for desert toppings. But maybe I can make the switch from sour cream to the plain greek yogurt. Will put in on my grocery list now. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I love regular yogurt but have never had the Greek variety. I'll have to try it. Thanks! I'm now your newest follower.


  11. I love using plain yogurt for dips. I mix a package of ranch seasoning with plain yogurt and it tastes better than store bought dips! Also good for salad dressing too. :)

  12. Hey Marlee! Another great post. I've actually been doing the greek yogurt as a dip for a while, of course I've loved greek yogurt from the very beginning. I use the Dill dip mix from Hidden Valley with the plain yogurt. So yummy for a veggie dip P=

  13. I make my own yogurt, so I will try the Greek style next time I need to restock. Thanks for the advice. Now following you!

  14. It's great used as a sour cream substitute! Tastes just like it. Thanks for stopping by the Sit and Relax weekend hop again! Have a great week!
    Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life

  15. I love Greek Yogurt! Thanks for joining our hop today, I am your newest follower.

    I just noticed you have a +1 widget. Has that gone in effect, I +1'd ya!!

    Mom's Online Garage Sale

  16. Love yogurt. I mostly mix it with nuts and fruit, but am going to try it on burritos and in dip instead of sour cream.

  17. Hello there, enjoyed this post and I can feel so smug as we eatGreek yoghurt a lot. I never knew it had so much protein though. Great for smoothies for the kids, and mixed with muesli for me. Hopped over from Lucy's Drab to Fab.

  18. I love yogurt too. I recently found some weight loss smoothie recipes and I love them. And not only did they help me lose weight, they also left me feeling satisfied. And yogurt sounds like a great thing to add in to the smoothies. Having them for breakfast and lunch really works for me.
    Weight Loss Smoothies Recips


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