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3 ways to spice up that plain yogurt

So your eating plan has prescribed plain yogurt for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (or at least one of your meals), but you just can't stomach the idea of eating a whole serving of the creamy but tasteless concoction.

Years ago, we all used to eat and use plain yogurt. Then sweetened yogurt happened. Suddenly we had sweetened fruit "on the bottom" and sugar everywhere in between, with all sorts of flavors to choose from -- from key lime pie to coffee. And frankly, we've never looked back.

Trouble is, this fancy, flavored yogurt contains about 27 grams of sugar per 6-ounce serving and 170 calories compared with plain, low-fat yogurt, which has around 110 calories and no added sugar. It's time to get back to plain yogurt, don't you think?

But how do we do this after teasing our taste buds with a cornucopia of sweet flavors? We need to use plain yogurt in new ways, and we need to think up some fun, more healthful ways to sweeten and flavor plain yogurt.

The way I see it, you can spice up that plain yogurt at least three ways:

  • Substitute plain yogurt as an ingredient in recipes or as a topping.
  • Use it as a base for dips and spreads.
  • Dress it up with tasty, lower-sugar ingredients for a snack.

You can start to incorporate plain yogurt into your day using one of these ways, or all three! See what works for you.

Yummy yogurt ideas

  • Topping Ideas. Top your nachos, chili, enchiladas, tacos, and casseroles with plain yogurt, or try a mixture of fat-free sour cream and plain yogurt (stir equal amounts of each together). You can still journal the total amount of mixture used as plain unsweetened yogurt since fat-free sour cream is nutritionally close to plain yogurt.

  • Creamier Smoothies. Add plain yogurt to your favorite smoothies. It adds creaminess! Simply substitute plain yogurt for any frozen yogurt or ice cream listed in the original smoothie recipe.

  • Substitute yogurt for sour cream or mayonnaise. Depending on the recipe, you can use plain yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise. In a heated sauce, yogurt might not work as well as fat-free sour cream, which has gums and other soluble fibers added. So you may need to stir a tablespoon of cornstarch into a cup of yogurt before heating.

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