Healthier Swaps: Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream
It’s very trendy these days to substitute Greek yogurt for a whole bunch of stuff in both cooking and baking. While I admit that Greek yogurt doesn’t belong in EVERYTHING, I think it can go wherever sour cream can.
A friend of mine, who also happens to be a dietitian, had me over for dinner a while back. She was serving chili and had a container of Greek yogurt on the table. I was a little confused, like, what am I supposed to do with that? When I saw her scoop some to top on her bowl of chili, I realized what was going on. Really? Because we’re dietitians we have to do this weird stuff? To be polite and not feel stupid I did the same. Turns out Greek yogurt and sour cream taste super similar! It wasn’t weird at all. Now this is something I do regularly and I even got my husband to make the switch. That took a little convincing at first, but after getting over the initial skepticism, he's grown much more accustomed to it. Just last week we had a homemade taco night, and he didn't hesitate to garnish his tacos with Greek yogurt.
Let’s compare 2 Tablespoons sour cream, light sour cream and plain non-fat Greek yogurt to see what the differences are all about:
As you can see, the biggest difference between all three is the calorie and fat content. If weight loss is a goal of yours, the swap is definitely worth it. The Greek yogurt also has more protein. Interestingly though, sour cream actually has a little more potassium compared to Greek yogurt. Overall the calcium content is all about the same. Despite the fact that sour cream is a fermented product, probiotics are generally not added back in, so Greek yogurt has the added benefit of probiotics. Those little guys promote a healthy GI tract.
For swapping a dollop of sour cream on your baked potato, taco or chili, a 1-to-1 ratio for non-fat free Greek yogurt will do the trick. In addition, Greek yogurt can be added to dressings or dips as a substitute for cream or mayonnaise (at least in part). A quick internet search will yield some nice recipes detailing how you can do this. One of our summer favorites are fish tacos, with a chipotle dressing made with Greek yogurt.
When cooking and baking, you may want to consider using Greek Yogurt that’s made with whole milk. Fat adds thickness and prevents curdling, so you don’t want to take all of it away from certain recipes. You won’t have the same amount of calorie and fat reduction, but you’ll still get the added protein.