(NewsUSA) - Eating healthier isn't about deprivation, but replacing low-nutrient foods with healthy substitutes. Incorporating yogurt into basic recipes is the perfect way to start.
By using yogurt instead of sour cream, cream cheese, whipped cream or mayonnaise, meals become not only lower in calories and fat, but also higher in calcium and protein. In baked goods, yogurt can improve texture and keep foods moist. When it's not heated, yogurt provides live active cultures, which can aid digestion and provide immune system support.
Greek yogurt -- a thick strained yogurt -- is especially versatile in cooking. It can be used in dips, spreads and low-fat desserts, or in any recipe that calls for cream, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sour cream or other fats. You can even use Greek yogurt as an egg extender by replacing one egg with one-fourth cup yogurt.
For a decadent, reduced-fat dessert, try this recipe for Vanilla Cheesecake Made with Vanilla Greek Yogurt:
Made with Vanilla Oikos
Organic Greek Yogurt
Makes 10 Servings
2 1/2 cups shortbread cookies, finely ground
1/2 stick unsalted butter melted
1 1/2 cups vanilla Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt
4 large eggs
2 8-ounce packages low-fat cream cheese
1 cup super-fine sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
In a medium-sized bowl, mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press into a 9-inch spring form pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Add all ingredients for filling in bowl, and combine using food processor or hand mixer. Pour into cooled crust. Bake for 2 hours. Let cool overnight in refrigerator.