I like to view healthy eating as a bit of a game. See, I’m a foodie and absolutely love a well-crafted, delicious meal. But I also love how I feel when I eat a healthful meal.
It becomes a fun challenge to try to combine the two into a truly great meal.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as finding a tasty and good-for-you recipe. Other times, it’s about making creative substitutions.
The best kind of substitution is one in which you can swap out a Really Bad Food™ with a Really Good Food™ and find that it tastes just as good — if not better!
Case in point: A good friend of mine once told me that his college roommate used to eat mayonnaise right out of the jar; he was a broke rock climber, you see, and found that mayo gave him the most calories for his buck. Yuck!
Personally, I think that low-fat mayonnaise tastes downright awful, even when it’s “hidden” in other foods. Instead, I’ve been enjoying Greek Yogurt as a spectacular substitute for mayo. It’s much thicker than regular yogurt — almost like a custard or a mascarpone cheese — and is much higher in protein.
One of my favorites is Fage Fat-Free Greek Yogurt, though unfortunately it’s not certified Organic. (It’s pronounced “Fa-Yeh,” by the way). Trader Joe’s also sells good 0% Greek Style Yogurts (both Organic and Not), but I find they’re a bit tarter than the Fage. There are a few other brands out there as well, of course, so go with whatever you find and/or prefer.
I should point out that I’m not telling you to never eat mayo. I’m just saying that when you do, make it count — don’t use it as an ingredient where it “disappears” into the recipe.
So here’s my “Hooray, it’s the weekend!” gift to you: Two recipes in which the yogurt sub works particularly well. You’ll never miss the mayo.
Wild Alaskan Salmon Salad
- 1 can 6 ounces Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon
- 1 stalk Celery chopped
- 1/3 cup Fat-Free Greek-Style Yogurt
- 1/2 tsp. Mustard
- 1/4 tsp. Dill
- Pinch Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
- Other items you can throw in for some crunch, color, and nutrients: Chopped Red Bell Pepper, Onion, Cucumber, Jalapeño... you get the idea.
Combine all ingredients.
Serve half the mixture rolled up in a 100% Whole Wheat Tortilla with a leaf of lettuce and some diced tomato (or however else you like).
Spinach Artichoke Dip
- 1 can artichoke hearts rinsed, drained, and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped cooked frozen spinach (thawed)
- 1/2 cup Greek-style Yogurt
- 1/4 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan romano, and/or asiago cheese
- 1 tsp. garlic powder not garlic salt
- Pinch ground pepper to taste
In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine all ingredients.
Heat on high in the microwave, in 30-45 second increments, stirring each time to be sure it heats evenly.
Alternately, you can double the recipe and bake in a casserole dish at 350° for 30 minutes, covered.
Sprinkle a little more mozzarella on top and bake uncovered at 450° for about 8 more minutes, until the cheese is browned.
Serve with 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Ak-Mak Crackers, or a few Reduced-Fat Triscuit Crackers.
Do you have a great yogurt-for-mayonnaise idea? Share it in the comments below!