(NewsUSA) - As the holiday season stretches on, you might start feeling a stretch in your waistline. While a decadent meal or two won't hurt, weeks of cakes, pies, cookie trays and homemade fudge definitely take their toll.
But you can make delicious holiday foods while still skimping on the fat and calories -- you just need the help of one surprising ingredient: yogurt.
Yogurt is far more than smoothies and granola -- low-fat, organic yogurt can substitute for higher-fat dairy, oil and shortening in recipes ranging from sour cream and onion dip to chocolate cake. Yogurt also provides protein and calcium, helping ease the guilt over an extra bite or two.
Not sure how to start? Stonyfield Farm provides the following tips for subbing yogurt in recipes:
Reduce the calories in dips and dressings by swapping one cup of yogurt for one cup of mayonnaise or sour cream. Substituting low-fat organic yogurt for sour cream saves 46 grams of
fat per cup.
Use yogurt to tenderize meat. Yogurt also makes an excellent oil-free marinade.
Skip the heavy cream, and use yogurt to thicken sauces. Just add a tablespoon of flour for every cup of yogurt.
Use less butter. Replace half the butter with half as much yogurt to save fat and calories. For example, if a cookie recipe calls for a cup of butter, use a half cup of butter with a quarter cup of yogurt, instead.
Use fewer eggs. If cholesterol's a concern, try substituting a quarter cup of yogurt per egg, for up to two eggs per recipe.
Use yogurt instead of buttermilk. If you only use buttermilk in one recipe, try using one cup of yogurt for every cup of buttermilk. You can also use yogurt instead of milk or water, but know to expect richer, moister results. Start by replacing one-quarter of the liquid with yogurt.