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Thursday, May 30, 2013

For the Love of Greek Yogurt

In March, I could no longer squeeze into my jeans. I had run a half-marathon in September, and lost a ton of weight during my training. But after the run, I kept eating as if I were burning that extra 500-1000 calories per day. Except I wasn't running anymore.

I started back into my routine of cardio classes at the Y three times per week (a big shout-out for the free child care included at the Y during my workouts!), and that definitely helped. But my eating was still out of control.

In April I committed to really getting back on track and back in my skinny jeans. The biggest change I made was incorporating creamy, protein-packed, fat-free Greek Yogurt. I was thrilled when, a few weeks ago, Bzz Agent offered me the chance to join the FAGE Total campaign.

I had tried a few other brands of Greek yogurt, and I have since switched to FAGE Total 0%. It is creamier than some of the others, and has a more mild taste with less tang. And it tastes delicious in just about everything!

Not sure what to do with Greek yogurt? Here are a few of my favorite ideas, just to get you started:

Blueberry Oatcake for Breakfast
To make one huge blueberry oatcake, whisk 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 3 ounces of egg whites in a small bowl. Heat a small skillet with a spritz of vegetable oil; add the batter and cook 3 minutes; flip; cook 1 minute more. Enjoy topped with 1/2 cup FAGE Total 0%, 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds, 1/2 cup sliced bananas, and a drizzle of maple syrup. All that for just 400 calories!

Reduced-Calorie, Reduced-Fat Salad Dressing
Greek yogurt makes my salad-lunches super. Simply mix 1/2 teaspoon of any vinaigrette with 1 tablespoon FAGE Total 0% and 1 tablespoon of water. I did this with Greek dressing to change it from 100 calories per serving to just 16! Check out the salad below: 2 cups of spring mix, 1 cup of leftover tabbouleh salad, and 16 calories worth of dressing (bottled Greek dressing + FAGE Total 0%).

Snack Attack: Veggies & Dip
Greek yogurt is my go-to replacement in recipes that call for sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, even butter. It's fantastic in dip recipes! In the afternoon, I love crunching on fresh veggies with spinach dip. To make a single serving, mix 1/4 cup FAGE Total 0%, 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed), and 2 teaspoons of sun-dried tomato pesto. Enjoy with a bunch of fresh veggies for about 150 calories. Add some whole-grain crackers, low-fat cheese, and some fruit for a light, fun summer lunch. (NOTE: I couldn't get my camera out quickly enough; the photo below was taken after I had devoured about half of the dip and vegetables.)

Don't Forget Dessert
When I want a treat that feels indulgent, I whisk 1/2 cup FAGE Total 0% with 1 tablespoon of any flavor sugar-free fat-free instant pudding mix (I keep a few flavors on hand to change things up) and 1 or 2 tablespoons of reduced-fat soy milk, all for about 95 calories. If you have an extra minute and don't mind cleaning a kitchen appliance, try using a hand-mixer or blender to whip up your treat and transform it from "pudding" to "mousse." Want something more? Try mix-ins:

  • use lemon pudding and mix in a handful of blueberries or raspberries
  • use white chocolate pudding and mix in some sliced strawberries & half of a graham cracker, crushed
  • use chocolate pudding and mix in 1 teaspoon of chocolate chips or butterscotch chips
  • use banana pudding and mix in sliced strawberries
  • use vanilla pudding with some chopped pineapple and a sprinkle of shredded coconut

You can even pop your creation in the freezer for 45 minutes or so for a frosty treat.

Greek yogurt is probably the biggest single contributor to my weight loss. I'm counting calories, but thanks to this protein power house, I never feel hungry after a meal or a snack. My eating habits are back on track and have allowed me to lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks. You can do it too! 

Be sure to Post a Comment and let us know about your favorite way to enjoy Greek yogurt. As always, thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: While I received FAGE Total 0% Greek yogurt for free through Bzz Agent, I was not compensated for this post. The ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.

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