Calories in Plain Low-Fat Yogurt

Low-fat, plain yogurt is a nutrient-rich food with some pretty impressive health benefits. Low-fat means that it is made from low-fat, or 2 percent, milk rather than whole milk. Plain means that it doesn't have any added flavors, sugars or preservatives. If you don't like the taste of plain yogurt, try adding a teaspoon of honey or fresh fruit. Even with these additions, low-fat, plain yogurt is still a healthier option than flavored yogurts made from whole milk that tend to be high in saturated fat and sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Yogurt is a dietary source of calcium, protein and several vitamins such as potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and zinc. If you choose the low-fat, plain variety, you'll get a lot of nutrients for a small amount of calories. As an added bonus, most yogurts also contain healthy bacteria. These bacteria promote digestive health and can kill harmful microorganisms.

Yogurt is a source of saturated fat. The American Heart Association advises limiting saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of your total daily calories. This amounts to less than 16 g based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. One serving of low-fat yogurt typically has around 2 g of saturated fat. The exact amount will vary depending on the brand, so check the product label. Even if your preferred brand varies slightly, it shouldn't be enough to put you even close to your daily limit. If you're concerned, you can always choose a non-fat yogurt instead.

In addition to the fat content and the flavor, you also have to choose between traditional yogurt and Greek yogurt. The benefit to Greek yogurt is that it has more protein than regular yogurt. Dr. Helen Battisti told Fox40, that Greek yogurt has approximately 20 g of protein per cup compared to about 11 g in regular yogurt. Greek yogurt also has a thicker texture and less natural sugar than regular yogurt.

Yogurt can be a snack or part of a healthy breakfast, but it can also be used as a way to eliminate fat and calories from many traditional recipes. Try swapping plain yogurt for oil in baked goods. You can also use regular or Greek yogurt as a mayonnaise substitute on sandwiches or chicken and tuna salads. Greek yogurt also makes a healthy sour cream substitute in many dishes.

Calories in Plain Low-Fat Yogurt

Many people skip over plain low-fat yogurt for flavored varieties while grocery shopping, primarily because of the tart taste of plain yogurt. However, it is often a healthier option with no added sugar and more protein than its flavored counterparts.

Plain low-fat yogurt contains 143 calories per 8-oz. container, which is considered the standard serving by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A majority of the calories comes from the yogurt's carbohydrate content.

Plain low-fat yogurt contains several essential nutrients. Of most importance, one 8-oz. serving has 16 g of protein and 42 percent of the suggested daily calcium requirement. Plain low-fat yogurt also is an excellent source of riboflavin, vitamin B12, phosphorus and zinc.

Many weight loss programs list low-fat dairy, including plain yogurt, as a healthy snack option because of its high-protein content, which can assist in weight management. Try mixing plain low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit, such as blueberries or raspberries, for a quick, filling snack to stave off hunger between breakfast and lunch.

Plain low-fat yogurt is also commonly listed as an ingredient substitute to reduce the fat and calorie content in many recipes. You can use low-fat plain yogurt instead of sour cream as a dressing base or on top of a baked potato; it can also replace ice cream in your morning fruit smoothie.

How to Bake With Plain Low-Fat Yogurt

Low-fat yogurt can be substituted for a variety of high-fat ingredients when baking at home. Using yogurt in your recipes can add moisture and creaminess to your baked goods without sacrificing taste or texture.

Step 1
Replace only half the butter in your recipe with yogurt. Use half the amount of yogurt as butter. For example, if your cookie recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, use 1/2 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of low-fat yogurt. This will eliminate over 800 calories and 80g of fat from your baked goods. If your recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter, use 1/4 cup of butter and 1/8 cup of low-fat yogurt, saving 400 calories and 40g of fat.

Step 2
Substitute low-fat yogurt for sour cream in equal amounts. Use 1 cup of yogurt for each cup of sour cream.

Step 3
Drain the yogurt to remove moisture and you may substitute it for oil in equal amounts -- cup for cup. This works well in brownies, cookies, cakes and muffins.

Step 4
Add richness to baked goods by using low-fat yogurt instead of water. Although this will add some fat and calories to your finished product, it will also make the texture much creamier.

- Start by only replacing a portion of the fat with yogurt. Make notes about your recipe substitutions and the results.
- Yogurt may add more moisture to your recipe, which could increase baking time slightly.

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