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Substitutions for Sour Cream

Jun 24, 2010

Sour cream is typically used as a dipping sauce or as an ingredient in specific sauces or even dessert recipes. While sour cream is a popular choice among many dieters, its fat and calorie content make it extremely detrimental to good health. Below are two great alternatives to sour cream that have lower fat and calories contents, and can actually contribute to good health.

Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the best substitutions for sour cream. Unlike sour cream, which is typically loaded with sodium and calories, yogurt has modest amounts of sodium. And depending on the brand and style you purchase it can be relatively low in calories. In addition, yogurt provides many health benefits. It is a rich source of calcium, which is essential for strong bones and healthy teeth.

Yogurt also contains high amounts of protein, making it a great alternative for vegans or vegetarians. Keep in mind that yogurt has a thinner texture than sour cream, and if either you or your dinner guests have finicky tastes, you may have to "cheat" a bit to get the desired texture. To get thicker yogurt, spread a cheesecloth over a clean bowl and pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth. Let the yogurt drain overnight. In the morning, squeeze the cheesecloth with the yogurt inside to remove any remaining moisture. The remaining yogurt will be much thicker, and it will more closely resemble sour cream.

Keep in mind that while yogurt is relatively low in sodium and calories, it can contain high amounts of fat. For best results, choose a yogurt that is made from low- or non-fat milk. Finally, when purchasing yogurt, try to purchase a variety that is free of added sugar, preservatives, and other additives that can diminish the nutritional quality.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is another great alternative for sour cream, and like yogurt it is a rich source of both protein and calcium, which are essential for bone health and optimal growth. In addition, cottage cheese is typically much lower in fat and calories than sour cream, making it a healthier choice. Obviously, cottage cheese has a much different texture than sour cream. Its curds make it distinguishable to even amateur palates.

For a cottage cheese that more closely resembles sour cream, start by draining the product using the same method as described above for yogurt. Once the cottage cheese has been throughly drained, place it in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixture, slowly and carefully puree the cottage cheese, bringing it to a smooth texture. While it is impossible to get cottage cheese completely smooth, you will be able to reduce the texture significantly. As with yogurt, for best results look for cottage cheese in its most natural form. In addition, keep in mind that cottage cheese can often be purchased with a reduced fat or calorie content, resulting in an even healthier product.

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