It doesn’t take much time or effort to polish off a bowl of spinach dip at a party. With a loaf of crusty bread and about 10 minutes, most partygoers can make easy work of this creamy dip. But it’s healthy, right? After all, it includes spinach, and you can see the flecks of the leafy green with every heaping scoopful.
Not so fast. Yes, spinach dip does contain the nutrient-rich vegetable, but it also includes a whopping amount of fat and calories, thanks to the full-fat sour cream and mayo that give the dip its creamy base.
Spinach dip isn’t the only food with an undeserved health halo surrounding it. Many casseroles, baked dishes, sauces and salad dressings rely on ingredients like mayo, full-fat cream cheese, sour cream or cheese for flavor. That doesn’t mean you have to give up these foods altogether, but try making the following swaps for healthier versions of your favorite creamy indulgences.
You can make a healthier version of creamy spinach dip by substituting reduced-fat cream cheese, nonfat yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese for the full-fat cheese, mayo and sour cream.
Try these other simple substitutions to make healthy changes to your favorite recipes.
When your recipe calls for:
Sour cream: Use nonfat plain yogurt instead.
Heavy cream: Use nonfat evaporated milk instead.
Cheese: Use low-fat or fat-free options instead.
Butter: Use cooking spray and/or nonstick cookware instead.
Cream cheese: Use nonfat ricotta cheese blended with nonfat plain yogurt, or low-fat Greek yogurt instead.
Whole milk: Use nonfat (skim) or low-fat milk instead.
Check with your doctor about the right diet for you.