This Meatless Tweak Packs More Protein Into Your Sandwiches

This fridge staple is vegetarian-friendly and gives your sammies that restaurant feel.
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While mayonnaise is an integral ingredient in signature subs like BLTs and chicken, tuna or egg salad, the classic condiment — which doesn't offer much in the way of nutrients — isn't conducive to your health.

Luckily, there's a simple way to tweak your sandwich topper that'll provide health benefits without sacrificing deliciousness.

Believe it or not, Greek yogurt makes a surprisingly stellar substitute for mayonnaise. Comparably creamy, it touts a similar texture to mayo but packs way more protein, contains gut-friendly probiotics and less fat. And although Greek yogurt is known for sweet treats like berry parfaits, it's equally tasty when incorporated into savory fare like sandwiches.

How to Use Greek Yogurt as a Mayo Substitute

You can substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise in a one-to-one ratio.

"Greek yogurt tends to have a thicker consistency than mayo, but it still works in almost every recipe," Ella Davar, RD, CDN, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

That's especially true if you use Davar's handy trick to achieve just the right mayo-like texture: Don't drain the liquid part of the yogurt that often appears at the top. Not only do these liquids contain good-for-you whey protein, but when mixed with the solid yogurt, they can create a perfectly smooth, creamy consistency comparable to mayo, Davar says.

Also, to ensure that you're getting all the yummy flavor of mayo, you may need to experiment with seasoning. Squeeze a little lemon juice for a zingy zest, shake a smidge of Himalayan salt or add anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, such as garlic, dill, thyme and oregano for an extra punch of flavor and health benefits, Davar says.

If you're not ready to go Greek all the way, try subbing just half the mayo your recipe calls for with Greek yogurt.

Tip

Why stop at sandwiches? You can use Greek yogurt as a healthy base for all creamy, mayo-based dips, sauces and salad dressings, Davar says. Think: spinach-artichoke dip and ranch dressing.

Greek Yogurt vs. Mayo Nutrition

The nutritional differences between Greek yogurt and mayonnaise are major, with the former coming out on top as the healthier option.

1. Greek Yogurt Packs More Protein and Fewer Calories

"Protein is the building block of muscles that helps with healthy weight loss" by keeping you feeling full, Davar says. And by subbing in Greek yogurt for mayo in sandwiches, you seamlessly bump up your protein intake.

Clocking in at 10 grams of protein and 110 calories per 1/2 cup serving, plain Greek yogurt (made with whole milk) is a great source of protein (both casein and whey) whereas mayo contains a measly 1 gram of protein per 1/2 cup — not to mention, 771 calories.

2. Greek Yogurt Has Healthier Fat

While plain full-fat Greek yogurt and mayo both contain fats, it's the quality of the fats that makes the difference, Davar says.

Mayo (in most instances) is a highly processed food made with low-quality vegetable oils rich in omega-6s and omega-9s, which are associated with a greater risk of heart disease, Davar explains.

Conversely, plain Greek yogurt contains fats that are beneficial for our cell membranes and are linked to lower rates of stroke, Davar says. Indeed, dairy foods possess fatty acids such as pentadecanoic acid that are associated with staving off obesity and cardiometabolic issues, according to a May 2020 paper in Scientific Reports.

3. Yogurt Has Probiotics

Unlike mayo, Greek yogurt is plentiful in powerful probiotics. Plain probiotic yogurt supports the diversity of beneficial gut bacteria, which is associated with better digestive health, Davar says.

What's more, a balanced gut microbiome plays an important role in weight management, a healthy immune system and inflammation, Davar adds.

4. Greek Yogurt Delivers More Vitamins and Minerals

While mayo offers some vitamin E and K (3 and 19 percent of your DV, respectively), plain Greek yogurt provides a greater array of nutrients including calcium (8 percent of DV) and vitamin B12 (31 percent of DV), as well as smaller amounts of potassium, magnesium and zinc.

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