Who doesn’t love cheese? Sliced on crackers. Melted on pizza. Grated over spaghetti. And the good news is, cheese is a nutritious food with important health benefits! It can fit into any healthy eating plan.
So as a registered dietitian nutritionist and self-proclaimed cheese aficionado, I’m officially giving you permission to enjoy cheese with these seven delicious ways.
1. Naturally Low-Fat Cheeses
It is important to take all things in moderation. There’s actually new research that is changing the way we talk about saturated fat, particularly in whole fat dairy foods like cheese, but you may still be interested in a lower fat option. There are cheeses that are naturally lower in fat, like Parmesan, mozzarella, Neufchatel and Camembert.
2. Naturally Low-Salt Cheeses
If a lower sodium option fits the bill, focus on cheeses that are naturally low in salt, like Mozzarella, Swiss, Monterey Jack, ricotta and cottage cheese.
3. Cheese for Weight Loss
Dieting is hard, but there’s good news. If you’re trying to lose weight, keep some cheese on hand for snacking. Studies have shown that the high protein (and awesome taste) in cheese is so satisfying, it will help curb your cravings for unhealthy foods. In fact, full-fat cheese, specifically, might be beneficial for weight management in men.
4. Cheese for Cleaner Teeth
Cheese has been shown to reduce the acidity in your mouth – which means it’s a good way to fight cavities between your twice-daily brushing. Eat a little bit after lunch or for an afternoon snack.
5. Cheese with Veggies
A lot of us are picky eaters, especially when it comes to vegetables. But drizzle that cauliflower with cheese sauce? Sprinkle that salad with cheddar? Let me at it! Cheese is a great way to make those vital veggies more attractive.
6. Cheese for Dessert
Another way to enjoy cheese is to substitute it for some of your empty-calorie foods. Cheese is a complex food with simple ingredients and is more nutrient-packed than, say, a slice of cake, so enjoy it with some with grapes or other fresh fruit as a post-meal treat.
7. Cheese Instead of Meat
Dairy includes all nine essential amino acids (the amino acids your body can’t produce by itself) which makes it a complete protein. Sprinkle some low-fat cheese with black beans for protein packed and vegetarian-friendly meals.
Cheese can be a delicious and nutritious part of any diet!