5 ways to smile and say ‘cheese’



I’ve met very few people who don’t absolutely love cheese. And what’s not to love? It tastes fabulous, it gets all gooey and delicious when it melts, and it is in many comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, nachos and pizza.

It also can add a lot of fat and calories ““ and often sodium. It is easy to overdo it on the portion size for cheese, adding more calories and fat than you may have intended to a snack or meal. It is easy to see why many think that cheese must not be healthy or “allowed” when they are trying to lose weight or eat healthier, in general.

But don’t put down the parmesan just yet.

Cheese has a lot to offer where nutrition is concerned. It is high in calcium and Vitamin D and many are high in protein, too. Cheese can add a nice kick of flavor to a meal, and it is quite portable as a snack.

There are many types of cheeses with a range of flavors from mild and creamy brie to robust and crumbly bleu to sharp-tasting cheddar. Several can be found in low-fat or even fat-free varieties, and some are naturally lower in fat than others like mozzarella, feta or goat cheese.

Here are five tips for including cheese in your diet without going overboard on fat and calories:

  1. Cheese to go: Opt for cheese that is already wrapped and portioned out like low-fat string cheese. With 6 grams of protein and only 50 calories, this is a fantastic snack to take to work or toss into a packed lunch.
  2. Go Greek: Add feta cheese to your salad, which can be found in low-fat and fat-free varieties. This soft cheese has a strong flavor, so even if you prefer the full-fat version, just using a little goes a long way.
  3. A good partner: Low-fat cottage cheese is not only high in calcium, but it is naturally loaded with protein to help you feel fuller longer. And it is incredibly versatile ““ add pineapple, peaches or tomatoes for a light lunch or a terrific afternoon snack.
  4. For pasta ““ and more: Parmesan is a hard cheese with a robust flavor that is naturally lower in fat. Break away from only using it on pasta. Parmesan adds a big pop of flavor when shaved onto a salad or served in small slices with apples or pears.
  5. Portion control: Finally, always keep in mind the proper serving sizes. A serving of shredded cheese is ¼ cup and ½ cup is a serving of cottage cheese. As a visual aid, a serving of cheese cubes would be about the size and shape of a pair of dice or the size of your thumb.

Keep all this in mind and you can, in fact, smile when you say “Cheese.”