You don’t normally see cheese on healthy food lists, but it’s part of pretty much everyone’s diet.
No matter how healthy I eat, there is always room for a little cheese. This month, I did some research on the healthiest types of cheese that you can enjoy at breakfast, lunch and dinner. In general, choose cheeses that are low in sodium and fat — soft cheeses tend to have higher amounts of both.
Here are 5 cheeses to try next time you go grocery shopping:
1. Cottage Cheese: A white curd cheese that is a light flavor, it mixes well with both sweet and savory ingredients. Mix it with fruit in the morning or top off a bowl of pasta and tomato sauce for a light dinner. Cottage cheese is high in phosphorous that aids in bone health and it contains all 9 amino acids. It comes in a variety of types: regular, low fat and nonfat. Low and nonfat are recommended since they contain less fat. While it has various nutritional benefits, it is high in sodium and portion size is key. A one four oz. serving size of low 1 % milk fat cottage contains 81 calories, 1.15 grams of fat and 459 mg of sodium.
2. Goat Cheese: Most popular in France and Spain, this white creamy cheese can be found soft or hard and has a tart flavor. Easier to digest than cow products, goat cheese can be a great alternative for people who are intolerant to cow’s milk. Goat cheese is packed with flavor. Use it in moderation — a little goes a long way. Toss into salads, top off roasted vegetables or add into a fruit salad. Goat cheese is low in calories, fat and has less sodium than feta. One ounce of soft goat cheese contains 76 calories, 6g of fat and 130 mg of sodium.
3. Swiss: A hard cheese that is full of flavor. Swiss is a great lunch alternative to higher fat sandwich cheeses like provolone and cheddar. Chop up slices to use in a Cobb salad. Swiss is high in vitamin A and low in calories, fat and sodium. One ounce contains 180 calories, 7.88g of fat and 76 mg of sodium.
4. Parmesan: Originally from Italy, Parmesan has now become a house hold name. A dry cheese, it is easy to grate and has a salty, nutty flavor. Toss into salads, on pasta or top off risotto. Portion size is important. While Parmesan contains vitamin A and is low in fat, it still contains a fair amount of sodium. One ounce of Parmesan contains 111 calories, 7.32 g of fat and 390 mg of sodium.
5. Part-Skim Mozzarella: Whole milk, part skim — what is the difference? Part skim has less fat in it and is the healthier choice. Another Italian favorite, mozzarella mixes well in almost any dish. Grate it or melt it. Part skim fresh mozzarellas contain less sodium than hard mozzarellas. Mozzarella is packed with minerals and vitamins, low in both fat and sodium. One ounce of mozzarella contains 72 calories, 4.5 g of fat and175 mg of sodium.
Are you a cheese addict? Don’t fret — there are healthy ways you can enjoy your favorite food. Moderation is key.