Healthy Food Guide for Cheese

How to Enjoy Healthy Cheese

There are so many varieties of cheese in the world that you could eat a different kind every day for almost four years without repeating one. All cheese is a rich source of calcium, so sampling the abundance helps to strengthen your bones.

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The Health Benefits of Cheese

Pictured Recipe: Caprese Salad

Why cheese is good for you

What you get: Although relatively high in calories and saturated fat, cheese is rich in calcium and provides some protein and phosphorus.

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How to Shop for the Best Cheese

Pictured Recipe: Garden Pizza

How to Shop for the Best Cheese

Shopping Tips: Because cheese has high levels of saturated fat, which is linked with elevated LDL cholesterol levels, it’s a good idea to choose “reduced-fat,” 2% or “part-skim” varieties. Products labeled “reduced-fat” contain 25 percent less fat than their regular counterparts. Some lower-fat cheeses, such as part-skim mozzarella, melt better than others, such as reduced-fat Cheddar, so experiment to find one you like.

When only a full-fat cheese will do, choose one with a sharp, strong flavor and use it judiciously -- a little goes a long way. While there’s not much of a caloric difference between hard and soft cheeses, harder cheeses generally have sharper flavors, so you can use less and still get a lot of flavor.

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How to Cook with Cheese

Pictured Recipe: Caramelized Onion Lasagna

How to Cook with Cheese

Cooking Tip: If you want to reduce the amount of cheese in baked dishes to cut down on fat, skip the cheese in fillings and instead use it just as a topping. This will give the biggest flavor impact. Use a combination of reduced-fat cream cheese and pureed nonfat cottage cheese instead of sour cream to reduce calories and saturated fat in dips. Skip full-fat ricotta cheese; using part-skim ricotta in recipes like calzones or lasagna saves about 50 calories and 6 grams of fat for every 1/2 cup. And it's every bit as rich and creamy.

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Pictured Recipe: Bean Bolognese

Bean Bolognese

Fiber-rich beans stand in for the beef and pork in this surprisingly rich-tasting vegetarian take on pasta Bolognese. Without the meat, the dish has only a third of the fat and 80 percent less saturated fat. To make the perfect meal, serve with a peppery arugula salad and warm, crusty Italian bread.

Bean Bolognese

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Broccoli & Goat Cheese Souffle

This elegant broccoli and goat cheese soufflé will wow your family and friends. Soufflés are surprisingly easy to make—the only trick is getting them on the table before they deflate. Serve with: A tomato-and-fennel salad and, for dessert, fresh strawberries drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Broccoli & Goat Cheese Souffle

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Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits with Chives

These chive-flecked cornmeal biscuits taste best made with extra-sharp Cheddar, but any type of Cheddar will work.

Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits with Chives

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Pictured Recipe: Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Pasta

This ooey-gooey pasta dish is a crowd-pleaser for adults and kids alike—think rich and creamy macaroni-and-cheese tossed with cauliflower and chicken. Serve with a spinach salad.

Cheesy Chicken Pasta

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Cheesy Polenta & Egg Casserole

This memorable brunch centerpiece is rich with cheesy polenta, crumbled sausage and baked eggs.

Cheesy Polenta & Egg Casserole

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Pictured Recipe: Parmesan Spinach Cakes

Parmesan Spinach Cakes

If you like spinach-cheese pie, try these simple but elegant-looking little spinach cakes.

Parmesan Spinach Cakes

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Pictured Recipe: Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip

Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip

This roasted eggplant and feta dip gets a kick from a fresh chile pepper and cayenne pepper. There are countless variations on this classic meze (appetizer) in Greece. Out-of-season eggplant or eggplant that has been heavily watered often has an abundance of seeds, which make the vegetable bitter. Be sure to taste the dip before you serve it; if it's a touch bitter, you can remedy that with a little sugar. Serve with toasted pita crisps or as a sandwich spread.

Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip

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Pictured Recipe: Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

The South's version of creamy polenta, grits are easy to make on a weeknight—especially when topped with quickly broiled shrimp and scallions. Use the sharpest Cheddar you can find for these cheesy grits. Serve with: Sautéed greens and a tall glass of iced tea.

Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

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More Healthy Recipes with Cheese

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