Say cheese! Here are our favorite cheeses that are healthier than you may think.

Ally Sorrells
September 04, 2019
Picture Alliance / Getty Images

From Gruyère to Gouda, we know a thing or two about cheese—probably because we love a good cheese board and hardly ever pass up on delicious, cheesy pizza. But because cheese is often high in saturated fat, sodium and calories, you're probably wondering if cheese is healthy.

Like with any food, eating too much isn't great, but cheese can absolutely fit into a healthy diet and has some health benefits as well (learn more about why cheese is good for you). Not only is it a good source of calcium (the cow's milk variety), but the fermentation process used to make some cheeses can be beneficial for your gut health. But with all of the different cheeses on the market, it can still be heard to pick your favorite. Here is a list of the 6 healthy cheeses that will leave you feeling better about your cheesy indulgences.

Parmesan

Pictured Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

Although high in sodium, Parmesan's pungent flavor means a little goes a long way. Not to mention, a 1-ounce serving has 10 grams of protein and over 25 percent of your daily calcium intake. Although it's a classic in Chicken Parmesan, you don't miss out on these delicious Baked Parmesan Zucchini Curly Fries.

Nutrition for a 1-ounce serving of Parmesan cheese:

  • Calories: 111
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Sodium: 333mg
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Calcium: 336mg
  • Phosphorus: 197mg
  • Vitamin A: 221 IU

Fresh Mozzarella

Pictured Image: Caprese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

From fresh caprese salads to margherita pizza, it has so many good uses that it would be a crime to pass up on this fresh cheese. Thankfully, it's pretty healthy. With 85 calories in a 1-ounce serving, this cheese is relatively low in calories and is perfect in pretty much any Italian dish.

Nutrition for a 1-ounce serving of mozzarella cheese:

  • Calories: 85
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Sodium: 138mg
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Calcium: 143mg
  • Phosphorus: 100mg
  • Vitamin A: 192 IU

Cottage Cheese

Pictured Recipe: Cottage Cheese and Roasted Tomato Topped Potato

With a whopping 24 grams of protein in one cup, cottage cheese is perfect to pair with some fruit for a filling afternoon snack. Be mindful of the sodium count and opt for a brand that doesn't add any sugar, and happy snacking! Learn more about why we love this cheese and RD-approved ways to enjoy it.

Nutrition for a ½-cup serving of 2% cottage cheese:

  • Calories: 92
  • Fat: 3g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 348mg
  • Carbs: 5g
  • Sugars: 5g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Calcium: 125mg
  • Phosphorus: 170mg
  • Potassium 141mg
  • Vitamin A: 267 IU

Ricotta Cheese

Pictured Recipe: Fig & Ricotta Toast

We're a sucker for spreadable cheese, and the mild yet slightly sweet taste of ricotta cheese makes it perfect for spreading on toast and pairing with jam. Or try mixing it into this Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake for a perfectly creamy dessert. Ricotta also works well in savory dishes. It has over 10% of your daily recommended Vitamin A IU and 9 grams of protein.

Nutrition for a ½-cup serving of whole milk ricotta cheese:

  • Calories: 186
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Sodium: 135mg
  • Carbs: 9g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Calcium: 255mg
  • Phosphorus: 191mg
  • Potassium: 272mg
  • Vitamin A: 552 IU

Swiss Cheese

Pictured Recipe: Kielbasa-&-Swiss Spaghetti Squash Casserole

If you're watching your sodium intake, this is the cheese for you. With only 53 mg of sodium per ounce, this cheese has a significant less amount than most other cheeses. Not to mention, the firm cheese is perfect for your turkey sandwich, mixed into a casserole or on a charcuterie board for an added depth of nutty flavor.

Nutrition for a 1-ounce serving of Swiss cheese:

  • Calories: 111
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Sodium: 53mg
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Calcium: 252mg
  • Phosphorus: 163mg
  • Vitamin A: 297 IU

Related: How to Build the Ultimate Fall Cheese Board From Trader Joe's for $40

Goat Cheese

Pictured Recipe: Beet & Goat Cheese Tartines

Since this decadent cheese isn't made from cow's milk, you may be able to enjoy it if you are lactose intolerant without worrying about unwelcomed tummy troubles. And your local grocery store may even have it in a variety of fun flavors—think herbs & garlic or maybe even a sweet treat like cranberry goat cheese. Enjoy it crumbled over salads, dipped on crackers or even spread on your sandwich.

Nutrition for a 1-ounce serving of goat cheese:

  • Calories: 75
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 130mg
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Calcium: 40mg
  • Vitamin A: 293 IU

Read more: Healthy Cheese Recipes

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