Cheese Healthy Food Guide
Peak season: Available year-round.
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.
But 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.
Healthy Cheese Recipes
What you get
Although relatively high in calories and saturated fat, cheese is rich in calcium and provides some protein and phosphorus.
Reduced-fat doesn’t necessarily mean reduced-taste. Experiment with reduced-fat varieties of your favorite cheeses to find your favorites.
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.