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.
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.
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.
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.
Pictured Recipe: 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.
Pictured Recipe: Broccoli & Goat Cheese Souffle
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.
Pictured Recipe: Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits with Chives
Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits with Chives
These chive-flecked cornmeal biscuits taste best made with extra-sharp Cheddar, but any type of Cheddar will work.
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.
Pictured Recipe: Cheesy Polenta & Egg Casserole
Cheesy Polenta & Egg Casserole
This memorable brunch centerpiece is rich with cheesy polenta, crumbled sausage and baked eggs.
Pictured Recipe: Parmesan Spinach Cakes
Parmesan Spinach Cakes
If you like spinach-cheese pie, try these simple but elegant-looking little spinach cakes.
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.
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.
More Healthy Recipes with Cheese