You just cannot beat gooey, melted cheese! Cheese can be a great topping on pizza, in a sandwich or as a snack. The selection of cheese available today are endless with so many unique flavours! You may not think too much about buying cheese but if you are trying to make healthy changes in your diet, cheese may be a good place to start. This post of “Simple Swaps” will talk about how you can find a cheese that tastes great but is also healthy.
Nutritional Benefits of Cheese
Cheese can be easily incorporated into a healthy diet because it contains so many great nutrients.
Cheese is a great source of:
Vitamins A and B12
There are so many varieties of cheese available at the grocery store that it can be confusing to know what type of cheese to purchase. The most important tip is to ensure you are actually buying REAL CHEESE. Products such as "slices" or "spreads" are processed cheese products and have added calories, salt, and other ingredients.
This is why I recommend making a simple swap to: real cheese.
Tips for Choosing and Eating Healthy Cheese
The next time you are buying cheese, keep these tips in mind:
Select low fat cheeses by looking at milk-fat content and the Nutrition Facts. Low-fat cheeses are made with low fat milk such as skim or partly skimmed milk which have less fat than whole milk. Choose cheeses with less than 20% milk fat (M. F.). These cheeses usually include mozzarella, cottage or ricotta which will still work well in casseroles or pasta dishes. Low fat cheeses do not compromise on the calcium content so they still have the great nutrients while skipping on excess fat.
Choose cheese that is low in sodium by looking at the amount of sodium per serving. Many cheeses are high in sodium because salt is added during the processing stage. Fresh cheeses on the other hand, tend to have less sodium. Try to avoid cheeses that have more than 400mg of sodium per serving.
Be mindful of portions when eating cheese. One serving of cheese is 50g of hard cheese or 1 pair of dice. Cut thinner slices of your favourite cheese or grating your cheese which makes it appear larger in quantity. Select cheeses with stronger flavour, such as old cheddar so you can be satisfied with a smaller portion of these cheeses.
Since there are so many types of cheeses out there in the market, it can be hard to find the healthiest one. The most important thing to do is ensure you are purchasing real cheese. Look for the words "cheese" clearly written on the label and avoid "processed cheese products".
It’s all about finding your favourite cheese with great flavour that will also give you the health benefits you need.
What’s your favourite cheese? This week I am enjoying Monterey Jack cheese with jalepeño!
PS. If you haven't already, be sure to register for my FREE How to Develop Healthy Habits Webinar that I am hosting TOMORROW (September 7th at 7pm). To register, click here.
Want to be healthier and more energized? The Muslimah’s Meal Plan is a 4 week step by step guide to help you get started!