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Healthy Cheese Tips

Why Is Cheese Getting a Bad Rap?

Last week, The New York Times published a piece on a cheese push in menu items from popular restaurants like Domino's. Apparently, cheese sales in the US have slowed, thanks in part to health-conscious Americans choosing low- and no-fat cheese over whole milk and full-fat versions. It's certainly not a move in the wrong direction; full-fat cheese is the leading source of saturated fat in the country. But in a marketing effort, an organization called Dairy Management launched a campaign to get Americans to eat more cheese, and not everyone is happy with it.

While cheese isn't necessarily the healthiest option (one ounce can contain as much saturated fat as a glass of whole milk), it's not the enemy. While I would avoid, say, a Taco Bell quesadilla with three kinds of cheeses plus cream sauce, a healthy serving of cheese can be just that — healthy! Fellow cheese-lovers, check out tips for healthy consumption of the delicious dairy product after the break.

  • If you have a healthy cholesterol level, it's ok to consume 300 mg. of cholesterol each day. Depending on the type of cheese, a one-ounce serving can have as little as 15 mg. (part-skim mozzarella) or as much as 125 mg. (full-fat ricotta).
  • Don't forget, cheese is a source of calcium, too. One and a half ounces of Romano cheese contains 452 mg. of calcium, Swiss contains 336, and even pasteurized American cheese contains 323 mg. per serving. Adults should aim for 1,000 mg. of calcium daily.
  • A cheese is considered low-fat if contains 5 g. or less of fat per serving, so to enjoy all of the benefits of cheese guilt-free, substitute reduced-fat cheeses when you can.
  • If you're worried about watching your fat intake but don't want to give up cheese, choose a hard, flavorful variety like asiago or Parmesan. A little bit will go a long way when grated onto a salad, fresh veggies, or other healthy food!
  • Remember: everything in moderation! I say there is too much delicious, flavorful cheese out there to avoid it all together, just keep your intake in check. My personal rule of thumb has been to only indulge if the cheese really enhances the dish — say, shaved Parmesan on a simple salad over grated Parmesan on top of already-flavorful pasta.
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Join The Conversation
Soniabonya Soniabonya 6 years
goddess forbid I should go to a heaven without cheese.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 6 years
I love cheese and don't think the reduced fat cheeses taste that good. I will have a little of a good cheese once in awhile and enjoy it!!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 6 years
There is no way I could live in a cheese-free world. Definitely buy the better quality stuff though, for the reasons Wackdoodle mentioned.
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 6 years
I can't live without cheese, I LOVE it. I eat the reduced fat kind and try to limit myself to 1 serving a day.
Splintera Splintera 6 years
I love cheese! Feta cheese and halloumi cheese in particular. Also cottage cheese but I don't think that really counts as cheese, hehe.
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 6 years
No cheese for me! I don't think it is meant for human consumption, same goes for ALL dairy for that matter... to me at least.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I think that as a nationwide whole, we definitely consume WAY too much cheese. And like wackdoodle said, it's usually the cheap-o, highly processed Velveeta crap that's bad for you. GOOD cheese is probably fine. You can get away with using much less cheese if you use a good-quality, high-flavor cheese like Parmeggiano-Reggiano or Romano instead of boatloads of preshredded Mozzarella or Cheddar.
SaraNoH SaraNoH 6 years
I live for Brie cheese. too bad it's not exactly "light"
wackdoodle wackdoodle 6 years
I think the most important thing to keep in mind when buying and eating cheese is not to buy the cheap mass market packaged cheese, buy the highest quality cheese with your funds. Go to a cheese store (or the cheese counter at Whole Foods) and taste the different varieties. Find a variety you enjoy one that has the most and best flavor in a small portion. Then buy a small amount. Then when you are home you can eat a small amount and get a big bang from such a small quantity. You savor each bite then as opposed to munching through the package. A very rich and fully bodied imported Bleu Cheese/Stilton or Cheddar really gets makes me a happy Cheesefiend and a small piece satisfies while a big portions overwhelms.
darc5204 darc5204 6 years
The NYT piece was an interesting article. It doesn't really pass judgement on cheese, but instead serves up a big dish of governmental hypocrisy.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 6 years
I am trying to eat less meat and have found cheese to be a great alternative for protien as well. I always thoguth ti was "bad" but I am trying to incorporate it more into my diet.
Chelsea-Fitness Chelsea-Fitness 6 years
This is just what I needed to hear! (That cheese is healthy in moderation.) (Though I probably also needed to hear that it's wise to trade mozzarella for parmesan from time to time...) Thanks Kristen!
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