Cheese, Cheese, Cheese!
Lots of us have a love/hate relationship with cheese. We love how it goes with a good glass of wine, tops a pizza or is a handy snack. We don’t care so much for its saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium content. The good news is that cheese can be part of a healthy diet. Here are a few things to consider:
- Cheese, a good source of protein and calcium, is a dairy food. Adults need three servings daily from this food group and most don’t meet this goal.
- Most cheese contains more sodium and saturated fat, yet less potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin D than milk or yogurt. For this reason, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that you choose milk and yogurt more often than cheese.
- Some cheeses are naturally lower in fat than others. Fresh mozzarella, soft goat cheese, and string cheese have the same amount of fat as reduced-fat versions of cheddar, Swiss, and provolone.
- Some cheeses are naturally lower in sodium than others. Swiss cheese and fresh mozzarella have less than 100mg of sodium per ounce. Low-sodium versions of cheese can contain just a few milligrams per serving.
- Using visuals can help you stick to the right serving size. For example, 1.5 ounces of cheese is about the size of a 9-volt battery. One ounce of cheese is like a small matchbox or your thumb.
- Get the taste you love with less fat and sodium by using a smaller amount of more flavorful cheese. A little freshly grated Parmesan goes a long way on a salad. A thin slice of extra sharp cheddar does the same for a sandwich or burger. Keep your favorite cheese longer by grating and freezing it.
- Skip the processed cheese. One ounce of American cheese has more than 450mg of sodium! And the artificial taste really doesn’t compare to the real thing.
Adapted from foodandhealth.com