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Get Chummy with Cheese

January 20, 2017 1 comment

By Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD

Despite a reputation for clogging arteries, cheese is still a beloved food. These days, you don’t have to shy away from cheese to keep healthful eating habits. Cheese can fit into a delicious eating plan and transform simple meals and dishes into culinary delights. The key is portion control and cheese selection.

Cheese contains saturated fat. Cooper Clinic recommends limiting saturated fat to less than six percent of total calories. For example, individuals needing 1,400 calories would aim to consume less than 9 grams of saturated fat per day. An individual needing 1,800 calories would aim to keep saturated fat less than 12 grams each day. Take a look at the cheese infographic below to compare some of your favorites and see how they fit into a balanced eating plan.

Babybel light cheese is a nutrition all-star. One piece is only 50 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat. It also has 6 grams of protein and 150 mg of calcium, which makes it an excellent cheese choice. Now take a look at Parmesan cheese. One ounce

(4 tablespoons) is 110 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat. Generally only 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese is plenty, since it has such robust flavor. One tablespoon of Parmesan Reggiano is approximately 27 calories and 1 gram of saturated fat. Try sprinkling roasted vegetables with Parmesan and experience the flavors magnify. This is especially true when roasting vegetables such as Brussels sprouts.

Feta, goat and sharp cheddar are also examples of modestly-flavored cheese. When you’re cooking and you want to maximize the cheese flavor while maintaining a healthy portion, these are the cheeses to use. Big flavor is achieved with small amounts.

These vegetable enchiladas are an example of how to maximize cheese flavor:

  • Spread fat-free refried black beans, sautéed spinach and mushrooms on to a corn tortilla
  • Roll tortilla and place seam side down in small pan
  • Top with green salsa and bake until hot
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle a small amount of feta cheese on top before serving

Moderation is the key to enjoying cheese healthfully. For more information about how Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services can help you build a healthy eating plan, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

cheeseinfographic-01