Here’s how to satisfy your cheese cravings without getting too much of the unhealthy fat and salt.
It’s a delicious snack, loved the world over, and the good news is that cheese is also very nutritious. It’s high in protein, which helps keep us feeling full, and is also a good source of calcium for healthy bones. In fact, one serving of cheese equates to one-third of your daily dairy needs.
Now for the not-so-good news. Cheese can be really high in salt, especially the strong-flavoured varieties like parmesan, feta and haloumi.
Better choices are varieties such as Swiss, Jarlsberg or mozzarella, which are lower in salt. Cheese is also high in saturated fat and kilojoules, so being a little overzealous with the cheese knife can contribute to weight gain.
Look for reduced-fat varieties where possible, which can range from being 25 to 80 per cent less in fat than the regular kind, so you can still say ‘cheese!’
Your healthy picks
A little goes a long way with this flavoursome Greek cheese. It’s perfect to crumble over salads for a boost of flavour. Stick to a small 20g cube (the size of two dice) as it’s high in salt.
Ricotta has a smooth texture and a light flavour. Use it as a healthier alternative to cream. It works well in sweet or savoury dishes. Try spreading it on grainy toast for a high-protein snack.
Low-fat cottage cheese is low in kilojoules but also high in hunger-busting protein, making it a popular snack if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s also a source of tummy-friendly probiotics.
Instead of smothering meals in lashings of melted cheese, sprinkle over a tablespoon of grated parmesan. It’s loaded with taste, so you’ll only need a small amount for pastas and salads.
Size it right
Here’s how you can enjoy a healthy portion of your favourite cheese.
Soft cheese, e.g. Brie, Camembert = 1/5 wedge of a 200g wheel
Hard cheese, e.g. cheddar = 2 thin slices/’singles’ (40g)
Smooth cheese, e.g. ricotta, cottage = 1/2 cup (120g)