When You Love Cheese But Want To Be Healthy
If you love cheese as much as I do then you’re probably also a little nervous every time a cheese platter shows up. You know you’ll take that thing down, all on your own, if nobody stops you. Cheese really shouldn’t have the bad rap it does, though. When you eat the right portions, cheese offers calcium, protein, and other important nutrients you shouldn’t be without. The thing is that, as many people know, cheese is addictive and it’s easy to eat way too much of the stuff. If you tip the scales then you’ll see, well, your actual scale showing a higher number pretty soon. You can also suffer from constipation and digestive discomfort, your acne can act up, and your congestion can worsen. Cheese is great in moderation, but oh-so difficult to consume just in moderation. Nonetheless, I’ve found some tricks, and manage to have the stuff daily while maintaining a healthy BMI. Here is how to be a cheese addict and remain slim.
Pair it with fresh fruit slices
I like to have cheese as a snack, but I now pair it with fresh fruit. I have pieces of hard cheese with apple, pair, plums, nectarines, berries, or oranges. These all go nicely with cheese and if you add fruit to each bite, you’ll cut down on the cheese—the fiber of the fruit will fill you up.
Put it on ultra whole grain crackers
If I have my cheese with crackers, I go with some seriously multi-grain options. I’m talking rye, oats, flaxseeds, bran—the darker the grain, the better. These high-fiber crackers help me feel satisfied quicker than white flour crackers.
Change up your quesadilla
I love a good quesadilla, but having just a cheese one can leave me feeling bloated. I’ve removed half the cheese and swapped in chopped vegetables and shredded chicken. It’s still a wonderfully cheesy dish, but lower in calories, and higher in protein and vitamins.
Try feta on beans
How can you have black or pinto beans as a side dish to your enchiladas without cheese? You can’t. But try sprinkling feta on your beans instead of cheddar or jack cheese. It’s lower in fat and calories, and much more flavorful.
Pair it with salami/cured meats
Adding a punch of protein to my cheese appetizers helps me reach for fewer bites. Instead of putting just cheese on crackers, I grab a smaller piece of cheese, and supplement the rest of the bite with some cured meat. Its high protein fills me up fast.
Dress up your grilled cheese
Remove half or one-third of your cheese from your grilled cheese and add in creamy avocado, tomatoes, and some hot sauce. It’s so yummy that you won’t even miss the extra cheese.
Have more queso fresco on Mexican food
Taquitos, nachos, enchiladas—just about every good Mexican dish is smothered with cheese. But you can actually cut back on calories and go even more authentic by using queso fresco instead of cheddar or jack cheese.
Use mozzarella in place of cheddar
Any time you want to use cheddar cheese—like in a quesadilla or grilled cheese sandwich—opt for mozzarella. It has fewer calories and less fat per ounce, but has all the nice melty properties of cheddar.
Change your Caprese ratios
A Caprese salad gives you a healthy cheese fix. Use low-skim mozzarella and go for a one to one tomato to cheese ratio.
Try this goat cheese sandwich
One of my favorite cheesy sandwiches contains goat cheese, which is one of the healthiest cheeses out there, and is oh so flavorful. I make a sandwich with roasted eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, basil, a little balsamic, and goat cheese.
Enjoy more cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is almost a freebie when it comes to cheese. It’s packed with protein and very low in fat and calories, especially if you grab a low-fat variety. Plus, it’s easy to mix up with fresh fruit.
Try this mac and cheese hack
Replace some of the cheese in your mac and cheese with butternut squash puree. It keeps the creaminess high, while removing fat and adding some fiber and vitamins.
Go for sharp over mild cheddar
If you must have cheddar, go all the way and get the sharp stuff. Because of its potent flavor profile, you’ll wind up using less of it than you would of mild cheddar.
Get ricotta on your pizza
Try pizza with red sauce and ricotta next time you’re craving a slice. Ricotta is much better for you than the cheese found on most cheese pizzas.
This fancy sounding cheese is spreadable, like cream cheese, but with just 70 calories per ounce it’s much better for you than cream cheese. Put it on your next bagel.