I mean, is there such a thing? LOL. Oh, let's face it, cheddar, Swiss, pepper-jack or bleu, we Americans love our cheese! In fact, I think it's pretty safe to say that cheese is one of the most popular foods in countries all over the world and many of them countries have their own favorites. Well, as for me, I don't think I've ever met a cheese I didn't like! LOL. But is cheese really the bad-for-you guilty pleasure so many people make it out to be? Well, if you eat hunks of cheese to abandon, without giving any thought to how much fat or how many calories you're consuming then, yes...it can be! But...consumed in moderation, cheese can be a good and important part of your efforts to lose or maintain a healthy weight. It's all about choice and portions. Let me give you a few ideas.
Laughing Cow's portion-controlled cheese wedges are an excellent choice for snacking.
Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges. I love these! Laughing Cow's little portion- controlled wedges are an excellent choice for snacking. Each wedge is only about 35 calories and contains just 1.5 grams of fat. Spread a wedge on an apple or you can even add a wedge of Laughing Cow to your scrambled eggs for a creamy, low-fat flavor boost. They're cheesy-delicious and you've gotta love their low calorie counts.
Ricotta and part-skim mozzarella. I've lumped these two together for a reason. They're great on their own but also make a delicious addition to some your pasta dishes. The part-skim mozzarella has a rich taste and melts perfectly over just-cooked pastas. A quarter-cup has only about 80 calories and 5 grams of fat. The slimmed-down ricotta cheese is oh-so creamy yet a quarter-cup contains only about 60 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.
Crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese is one of my salad favorites. And the good news is it packs plenty of flavor punch into just a couple of tablespoons. A quarter-cup of feta cheese contains 70 calories and 5 grams of fat. It's great paired with chicken, tomatoes and cucumbers on a slice of pita bread. And like I said, I love sprinkling a few crumbles onto a pretty mixed green salad. And remember, you don't need a lot to get that wonderful flavor addition to your salads.
Want a little south-of-the-border flavor? How's about a shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend?
You want a little south-of-the-border flavor? Then how's about a shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend? You can find these tasty blends sold prepackaged in your supermarket. Their ingredients may be a little different, depending on which brand you buy. But typically, it includes Monterey Jack, cheddar and maybe a couple of other flavorful cheeses. Be sure to read the ingredients label and check the calorie and fat count on the brand you may be considering. Mexican blends usually melt perfectly and can be a surprisingly tasty addition to your hot sandwiches and perfect for those quesadillas. (My friend, Teresa, makes the best in Los Angeles!) A quarter-cup of Mexican blend should come in at around 80 calories and 5.5 grams of fat.
So there you have it. Who says you have to feel guilty about adding a little cheese to your daily food program? There're several low-fat, low-calorie choices that'll provide the health benefits of the protein cheese has to offer. Whichever variety you decide to try, just be sure to count those cheeses on your FoodMover. Then go ahead and enjoy your cheese...guilt free!
Hey, Teresa! Can you make quesadillas for lunch?