Wish Upon A Dish: Cheese to Eat While on a Diet

January 13, 2016

Cheese to Eat While on a Diet

Sometimes I feel the need to share healthy food tips I have discovered. These are great tips for people looking to lighten up their dishes without omitting the foods they love, especially if it is cheese.

Update: I am still on a self-imposed 1000 calorie-a-day diet and to date (meaning today), have lost 33 pounds, numerous inches, a full clothing size (so far) and have gained a recent convert (The Nudge)!!

While I love cheese and have had Swiss or cheddar as a snack, that mere recommended ounce just wasn't doing it for me, and I found myself eating twice as much. To compensate for the overage, I had to cut out some of the good, healthy foods needed to fill my tummy. Somehow that doesn't seem like a "good" swap.

So, in order to have my "cheese" and eat it too, I made adjustments, not eliminations, which would only make me crave cheese more.

This is what I did......

Top 6 high flavor but lower fat cheeses:

Parmesan Cheese

At only 20 calories a tablespoon, it's the perfect cheese to add to sauces, casseroles and dips.
When making lasagna, one could use part skim ricotta that is bumped up with Parmesan and benefit from lower calories in the part-skim without sacrificing that cheesy flavor.
Yay for us!

 Feta Cheese

Weighing in at 75 calories an ounce, Feta is naturally low fat and makes a great addition to salads and baked dishes. It's strong salty flavor goes a long way, so you can use less.
A win-win!!

Goat Cheese

Another cheese at 75 calories per ounce, goat cheese is creamy and tart and melts perfectly smooth, making it a great addition to a sauce for dishes that tilt the scale towards vegetables.
I love to eat this cheese with a nuts and no sugar added jams.
Finger licking good!

Fresh Mozzarella

Part skim is only 70 calories an ounce and for those who prefer whole milk, 85 calories. Still a great deal and the perfect snack paired with tomatoes and roasted peppers. I always have a bag of string cheese in my fridge and a container of bite-sized bocconcini at the ready. 
The small 1" balls bounce in at 40 calories each. Two of them with 4 grape tomatoes with a side of Italian dressing to dip into, makes a perfect pick me up.

Neufchatel Cheese

While we here in the US, this cheese it often promoted as a "1/3 less fat" cream cheese option, but in Europe it is THE only style cream cheese eaten.
Another creamy 70 calorie per ounce beauty, there are so many options for using this cheese in savory dishes, not just as a schmeer on that bagel. Cheaper than goat cheese, it makes a great addition to a "cream" based sauce with that tangy component I crave to liven up a long slow braised dish.
As a snack, make your own onion and vegetable dips, cut some celery and carrot sticks or mix with a full flavored (but no added sugar) jam and serve on top of graham crackers.

Camembert Cheese

I was totally surprised to learn that soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert were low in calories, especially when they are often advertised as double & triple cream cheeses.
Camembert is the lowest of the higher end cheeses at 85 calories an ounce and while I might not pick this as a snacking cheese, I will treat myself to a slice or two on a cheese board set out for a special occasion. As long as I was pairing a slice of cheese with a slice of pear or apple, I can be satisfied and move on to the veggie dips and shrimp cocktail.
You may be thinking that the savings on calories is small compared to the higher caloric cheeses like pepper jacks, Cheddar's or Goudas, but think like this.....a weeks worth of those "small" amounts of calories could add up to a well deserved glass of wine at the end of your week. A slice of cheese with that wine??
Don't mind if I do.........

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