Cheese: Grate for Any Meal

| Food

If you're watching what you eat, then you may be trying to avoid cheese, but cheese isn't necessarily unhealthy! While some cheese has a lot of sodium, it can also be a great source of calcium and proteins. If you're looking for a savory snack, eating cheese in moderation is still a great healthy choice.

cheeses

Parmigiano Reggino: Made with skim milk, this is a low fat cheese and is easily grated for salads and pastas.

Italian Ricotta: Made with whey instead of milk, this cheese has a lower fat content than most.

Swiss Cheese: If you opt for the low-fat version, swiss cheese will make for a great sandwich addition and has the added bonus of phosphorus, which helps bone development.

Cheddar: Cheddar has a higher calorie count, but its bold flavor is packed with calcium, so cheddar is a great choice in moderation.

MozzarellaBuy your mozzarella made with part skim and serve it up! It makes for a great appetizer or snack because it's a lower calorie option!

>> If you're looking for a skinny and cheesy appetizer, try out these Skinny Mozzarella Bites!

skinny mozzarella bites

Monterey Jack: A soft cheese great for melting on sandwiches and slicing onto crackers, you've probably had the pepper jack version at tailgates and gatherings, and you probably had a lot. Eat in moderation and enjoy the savory flavor!

Blue Cheese: This has a higher amount of sodium than most cheeses, but eat this with figs, nut or crumbled on a salad for a tasty addition. But be warned: blue cheese dressing is much more unhealthy and the actual cheese itself. For a healthier dressing option, make your own with this Skinny Mom recipe!

Comte (Gruyere): One of the lowest-sodium cheeses out there, this cheese has strict production regulations, saying salt can only be added to the surface of the cheese.

Parmesan: Found on anything Italian, choose a parmesan that has been aged for at least 16 months and isn't too pale.

>> Cheesy Fact: According to Eat Wisconsin Cheese, if a cheese is described as aged, it "generally describes a cheese that has been cured longer than six months. Aged cheeses are characterized as having more pronounced and fuller, sometimes sharper flavors than medium-aged or current-aged cheeses."

Brie: Brie is quite tasty and doesn't have any more calories than other healthy cheeses, but it's pretty low in calcium, so don't depend on that!

>> For a great brie recipe, check out this Turkey Wrap with Apples and Brie!

turkey wrap apple brie
(Photo: Marin Mama Cooks)

Cottage Cheese: A low-cal, high-protein snack is what you'll find in a bowl of cottage cheese. But choose low sodium, because if not, you'll get about 20% of your daily sodium in half a cup.

Feta: As long as it's pure white feta, it's a lower calorie and lower fat option than many other cheeses, plus it's made with goat milk, which is good for lactose sensitivity. It also has a strong flavor, so you don't need to use a lot.

Manchego: Made from sheep's milk, this cheese can only be made in certain parts of the country on registered farms, so you'll have to buy it in an upscale grocery. It's great for snacking and has 120 calories in one ounce.

Robiola: Break out the crackers, because this cheese is great for snacking! It's as soft as brie and as rich as butter without too many calories.

Goat Cheese: A spreadable soft cheese, you'll find that this makes for a great low-fat snack!

>> Cheesy Fact: To make sure you're avoiding unhealthy cheese choices, stay away from processed cheese or cheese products. They may also appear under the name cheese product or prepared cheese. Made from cheese, cheese product has added emulsifiers, salt, saturated vegetable oils, food coloring and/or whey or sugar.

How do you incorporate cheese into your diet? Share with us in the comments below!