More Cheese, Please!

Today (Jan. 20, 2015) is “National Cheese Lovers Day” for good reason. There is so much to love about this delicious dairy food. Cheese is the number-two source of calcium in our diet. Just one ounce of low-fat cheddar, Colby or Swiss has as much protein as an egg, yet averages less than 60 calories and four grams of fat.

The high-quality protein found in cheese is not only good for our muscles, but our teeth as well. Casein, a protein found in aged cheddar and Swiss, may help our teeth form a protective shield against acids that cause cavities. When paired with fruits, vegetables and whole grains, cheese can help children and adults meet the dietary recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. In fact, a recent study in the Journal of Child Nutrition indicated that the visible addition of cheese to various middle school menu offerings may help increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Looking for more ways to add more cheese to your plate? Try some of these tips below.

  • Grill it. There’s nothing better than a hot grilled cheese sandwich on a cold winter day. Make your next one with pimiento cheese for a southern twist. Pair it with a cup of tomato soup for a warm, tasty and balanced meal.
  • Spoon it. Soups are great comfort food this time of year, especially ones that include cheese. Serve up a bowl of corn chowder or broccoli cheddar soup for an easy weeknight dinner your whole family will enjoy.
  • Pair it. For a sweet and savory snack, try combining fruit and cheese. Apples with Brie, watermelon with feta, and peaches with Gouda all make excellent combinations.
  • Sprinkle it. Top your next salad with sliced mozzarella or grate fresh Parmesan over whole-wheat pasta. With so many nutritional benefits, cheese is more than just a great-tasting garnish!

LauraMarbury_headshot_smallLaura Marbury, MS, RD, LD