Spend five minutes in the dairy section of your supermarket and you’ll find
a cheese for every occasion, from the decadent soft brie to the pre-sliced tasty. But how do you know which is the best option if you’re watching your waistline or caring for your bones? Let’s take a closer look at cheese and the selection on offer.
Best for toast
Spreadable cheese: lower in sodium than most hard cheeses, cream cheese makes a great lower fat alternative to butter or margarine, as long as you spread it on thinly. Take a tub to work for a portion-controlled snack with wholegrain crackers or vegie sticks.
Best for dips
Cottage cheese: a milky cheese that is significantly lower in fat, cottage cheese is not as good a source of calcium as hard cheeses. Consider it as a healthy way to add satisfying protein to a meal or snack, such as whipping it into a spinach dip.
Best for children
Cheese shapes, stringers and sticks: a great source of essential calcium and protein for growing teeth and bones, kids should eat cheese on a daily basis if they are fit and active. Be an avid label reader when picking a lunch-box or snack staple, as the calcium content can vary.
Best for entertaining
Camembert: slightly less intense in flavour than brie, camembert also has less butterfat, which slightly lowers the kilojoule count. Camembert tastes delicious melted over Melba toast with a dash of cranberry sauce as a canape, or served on a cheese board with plenty of juicy grapes and slices of fresh pear.
Best for pasta
Ricotta: a creamy cheese that is lower in kilojoules and fat, ricotta has the lowest sodium of all the cheeses. It can be used as a healthier alternative to cream in recipes, and lends itself beautifully to light pasta sauces with a sprinkling of garden herbs.
Best in sandwiches
Swiss style: these cheeses tend to be slightly lower in sodium and give a great nutty taste to a salad sandwich. Thin, re-sliced options make for a quick and easy filling. Remember to go easy on those multi-layers when you’re melting.
Best on vegetables
Parmesan: rich in protein, parmesan is high in calcium. Just watch your overall salt intake, as it tends to be high in sodium, too. Because of the intense flavour, a small amount of finely grated parmesan goes a long way on broccoli, rocket salad or your favourite risotto.
Best on pizza
Mozzarella: A milder flavoured stringy cheese that’s a good source of protein and calcium and can be slightly lower in fat and sodium compared to cheddar. Go for reduced-fat grated mozzarella on your home-made pizza to cut the fat by almost 40 percent.
Best in salads
Feta: made from sheep, cow or goat’s milk, feta is generally about 30 per cent lower in fat than cheddar cheese. Rather than adding cubes of feta to your Greek salad, try crumbling it instead. You’ll use less and save on kilojoules, but it will add flavour to each mouthful.
Best for general use
Edam: made from reduced-fat milk, Edam has a fresh, light flavour and smooth, supple texture. With excellent melting properties - it's ideal for many cooked dishes. It’s great on cheeseboards, as a snack, in savouries, dips or salads.
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