The Essential Guide to The Healthiest Cheeses

Do you love cheese? Do you know all things cheese? There are always a few things you should know about your favorite cheese.

Cheese is an amazing source of calcium, protein, and other healthy elements but it’s also a major source of saturated fat.  In the kitchen, we tend to sprinkling handfuls of it on our pizza or in omelets, but did you know that picking the right cheese we would still be able to enjoy our food and …lose weight!

For starters, it is best if you eat more white cheese and avoid the yellow ones. As a simple rule, the more yellow a cheese is  (think cheddar), the higher the fat content.  Always be sure to check the Nutrition Facts Panel on the back of the label to confirm the fat content as well.

Some cheeses to use in your dishes that are low in fat are:

  • Greek Feta cheese
  • Blue Cheese
  • Monterey Jack
  • Mozzarella
  • Muenster
  • Parmesan
  • Provolone
  • Swiss

Cheese is a great source of calcium, but is also high in saturated fat. So How can you choose healthy cheeses? It’s not about choosing feta over blue cheese that determines high fat versus low fat. To keep calories in line, look out for low-fat versions of any cheese or limit the amount of full-fat  cheese that you eat.

Know Your Cheese 

There is no standard classification of cheese into groups and I don’t think you should care. When you visit a store they would classify it by its site of origin or by soft, semi-soft, or hard cheese.

Here is waht you should know about how cheeses could be classified:

  • The Fresh cheese: the fresh category  include cheeses that contain whey and have a limited shelf life. Fresh cheeses include feta cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta, cream cheese, mascarpone, and mozzarella. As a general rule, most fresh cheeses are soft, creamy, and maybe spreadable.
  • Semi-soft cheeses. We would classify as a semi-soft cheese the Brie and Camembert, as well as  cheese spreads like Laughing Cow. A few semi-soft cheeses are flavored with vegetables like red pepper or spices, like black pepper.
  • The Hard cheeses are basically aged cheeses, including Parmigiano-Reggiano, graviera, cheddar and gruyere. Because all moisture has been removed during the fermentation, these cheeses are rock hard. They are ideal cheese for grating and maintain their shelf life for longer.
  • Washed-rind cheeses. Washed-rind cheeses include Tallegio and limburger. They are immersed in salted water, wine or any liquor for that matter. Washing them and immersing them in to the chosen solution causes to develops a stronger flavor, while maintaining their moisture, with subsequent changes to the color and the texture of the cheese.
  • The famous Blue cheese case. Blue cheeses are also called blue-veined cheeses, bearing blue or purple spots that make them easy to recognize. The color comes from the blue mold that gives these cheeses their very strong flavor. Blue cheeses include gorgonzola, Danish blue cheese, and Roquefort. Blue cheeses crumble easily, making them ideal to use in salads.

So next time you go to yoru supermarket or deli, you will know exactly how and what to look for!

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