Just Say Cheese 

National Cheese Day is on June 4th this year. There is a lot to say about cheese. This dairy delight is a favorite American pastime, whether enjoyed as an appetizer, a topping, a main course, a quick snack or incorporated into a dessert. Most cheeses are a good source of calcium and protein. Because some cheeses can be high in fat and sodium, it is important to consume in moderation. Overall, cheese can be a nutritious addition to a healthy and balanced diet. In honor of National Cheese Day, take a moment to explore some of the cheeses that are often found in our refrigerators.

  • Mozzarella is a soft white cheese that is lower in sodium and calories than most other cheeses. A 1 oz serving of full-fat mozzarella contains about 85 calories, 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat and 178 mg of sodium. Mozzarella also contains good bacteria that act as probiotics.
    • Try this delicious Chicken Pita Sandwich made with shredded chicken breast, mozzarella cheese, sundried tomatoes, capers, and more. 
  • Blue cheese is cured with cultures which gives its distinctive odor and a bold, tangy flavor. A 1-oz  serving of blue cheese made with whole milk provides 100 calories, 6 g of protein, 8 grams of fat and 326 mg of sodium.
  • Feta is a soft, salty white cheese typically made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. Sheep’s milk gives feta a tangy and sharp taste, while goat’s milk feta is milder. Because feta is packaged in brine to preserve freshness, it can be high in sodium. A 1 oz. serving of full-fat feta cheese provides 75 calories, 4 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat and 316 mg of sodium.
    • Try crumbling feta over salads, adding it to eggs, or whipping it into a dip to eat. This Chickpea and Tomato Salad offers a wonderful burst of feta flavor. 
  • Cottage cheese is made from the loose curds of cow’s milk and tends to be higher in protein than other cheeses. A 1 oz. serving of low-fat cottage cheese provides 23 calories, 3 grams of protein, < 1 gram of fat and 115 mg of sodium.
    • Cottage cheese is a great base for dips or blended into smoothies. Try this Asparagus and Cheese Frittata with a salad for a perfect summer meal.
  • Ricotta has a creamy texture and is often described as a lighter version of cottage cheese. A 1 oz serving of whole milk ricotta contains 42 calories, 2 grams protein, 2.9 grams of fat and 84 mg of sodium.
    • Ricotta cheese tastes delicious in salads, scrambled into eggs and mixed into pasta dishes. Use as a base for creamy dips or served with fruit for a sweet-and-salty snack. Or try this Lemon Ricotta Muffin for a tasty treat.
  • Parmesan is a hard, aged cheese that has a gritty texture and a salty, nutty flavor. It’s made from raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk that is aged for at least 12 months to kill harmful bacteria. A 1 oz. serving of Parmesan cheese has 111 calories, 10 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, 454 mg of sodium.
    • Grated Parmesan can be added to pastas and pizzas, sprinkled in eggs, or cut and added to cheese boards. Or, enjoy parmesan cheese in the this egg-less Caesar Salad 
  • Swiss cheese features a mild, nutty taste. Its signature holes are formed by bacteria that release gases during fermentation. A 1 oz serving provides 111 calories, 8 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat and 54 mg of sodium.
    • Add Swiss cheese to sandwiches, egg bakes, burgers, or French onion soup. Enjoy this Turkey Burger stuffed with mushrooms and topped with Swiss Cheese.
  • Cheddar is a widely popular semihard cheese. The taste of cheddar depends on the variety, ranging from mild to extra sharp. A 1 oz serving has 115 calories, 7 g protein, 9 grams of fat and 174 mg of sodium.
    • Add cheddar cheese to charcuterie plates, vegetable dishes, burgers, and eggs. These Cheese Quesadillas are a hit any time of the day.
  • Goat cheese is available in several forms, including spreadable logs, crumbles, and varieties made to resemble brie. A 1 oz serving has 75 calories, 5 grams protein, 6 grams of fat and 104 mg of sodium.

Remember, the trick with cheese is to consume cheese in moderation as part of a balanced diet. 

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