12 hacks for getting your cheese-fix the healthy way

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If you want to eat cheese while maintaining a healthy diet, it's all about moderation.

Buying quality block cheese and shredding it instead of slicing it will ensure you eat less.

Pick flavorful, naturally lower-fat cheese like feta.

Gooey. Salty. Creamy. Fruity. Buttery. Floral. Smoky. Nutty. These are but a few of the delicious adjectives one could use to describe the possible flavors of every red-blooded American’s favorite food group: cheese. Yeah, OK, we know it’s not an actual food group. But we’re so addicted it may as well be, and that can be a problem because cheese is unhealthy, right? Well, actually, cheese can easily fit into a healthy diet despite its reputation as an artery-clogger and a sodium slab.

Cheese does have health benefits. It can have calcium, protein and sometimes other beneficial nutrients. Some of it is fortified with vitamin D and pairs well, nutritionally speaking, with necessary nutrients that also happen to be fat-soluble to aid in absorption. In fact, in moderation, cheese might even be good for your heart.

But that’s still not an excuse to go overboard, cha-cha. The keys to responsible cheese consumption are moderation and a few tips and tricks that’ll maximize the gooey, salty, creamy, fruity, buttery, floral, nutty cheese-tasticness of your food without compromising your healthy-eating lifestyle.Check the nutrition label.

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“But why?” you ask, “I already know it’s fattening!” Ah, but it’s not all about the fat and calories. Neither fat nor calories are inherently bad you actually need both . While it doesn’t hurt to check those lines so you know what you’re getting yourself into, you’re also looking for other nutrients. You might think of cheese as a source of calcium, and most of it is. But some may have other necessary nutrients.

Cottage cheese, for example, is jam-packed with casein, a type of protein that helps build muscle tissue, making it a great cheese for workout buffs. Weightlifters even buy casein in powder form, which is probably overkill for most of us, but a serving of cottage cheese with some pineapple or on top of a salad or even in your lasagna isn’t a bad idea. As an added bonus, casein is also good for your teeth.

Being a label lookie-loo can also save you from making some common mistakes. Contrary to popular belief, American Neufch tel is not better for you than one-third-less-fat cream cheese. The low-fat cream cheese has less fat and more vitamins than its French-aberration counterpart.

When you’re checking that label, remember you can control the fat by not eating three servings’ worth at a time. If a cheese has a good amount of something else you know you need, stock up.

Get a scale and use it.

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You’ve heard it a hundred times, but it bears mentioning. When it comes to ingredients you’re supposed to consume in moderation, don’t eyeball it! A serving of cheese is 1-1 2 to 2 ounces depending on the type of cheese. We tend to overestimate how much that is when we try to guess our tummies are master manipulators when we’re hungry or craving .

Let your cheese get to room temperature.

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Any cheesemaker or monger will tell you cheese is meant to be enjoyed at room temperature, not cold from the fridge. That’s when cheese is at its most flavorful. You can use this culinary nugget to your advantage. If you let your cheese come to room temperature before you eat it, it’ll pack more of a punch and you won’t have to use as much. Plus, you’ll feel like a fancy pants-type like you’re freakin’ Rihanna or something. Shine bright like a diamond, cheese lover!

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