Q: I’m trying to lose weight but absolutely love cheese and don’t want to give it up. Can I have cheese with my meals and still lose weight?
While many celebrities and influential personalities are touting the benefits of ditching dairy for weight loss, you don’t have to say goodbye to cheese to meet your weight loss goals.
Cheese has a lot of health promoting nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorus and protein, so it can be a part of a healthy diet. One serving of cheese is one ounce (think of a domino or stick of string cheese), and the nutrient content varies. Here are some fast facts about cheese:
- If cheese is considered unhealthy, it’s because of its saturated fat content and the additional calories it can add to meals.
- Some of the lighter cheeses include goat, feta, parmesan, part-skim mozzarella and low-fat cottage cheese.
- Some of the higher fat cheeses include cheddar, and cream cheese.
- American cheese is considered a processed cheese product that is manufactured with ingredients like milk, whey, cheese flavor and coloring.
Remember that cheese is an ingredient that is often applied with a heavy hand. When eating out, consider opting for less cheese or skipping the cheese in favor of other toppings you enjoy, such as avocado.
As with so many other foods, it’s important to focus on the big picture with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein with room for your favorite extras like cheese. This is a sustainable way to lose weight while following a healthy lifestyle.