Q: Can a healthy person eat cheese... every day? (We really like cheese.)
Oz Says: As far as daily indulgences go, cheese isn't such a bad guy. It's true that it tends to be high in sodium, calories, and saturated fat — so I wouldn't advise swan-diving into a fondue pot every night — but it can also pack in plenty of good stuff, like calcium, protein, and zinc.
Eat cheese the Oz way: First, stick to one serving a day (the nutrition label is a good guideline). Second, choose it with care. "When you want to add a salty, savory flavor to a meal, go with hard cheeses," says Libby Mills, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "They have less liquid, which makes the taste intense. A few shavings go a long way." But if you're craving a bigger chunk, softer ones like mozzarella, cottage cheese, and even Brie are better options. "Their higher liquid content drives down calories and makes portion sizes a bit larger," says Mills.
Want a Little Cheese?
Grab your grater and one of our favorite hard cheeses. They're like herbs and spices — it only takes a little bit to transform a dish. Three ways to use 'em:
- PARMESAN, the pasta go-to, is also delicious on soups.
- ASIAGO has a nutty flavor that pairs great with salads.
- CHEDDAR adds major zing to chili and omelets.
Want a Lot?
Remember cottage cheese? In its heyday, we scooped it onto everything. It has 7 grams of protein in a quarter cup, so it's time to bring the trend back, deliciously:
- SPREAD IT on toast and pile on avocado, tomato, and red onion.
- TOP IT with dried figs, walnuts, and a little honey.
- MIX IT into scrambled eggs with fresh herbs.
This story originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.