What are the Healthiest Cheeses for Weight Loss?
If you know me at all, you know 1) I’m Italian, 2) I’m madly in love with cheese, and 3) I think the blue 21 Day Fix container is the sexiest of all lol. Obviously, we have to cut back on cheese on the Portion Fix/21 Day Fix meal plan (or whatever healthy nutrition program you happen to be doing)—BUT, we don’t have to give it up completely. It’s all about swaps and portion sizes. By “swaps,” I mean food swaps where you choose a healthier version or alternative food to replace a less healthy ingredient. In this case, cheese…lovely cheese. So what are the healthiest cheeses for weight loss that you can swap out and eat small portions of?
You CAN eat some cheese in a healthy diet. The key factors to look at are the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol. When you do this, you’ll see that not all cheese is the the same! Also, it’s important to know that it’s not true that we have to avoid all fat…there is such a thing as HEALTHY fat!
Let’s start with the worse choices, shall we?
Worst Cheeses for Your Health
First of all, let’s be clear—processed “cheese” (those rubbery plastic-wrapped slices of American and Swiss) are NOT cheese. As a coach, I advocate staying entirely away from all processed foods, choosing instead to eat almost entirely single ingredient whole foods and quality nutritional supplements (like Shakeology and Performance).
Now, let’s look at the six worst cheeses for your health:
- Cream cheese (5.7g/oz saturated fat; 29mg/oz cholesterol)
- Muenster (5.4g/oz saturated fat; 27mg/oz cholesterol)
- Cheddar (5.3g/oz saturated fat; 28mg/oz cholesterol)
- Blue (5.3g/oz saturated fat; 21mg/oz cholesterol)
- Swiss (5.2g/oz saturated fat; 26mg/oz cholesterol)
- Provolone (4.8g/oz saturated fat; 20mg/oz cholesterol)
Best Cheeses for Your Health
If you don’t think the kind of cheese you eat makes that much of a difference, consider this—one cup of cottage cheese has 6 grams of saturated fat, while the same amount of shredded cheddar has 24 grams! I’m not brilliant at math, but I do know that 6 is 25% of 24 lol. Even just a little bit of difference adds up to extra pounds over time, so this is really an important choice.
Here are the seven best cheeses for your health:
- Cottage, from non-fat to 2% lowfat (0.0g-0.4g/oz saturated fat; 1mg-3mg/oz cholesterol)*
- Ricotta, from part-skim to whole milk (1.4g-2.4g/oz saturated fat; 9mg-14mg/oz cholesterol)*
- Mozzarella, from part-skim to whole milk (3.2g-3.7g/oz saturated fat; 18mg-22mg/oz cholesterol)*
- Neufchatel (3.6g/oz saturated fat; 21mg/oz cholesterol)
- Feta (4.2g/oz saturated fat; 25mg/oz cholesterol)
- Camembert (4.3g/oz saturated fat; 20mg/oz cholesterol)
- Parmesan, grated (4.4g/oz saturated fat; 24mg/oz cholesterol)
* As far as I’m concerned (and many other health professionals), always choose the skim or non-fat versions!
Healthy Cheese Tips
Now that you’re clear on what the healthiest cheeses for weight loss are, here are a few little healthy cheese tips for you:
- Choose cheeses from the healthy cheese list!
- Think portion control. A little cheese can go a long way, especially those super flavorful cheese like Parmesan.
- Give vegan “cheese” a try. They’re made from plant products and are MUCH lower (or lacking) in saturated fat and cholesterol.
More Food Swaps For You
When I’m craving cheese, I just make sure I choose from the list of the healthiest cheese for weight loss instead of the bad ones! The concept of food swapping is at the heart of healthy eating without feeling deprived.
I did a post awhile back with more than 30 healthy food swaps that I want to make sure you don’t miss. Click below to learn what my favorite swaps are—and be sure and print out the list for your refrigerator!