Friday, June 24, 2011

Food Fact Friday: the healthiest cheese...

 Low-fat cottage cheese is loaded with protein and calcium, and one of the most nutritionally dense cheeses ounce-for-ounce. It’s also extremely versatile, and can serve as a healthy cheese substitute in all kinds of recipes. Not to mention that it provides about 10% of your daily calcium requirements.

 Cottage cheese is basically milk that is curdled by adding an enzyme like rennet or by the addition of edible acids like vinegar or lemon juice.  The action of these enzymes and acids cause the milk to clump. After the enzyme or acid is added to the milk and curdling takes place, the liquid whey is drained off and the curds are left.  These curds are primarily made up of slow-digesting dairy proteins called casein, which are high in protein and low in fat.

 The only downside to cottage cheese is that it is fairly high in sodium. Depending on the brand, a single 113 gram serving has about 16% of your daily recommended intake of sodium, so if you are watching your sodium intake, you may want to opt for one of the lower sodium brands on the market or moderate your consumption.

 As mentioned, cottage cheese is a great sub for other cheeses in a lot of recipes. For example, instead of ricotta cheese in lasagna, try using cottage cheese between those layers of whole grain lasagna noodles. Cottage cheese has a very similar texture to ricotta cheese when melted, and you’ll never know the difference (although your abs will.) You can also make cottage cheese into a creamy veggie dip or sandwich spread by blending it in a blender with herbs and spices like cumin, thyme, dill or even a packet of ranch dip. Try mixing a cup of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped green onions, garlic and cumin and use it as a healthy cheese filling in wheat tortillas. Top it on baked potatoes, mix it with fruit and a bit of honey and cinnamon, use it in pancakes, or with chopped avocado and red pepper flakes on top of toast. The options are endless.

 I used to hate cottage cheese – even the smell made me wrinkle my nose. Until this year, the absolute only way I’d eat it was in my mom’s special Jello and Cool Whip fruit salad. When I found out how low in calories and high in protein it was, I forced myself to try it on toast for breakfast a few mornings a week. It took awhile, but now it is one of my favorite snacks, and I’ve used it in countless combos, including my latest in the picture above. Loving that berries are starting to come back in season!

info here (*note: this guy is not a 
professional, just a healthy and 
articulate person. all his info is 
correct as far as I've researched)

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