Cheese Nutrition Corner

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN

Tips for Making “Healthy” Taste Delicious

Consumers eat at home more often than dining out. In fact, about 8 out of every 10 meals are prepared at home, according to data from the NPD Group, a market research firm that tracks eating trends.1 However, this doesn’t mean everything we eat at home is made from scratch. Perhaps the best way to describe many of our cooking styles is “partially homemade” or “shortcut-scratch.”

What’s more, while taste continues to be a primary driver of food purchasing decisions, people are becoming more interested in the healthfulness of their food and the quality of ingredients used to prepare their favorite dishes. Ultimately, Americans want real, delicious food that’s good for them. The challenge for many is finding the time in an already hectic schedule to focus on meal preparation. Luckily, making good-for-you food that tastes great doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Combining flavor and nutrition can be as easy as adding spices or herbs to a dish or incorporating ingredients from recommended food groups, like flavorful, nutrient-rich natural cheese as a Dairy Group choice.

Try out these simple strategies for boosting both taste and nutrition at mealtimes.

1. Whole-grain pancakes or waffles: Top liberally with mashed fresh or frozen raspberries to punch up fruitiness and eye appeal along with adding vitamin C.
2. Egg white breakfast sandwich: For a little lusciousness, add a slice of Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Sharp Cheddar along with baby arugula for a fresh burst of color and a natural source of calcium.
3. Whole-wheat toast: Skip the butter and spread with mashed avocado, along with a squirt of lemon and dash of salt, to boost your intake of fruit and essential nutrients.

1. Leafy green salad: Toss fresh mint leaves along with the salad greens for a pop of fragrance and added vitamins and minerals.
2. Bean soup or chili: Add calorie-friendly flavor intrigue with a pinch of pumpkin pie spice or Chinese five-spice powder. Or, give your soup a tiny “kick” with a few drops of hot sauce like Sriracha.
3. Turkey and colby-jack cheese sandwich: Add a layer of extra-thinly sliced apple or pear for crisp, fruity goodness and dietary fiber. Or, spread with hummus for a shot of savory and satisfying flavor.

1. Spaghetti with marinara sauce: Top with toasted pine nuts to create a little crunch and sweetness along with an extra dash of vitamin E and manganese.
2. Grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast: Sprinkle with Sargento Artisan Blends Shredded Authentic Mexican Cheese and top generously with pico de gallo or other fresh salsa. You’ll have a beautifully balanced and delicious entrée with a natural boost of high-quality protein and calcium.
3. Steamed brown rice: Stir in trail mix (mixture of nuts, seeds and dried fruits) and, if you like, grated orange zest, for wholesome flair and plant-based goodness.


Get the Real Facts

  • Slidetext

    If you are lactose intolerant, you do not need to avoid cheese.

    When cheese is made, 96-98 percent of the lactose in the milk is removed, so cheese can be an important source of calcium for people with lactose intolerance. Natural cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, and Swiss contain minimal amounts of lactose.

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    You can eat cheese if you're following a gluten-free diet.

    Natural cheeses are gluten-free.

  • Slidetext

    Natural cheese is made with 4 ingredients.

    Natural cheese is made from four basic ingredients: milk, salt, starter culture (“good” bacteria) and a natural enzyme called rennet, which separates curds from whey.

  • Slidetext

    Cheese is a source of protein.

    Cheese provides a source of high-quality protein. High-quality protein, or complete protein, contains all the essential amino acids in the appropriate amounts needed by the body. Emerging research continues to support the important role of high-quality protein in promoting optimal health.

  • Slidetext

    Cheese is a food that can fit into many healthful diet plans.

    Cheese is a nutrient-rich food available in a wide variety of forms and flavors that fit easily into many healthful meal plans, including the Mediterranean, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), diabetic, gluten free, vegetarian, and low lactose.

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    Cheese is not a major source of sodium in the American diet.

    The majority of sodium in the U.S. diet (92%) comes from sources other than cheese. Cheese contributes only 8% of the sodium.4

    4. Hentges E. Sources of sodium in the food supply. Paper presented at the Institute of Medicine Committee on Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake. Information-Gathering Workshop; 2009; Washington, D.C.