Cheese Nutrition Corner

Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD

Wake Up To Breakfast

Whether you leap out of bed every morning excited to meet your day or can barely open your eyes until you’ve downed your first cup of coffee, breakfast is a meal that can jump start anyone’s day. While fueling your body is important after a 10 to 12 hour overnight fast, surveys reveal that 10 to 30 percent of U.S. adults skip breakfast while only 44 percent say they eat it daily. September is All-American Breakfast Month, so what better time to add breakfast to your regular routine?

Breakfast Benefits
In addition to fueling your body, breakfast boasts several other advantages. First, studies show breakfast eaters have a better overall daily nutrient intake compared with those who skip breakfast. Also, eating breakfast has been associated with lower body weight and increased satiety, a feeling of fullness after a meal. Finally, research shows that breakfast helps children and adults to be more alert and improves both mental and physical performance.

Breakfast Essentials
When putting foods on your plate, make sure you include these three essentials to deliver the best breakfast boost:

Protein: Experts recommend spreading out your protein throughout the day and including 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal to help build and maintain muscle. Diets higher in protein have also been shown to help curb hunger. Dairy foods—milk, cheese and yogurt—are delicious and easy ways to get high-quality protein in the morning.

Carbohydrate: Glucose from carbohydrates is the primary and preferred source of energy for the brain and other tissues. Carbohydrates at breakfast are the most efficient and effective way to refuel the body quickly after an overnight fast. Cereal, bread and fruits are good carb choices to help you refuel at breakfast.

Fiber: While filling you up with fewer calories, fiber-rich foods can also help with weight management by providing a feeling of fullness and help promote digestive health. Adults should aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day, and whole-grain breads and cereals along with fruits and vegetables can add plenty of fiber to your first meal of the day.

Creating your Breakfast Plate
If you need some ideas on how to power up your breakfast plate, we’ve got plenty of quick, easy and delicious recipes at The breakfast recipes below use a variety of Sargento Shredded and Sliced Natural Cheeses, and provide at least 20 grams of protein per serving. After enjoying these, you’ll never want to skip breakfast again!

Basted Eggs with Pepper Jack and Avocado

Breakfast Sandwich

Cajun Omelet

Soft Poached Egg with Cheddar, Asparagus, Artichokes and Fingerling Potatoes

Breakfast Quesadillas

(1) International Food Information Council Review, 2008. Breakfast and Health. Available at:

Get the Real Facts

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.