Healthy Snack: Cheese
Few foods can stand on their own yet enhance every meal they are a part of, but cheese can. Cheese is packed full of essential fats, complete proteins and vital fat-soluble micronutrients. This dairy product has been a staple for humans for centuries and with good reason. Dairy products such as Greek Yogurt have gained huge traction in the diets of the physically fit. Cheese however provides a similar overall caloric load with more favorable effects on body composition.
Fat Won’t Make Me Fat?
If you’ve ever checked a nutrient label on cheese you know a significant amount of the calories come from fat. You may also recognize that cottage and ricotta cheese are the resident cheese snacks. Additionally all these cheeses come in low fat varieties. They’re relatively cheap, can be consumed in copious amounts and are a good source of protein. A key fact is that standard harder cheeses, from Swiss to Gruyere, tout the same riches and micronutrient support. Rather than consuming milk sugars from yogurt and cottage cheese try consuming fats essential to your health from cheese. Both provide similar protein content and nutrients. If you haven’t heard about the advantages of consuming fats over carbs for energy check out my article on Trail Mix – basically the lack of carbs keeps insulin levels low making cheese a smart any time snack. Whether it’s a morning addition or late night indulgence your body will be given what it needs and nothing more for it hold on to.
Cheese can also be found with 2% milk fat, whole fat and even fat free. A lesser-known fact is that the benefits of dairy and cheese only exist if fat is present. So why would anyone in their right mind eat fat free cheese? It’s like taking the Vitamin C and flavor out of an orange. If you’re deathly concerned with calories full fat cheese is actually an intelligent option. Oh and if you only eat fat free cheese you’ll want to think a little more long term about your health and well being with all the nutrients you’re missing (keep reading).
All the nutritional benefits of cheese including calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A and the probiotic enzymes are sacrificed without the fat. That’s because certain vitamins and minerals are fat soluble, meaning your body can’t absorb those vitamins unless fat is consumed in conjunction with them. While that plastic synthetic like fat free cheese gets you through the day, think about tomorrow and all the nutrients your body is being cheated out of. You simply can’t count on a multi-vitamin to cover all your needs; there are too many nuances in food and the body for us to possibly replicate it all in a convenient capsule. Cover your bases by getting the real thing. If your body doesn’t absorb these specific nutrients your body will be unable to build up teeth, hair, nails and bones efficiently.
Live to Eat
While engaging in a healthy diet it can be very easy to make meals monotonous and one tone. It’s very easy to get in the rut of eating to live. Flavor is the key to sustainability and sanity in any diet. Fat free cheese packs negligible flavor whilst regular cheese can melt and ooze over each tiny morsel. Not only that but cheese comes in a plethora of flavors, from sharp to mild, from milky soft to bicep firm. Now start to think beyond your own palate. Your latest fling will be very pleased to eat cheese and you won’t have to stress over eating so healthy. I can’t say the wine won’t lead to some lackluster decisions or over consumption however. No matter what the meal or time I highly recommend cheese as a snack and that’s not just because I’m French.