You’re sitting in your PJs in front of the TV just before you head over to bed and call it a day. A commercial comes on the TV showing a couple eating cheese fondue for dinner. The cheese pull of the fondue is magnificent and makes your mouth water. That there does it in. Now you have a craving for cheese.

However, ever since you started that new diet plan, you’ve been watching what kinds of food and how much you eat, especially keeping in check your weakness for dairy products.

As long as it’s a healthy cheese, it can’t hurt right?

Count the Ways to Enjoy Some of the Healthiest Cheeses

healthy cheeses

Whether before sunrise or after sunset, rain or shine, in a business suit or fuzzy PJs, at a restaurant or friend’s house, you can enjoy some of the healthiest cheeses anytime, anywhere.

Grate some parmesan over your pasta with red sauce.

Slice and dice feta in a Greek salad.

Enjoy provolone in a turkey sandwich.

Stuff a manicotti with savory ricotta cheese over tomato basil sauce.

Build a tiramisu fortress with ladyfingers between delicious mascarpone cheese.

No matter which way you slice it, whether for dessert or the main course, if they make you an offer with cheese, it’s an offer you can’t refuse.

1. The Mediterranean Effect: Feta Cheese

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If you love Greek food, you probably already love Greek salad with a generous amount of feta cheese.

Lucky for you, this strong-flavored and salty cheese is more than just delicious. Made from sheep or goat’s milk, feta cheese contains key nutrients such as calcium and riboflavin, aka vitamin B2. Riboflavin helps the body maintain its energy levels as well as acting as an antioxidant to fight off radicals that can cause cellular damage.

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Per a serving size of 28 grams, feta has significant amounts of phosphorus, vitamin B12, and selenium.

Can’t get enough of feta cheese in your life? Try making phyllo turnovers or using it to flavor dips and nachos.

2. The Muscle-Building One: Cottage Cheese

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Body builders are notorious for eating mounds of this delicious, but healthy cheese. And for good reason.

In just half a cup of cottage cheese, you have 16 grams of protein. So, it’s no surprise that this cheese promotes muscle recovery, steady protein synthesis, and weight loss. Be sure to choose the low-sodium variety to make it one of the healthiest cheeses you can have.

It is made by boiling and curdling milk with the aid of an acidic ingredient such as vinegar, lime juice, or lemon juice. When the milk boils, your cheese will curdle and form lumps of milk curds. These curds are then pressed and formed into your favorite lump of cottage cheese.

If the old cottage cheese in a bowl is boring for you, try mixing it up a bit with pineapple, peaches or mango.

3. The Chevre: Goat Cheese

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For those who cannot tolerate cow’s milk products, goat milk products such as goat cheese, or in French le chèvre, may be a solution for you.

The milk protein, A2 casein, found in this cheese does not show any inflammatory effects associated with cow’s milk. This milk instead is similar in protein structure to human breast milk. Researchers have found that goat milk, when introduced as the first kind of protein after breastfeeding, is less allergenic for babies than cow’s milk.

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Some other studies have shown that, comparable to cow’s milk, goat milk increases absorption of iron and improves bone formation as well as the bioavailability of specific minerals such as magnesium.

Because of its creamy texture, goat cheese can be used like cream cheese: You can spread it on toast and bagels; stuff it into olives and peppers; or add it into sauces and creamy soups, salads, sandwiches, grain dishes, in frittatas.

4. The Best Italian Friend: Mozzarella Cheese

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Originating from Southern Italy, this creamy cheese is not only your best Italian friend, but one of the healthiest cheeses out there.

In Italy, this cheese is typically made with water buffalo milk, hence the name mozzarella di bufala. While it’s rare to find in the U.S., try your luck at an Italian delicatessen near you.

As with other cheeses, mozzarella cheese boasts of probiotics, protein, fat, and nutrients to support your whole-body health. It is filled with energy-producing vitamin B and vitamin B12, which supports healthy red blood cells.

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You’ll be sure to find this cheese on pizza, pasta, and salads. However, don’t forget to try Bocconcini cheese, which is fresh mozzarella that usually comes in small balls. It is mozzarella cheese as it should be.

5. Spaghetti and Meatballs’ Best Friend: Parmesan Cheese

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Known as Parmigiano Reggiano, parmesan cheese is a rich source of calcium, an essential mineral for bone growth and strength.

A one-ounce serving size offers about one-third of the typical adult’s recommended daily need for calcium. It is also an excellent source of protein. A one-ounce portion of Parmigiano Reggiano provides one-fifth of the typical person’s daily protein.

Vitamin B12 is another important nutrient parmesan cheese contains. This vitamin is needed for the formation of red blood cells and maintenance of the central nervous system.

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Because of Parmigiano Reggiano’s long aging process, babies ages 8 to 10 months old can easily digest the cheese. The cheese is also a great choice for young children, and seniors with sensitive digestive systems.

Shamelessly add grated Parmesan cheese to your pasta, pizza, lasagna, sandwiches, and salads. You can even enjoy it with fruit such as apples and pears for a tangy dessert.

6. The Dessert One: Ricotta Cheese

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An excellent source of calcium, ricotta cheese is not only one of the healthiest cheeses, but also one of the most delicious. It contains 25% of your daily calcium needs, and 14 grams of protein in just half a cup. Compared to cottage cheese, it has twice as much calcium and zinc as well as four times the amount of vitamin A.

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This cheese is made from whey that’s left over when hard cheese is pressed. The whey is reheated until it forms a curd. Then it is passed through a fine cloth, giving the cheese a firm and slightly grainy texture.

You can make healthy desserts out of ricotta cheese by adding lemon zest and juice, dark chocolate and a little honey. It is heavenly in pancakes, breads, muffins, and coffee cakes. You can also use it in the place of mozzarella cheese for an extra rich lasagna dish.

7. The Best One on a Sandwich: Provolone Cheese

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Easily the best cheese to put on a sandwich, this semi-firm Italian cheese is known for its smooth texture and mild taste.

Provolone cheese, originating from Southern Italy, is made from cow’s milk. The majority of production of Provolone takes place in Po valley region, especially in Lombardy and Veneto.

There are two forms of provolone cheese: Provolone Dolce, which is aged for 2-3 months and has a pale yellow to white color with a sweet taste; and Provolone Piccante, which is aged for more than four months and has a sharper taste. There is a similar cheese called Provoleta, which South American countries produce.

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Provolone cheese contains high amounts of calcium and protein, but is high in sodium.

Enjoy this cheese in a cheese melt sandwich, with fruit, in salads, or even hot chutneys. Don’t forget a little red vino as this cheese goes well with a full-bodied, aged red wine.

8. The Elder One: Pecorino Romano

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This hard, Italian cheese has a distinct sharp, and salty flavor. Made from sheep’s milk, this cheese is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a type of Omega-6 fatty acid. According to a study, consuming CLAs within Pecorino Romano can lower your BMI and risk of diabetes, obesity, cancer, and inflammation.

Be sure to purchase the cheese if it reads “Pecorino Romano” because that means the cheese has been regulated and produced on Italy’s islands of Sardinia, Lazio, and the Tuscan Province of Grosseto.

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Pecorino Romano adds flavor to pasta dishes, green salads, or vegetable dishes. It can also be shaved into grain salads, egg dishes, and pizza.

9. The Only One for Grilled Cheese: Cheddar Cheese

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Originating in Great Britain in a village by the same name, this sharp or extra-sharp cheese is the most popular cheese in the UK and second most popular in the U.S.

If you want to pick a healthy choice, avoid processed cheddar cheese products made from artificial preservatives and yellow coloring such as Mac ‘N’ Cheese, and sliced cheddar cheese.

Real cheddar cheese on the other hand, is off-white, or a mild orange color — depending on which spices are added, how long it’s been aging, and the type. Like the other cheeses, cheddar boasts of protein, vitamin A, a whole host of B vitamins as well as calcium for proper muscle and nerve function.

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Enjoy this cheese in quiches, risotto, homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, baked breads, sandwiches and the incredible grilled cheese.

Indulge in Your Favorite Cheese Without the Guilt

Shamelessly enjoy some of the healthiest cheeses on the market.

Only don’t indulge too much. Remember all things in moderation.

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