boost your healthspan with food and nutrition

Too much cheese: not a terrible problem

Too much cheese: not a terrible problem

There’s a whole lot of cheese in my house at the moment. On one grocery trip, I bought 4 different varieties: Jack, Cheddar, Mozzarella and Colby. I had plans for all of them. Meanwhile a household member visited a cheese maker’s shop in a certain midwestern state and brought home several more wedges of prize-winning Gouda and cheddar.

If there’s one thing I hate it’s food waste. Who was going to eat all this expensive cheese? Clearly I was going to have to do my part.

Cheese, Health and Nutrition

Over the past several decades, cheese has been slammed by the public health community, because cheese has significant fat and sodium content. Food manufacturers were quick to capitalize on the anti-fat hysteria by engineering low fat and fat free “cheese”, using food starch, gums, gelatin, colors and preservatives to make the low fat stuff hold together and look like real cheese. You won’t find any of those additives in real cheese.

Real cheese has a lot going for it, making it easy for me to feel good about eating more of it:

  • Nutrients, particularly calcium, protein, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin D.
  • Convenient and ready to eat
  • Tasty
  • Versatile
  • Fits with plant-based, Mediterranean and vegetarian diets.

Yes cheese has significant fat. The solution? Eat smaller amounts. Savor the rich flavor. No one needs to eat big slabs of cheese.

Using up cheese

Here are 5 ways I’m adding cheese to my daily menu:

  1. Very thin slices (use a cheese plane) on toast in the morning. The slices are so thin, the heat from the toast melts them.
  2. Slices of cheese with a light lunch of tossed salad or sautéed vegetables.
  3. Cheese omelet for dinner, with fresh vegetables on the side.
  4. Cheese chunks for afternoon snack to shut down hunger. Another option: thin slices to make a half cheese sandwich, or a cheese/lettuce wrap.
  5. Channelling the French: a bite of cheese after dinner satisfies the palate. A much better choice than a big sugary dessert. You’d be surprised at how well this works.

Obviously there are plenty of other ways to use cheese. My goal is to emphasize the cheese itself, rather than just mix it into some other dish.

The Main Point

  • Real cheese!
  • Easy way to boost protein, which is important for older people
  • Small portions!
  • Savor the Flavor!

I’d also suggest you avoid having too much cheese in the refrigerator at any one time. Cheese keeps well, but it doesn’t keep forever.