5 Healthiest Cheeses to Eat!

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Photo source: Vegetarian Times

Cheese should be included in any balanced diet. More specifically, 2-3 servings of dairy should be consumed each day, as cheese is a good source of calcium, protein and other nutrients. Calcium also helps to break down body fat. A single serving of cheese is 1 ounce, which is equivalent to about one thin slice or two small cubes, roughly the size of a pair of dice.

Of course there are so many different kinds of cheeses based on various farm animals, aging and processing methods used. So most cheeses are high in calories, fat and sodium, but you can still find healthy cheeses to aid in weight loss, prevent heart disease and osteoporosis (deterioration of the bone).

Healthiest Types of Cheeses

1. Mozzarella

Mozzarella is typically lower in sodium and calories when compared to other cheeses.

Originally from Italy, it is made from the Italian Buffalo or Cow’s milk and is known to have probiotics that strengthen your immune system.

There are different types of Mozzarella on the market, such as full fat, low-moisture, part-skim etc. However, if your goal is to lose weight, I do not recommend that you have Mozzarella cheese as it may still have a bit too much saturated fat. However, if maintaining your weight and you find that you have space for a few fat calories, a part-skim Mozzarella can be consumed. In Jamaica, you can find shredded low-moisture, part-skim Mozzarella with 15% saturated fat in Supermarkets such as John R Wong, Sovereign and Loshusan.

I would love to see the fat-free shredded Mozzarella in the supermarkets though!

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2. Feta

Feta cheese, soft like Mozzarella, originated from Greece. Hence why you probably first saw it in a Greek salad. It can be added to eggs, pizzas and mixed into a dip to eat with fresh vegetables too.

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Photo Source: Loving it Vegan

It is definitely lower in calories compared to other cheeses, but tends to be higher in sodium because of how it is usually packaged to preserve freshness.

Feta is also known to have Conjugate Linoleic Acid (CLA), a fatty acid that has been linked to reducing body fat and improving body composition.

If trying to lose weight, I suggest a reduced fat Feta. Unfortunately, at the moment, you cannot source reduced fat Feta in Jamaica ot a Feta that has less than 20% or 25% Saturated fat, which is way too much. If maintaining your weight, Ruby Goat Dairy located in Trelawny, visits the Ujima Natural Farmer’s Market in Liguanea, Kingston (22 Barbican Road; 9am-3pm) each Saturday and sells low lactose cheeses. You will not see a nutrition label, but it should still be less fatty than the Feta sold in our supermarkets.

Good news though! You know Suga’s got you. One of our favourite farm to table vegetarian and vegan providers are working on the formula to offer Vegan Feta soon! Can’t wait because Feta is the type of cheese you need with a sharp, pungent taste, where you only need a small amount to be satisfied.

3. Goat Cheese

Goat Cheese a.k.a Chèvre, another soft cheese, is tangy and of course, made from goat’s milk.

As mentioned earlier, Goat Cheese is lower in lactose. So it is usually easier to digest compared to cheeses made from cow’s milk. Great for persons who are lactose intolerant.

Goat Cheese contains less acidic proteins, which also aid in the digestive process  and since it is absorbed quickly into the body, it is less likely to be stored as fat.

4. Ricotta

Ricotta, another Italian cheese, creamy in texture, is made from the watery parts of cow, goat, sheep, or Italian water buffalo milk that are left over from making other cheeses.

Ricotta cheese, also available from Ruby Goat Dairy in Jamaica, is usually a great addition to pastas, lasagna, salads, scrambled eggs, creamy dips or can be served with fruit.

Low-fat Ricotta can be sourced in our local supermarkets as well.

Ricotta is a cheese with a high source of protein, mostly whey, which may promote muscle growth and lower blood pressure.

5. Parmesan

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Photo Source: Today Show

Last but not least, Parmesan! One of my faves. Parmesan, unlike the others, is a hard, aged cheese. It’s made from raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk that’s aged for about 12 months to kill harmful bacteria and produce a unique flavour.

Parmesan is rich in Calcium and low in lactose, so it should promote healthy bones.

It is best to have fat-free, or low-fat grated Parmesan and feel free to add it to your veggie or fruit salads, pastas, pizzas and even your burgers.

Have you tried Stush in the Bush’s Vegan Parmesan? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?!

Fat-free Cheeses are on the market, but tend to be sliced, processed cheeses. It is best to stay away from processed foods. Cheese can be a great nutritious addition to a healthy, balanced diet, but it is important to keep an eye on your intake, as some cheeses can be high in sodium and/or fat. Everything in moderation right! Just remember, Cheddar is the devil 😈

By: Gabrielle Burgess (Certified Personal Trainer amd Sports Nutritionist)

If you liked this Blog, follow Suga Lifestyle Online, on Instagram (@sugalifestyle), Twitter (@sugalifestyleja) or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.

A Recipe full of Good Carbs and Fiber for your Diet

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Fiber also known as ‘good carbs’, makes you feel fuller for longer. It is in all fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts.

There are many easy ways to sneak ‘good carbs’ and extra fiber into your daily diet. Here is one of them:

Yogurt Mix Recipe

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Make a yogurt mix for Breakfast.

Take one container of plain
Greek yogurt and mix in 1/3 cup of a high-fiber cereal (e.g. Kashi Go Lean Crisp), 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds, and 5 large, diced strawberries for a whopping 12.2 grams of fiber, which is nearly half of your daily allowance!

By: Gabrielle Burgess (Certified Personal Trainer & Sports Nutritionist)

If you liked this Blog, follow Suga Lifestyle Online, on Instagram (@sugalifestyle), Twitter (@sugalifestyleja) or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.

Embrace the Scale

Many persons who have approached me to lose weight do not own a scale, simply because they are afraid of stepping on the scale and seeing reality. We all know there comes a time when we have to face reality, sooner better than later.

Clients that have been on a successful journey with me that have corrected their eating habits and done sufficient exercise to lose weight often get their own scale at home. As the pounds drop off more and more, they become obsessed with their weight. The only bad thing about that is if you start to lose too much weight but it is usually a good habit to have. Why? You are constantly aware of your weight, whether it is before you reach your goal to encourage yourself to push harder and keep going or if it is after you have reached your goal, you might push a little harder for that extra buffer so you can go on vacay and not feel guilty or have a binge weekend. There is also the opportunity to know you are maintaining or not maintaining. Plus or minus 5 pounds is acceptable. Once you have reached that plus 5-pound boundary from the weight you have been maintaining, the scale is telling you to nip it in the bud. Start to add an extra work out immediately or correct where you have been slipping in your diet so you do not get complacent and wonder how you put back on weight all over again.

Embrace the scale.