The 6 Best Cheeses to Eat for Weight Loss, According to Dietitians

No need to cut out cheese if weight loss is your goal. Here’s what to look for at the store.

<p>Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall</p>

Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

Reviewed by Dietitian Alyssa Pike, RDNReviewed by Dietitian Alyssa Pike, RDN

Is cheese a food you feel you need to cut out of your diet because you’re aiming to lose weight? Think again. Eating cheese can be such a delicious joy, and many varieties that are lower in calories and higher in protein can fit into your eating plan. We spoke to dietitians to find out the best cheeses for weight loss and how you can incorporate them into a balanced diet.

Related: What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Cheese Every Day

Is Cheese Healthy?

Cheese can be part of a healthy diet, especially when it comes to weight loss. Cheese is a source of protein, which plays a significant role in satiety. As a result, cheese may help keep you full for longer after meals or snacks, possibly helping you reduce your overall calorie intake. Plus, along with protein, cheese provides essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus, all of which are important for bone health.

The fats found in cheese, such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), have been shown to support weight loss by helping to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass. Fats also contribute to satiety, meaning a serving of cheese might go a long way in making you feel full, which can prevent overeating.

The 6 Best Cheeses to Eat for Weight Loss

1. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is an excellent high-protein option for those looking to lose weight. With 180 calories and a whopping 24 grams of protein per cup of reduced-fat cottage cheese, it’s a top-notch fill-you-up food.

One of the fantastic things about cottage cheese is its versatility, says Wan Na Chun, M.P.H., RD, owner of One Pot Wellness. “It can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes, making it a convenient and flexible ingredient in your meal planning,” she says.

Whether you mix cottage cheese with fruit for a protein-packed breakfast like this Cottage Cheese with Raspberry Honey, blend it into smoothies or use it as a base for savory dishes like salads and casseroles, this cheese adapts well to many recipes.

2. Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is another choice for those aiming to lose weight while still enjoying rich, cheesy flavors. Unlike many cheeses that add significant calories to a meal, Parmesan’s strong punch of flavor means you only need a small amount to feel satisfied. Just 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan can add a delightful touch of cheesy goodness to your dishes for about 20 calories, says registered dietitian nutritionist Alyssa Smolen, M.S., RDN, owner of Arugalyssa.

Incorporating Parmesan into your diet can be simple, as it’s versatile for use in a multitude of dishes. Sprinkle or grate it over salads, pasta or vegetables to boost flavor without adding excessive calories. Or make these Parmesan Crisps for a cheesy bite.

3. Labneh

Labneh, a Middle Eastern cheese, is a lesser-known choice for weight loss due to its balanced nutrition. This tangy, lower-calorie soft cheese has a consistency similar to sour cream and is made from strained yogurt, making it a rich source of gut-friendly probiotics. A 2-tablespoon serving offers 3 grams of protein for 45 calories. “I love it as a garnish on my roasted salmon, as a topper to my salads and as a spread on whole-grain toast or crisp pita,” says Lauren O’Connor, M.S., RDN, author of Healthy Cooking for One Cookbook. Our Roasted Baby Zucchini with Lemon Labneh makes an excellent side dish for chicken or fish.

4. Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese contains a lot of moisture, which saves on calories and fat. “Whole or part-skim mozzarella cheese—like the ones that come in a ball—are low in calories and sodium and can also be low in saturated fat, especially the part-skim varieties,” explains Mandy Enright, M.S., RDN,, author of 30-Minute Weight Loss Cookbook: 100+ Quick and Easy Recipes for Sustainable Weight Loss. One ounce of part-skim mozzarella serves up about 70 calories and 7 grams of protein. Enright recommends enjoying mozzarella as a snack on its own paired with some fruit, served with tomatoes and basil as a caprese salad or added to a sandwich with other roasted veggies. This Mozzarella, Basil & Zucchini Frittata is another winner.

5. Goat Cheese

If weight loss is your goal, consider goat cheese: it’s lower in fat than other cheeses and often contains up to one-third fewer calories per serving. A 1-ounce serving of goat cheese clocks in with about 75 calories, compared to 115 calories for cheeses like Cheddar, provolone or Swiss, explains Katie Drakeford, M.A., RD, owner of Drakeford Consulting, LLC.

Plus, goat cheese is pungent, and a little goes a long way. A small sprinkle will add flavor to your meals. That’s why we love these Grilled Vegetable Salads with Goat Cheese and our Goat Cheese & Fresh Herb Omelet.

6. Quark

Quark is a satisfying, high-protein option that's popular in Germany and worth adding to your shopping cart, says Rachel Weiss, M.S., RD, a dietitian based in Germany. A half-cup serving of nonfat plain quark contains about 90 calories and 11 grams of protein, almost double the protein for the same amount of calories as other cheeses.

“It’s creamy and thicker than Greek yogurt, with a smooth texture for those that don’t like cottage cheese,” says Weiss. “Spread some on whole-wheat toast with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, mix with chopped herbs for an easy vegetable dip or sandwich spread, blend into smoothies for a thicker texture, use in a variety of recipes or simply stir in some fruit and enjoy it solo,” she recommends.

Tips for Choosing the Best Cheese for Weight Loss

Consider these three nutrition factors when choosing a healthy cheese for your weight-loss goals:

  • Calories: For weight loss, you’ll want to peek at the nutrition label for a calorie check. Make sure the calories per serving align with your goals. You also don’t have to abide by the suggested serving (typically 1 ounce). Sometimes a tablespoon or two is all you need.

  • Fat: Choosing low-fat, part-skim and reduced-fat cheeses is a simple way to lower the calorie content of your cheese without feeling deprived.

  • Protein: Most cheeses contain protein, but some have more than others. Cottage cheese, labne and quark are especially high in protein per serving compared to other options.

The Bottom Line

Cheese has a reputation for being high in calories, but there are types of cheese that may be helpful for weight loss. Look for cheeses that are low in calories, part-skim or reduced-fat and contain protein. We believe that all foods can be part of a healthy eating plan, so choosing your favorite cheese sometimes—even if it’s higher in calories—can still support your goals. However, if you eat cheese often, you may want to enjoy one on our list.

Read the original article on Eating Well.

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