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Low Carb Eats #4 - Enjoy your cheese

Thursday, January 09, 2014

I've been on the "flexitarian" spectrum for over 20 years. No land meats, but I've been on and off with fish. When eating a low-carb diet, that means that cheese = joy.

While cheeses are generally low-carb, it is still a good idea to read the labels. Even better to go to the SELF Nutrition Data tool to see how many grams of carbs turn up when you select the largest portion size given, so you can spot the cheeses that have 2x - 4x the carbs of others. This doesn't make them forbidden, just something you want to keep an eye on. No messing around with reduced fat cheeses or the skim milk version; higher carbs.

After spending months and months in the low-fat vegetarian weight loss mode, really going high fat was a mental obstacle. Cheese was there to help me through it!

Cheese on salad - shredded, grated, or grilled as croutons. If you're having to survive a meal from a salad bar, cheese and salad dressings are going to provide the bulk of your calories... just reverse all the "how not to sabotage your diet at the salad bar" guidance you've ever read!

Cheese your soup - adding some creamed cheese to your soup is about all it takes to achieve "Low Carb Cream of ____" soup. Cream of mushroom soup is as easy as cooking chopped onion and celery in some olive oil, adding mushrooms, cooking, then adding broth and cream cheese.

Cheese as crackers and crisps - microwave on parchment paper or a paper plate until it starts to brown. OMG. I've had good results with little bits of deluxe american cheese, and with a thin layer of shredded cheese. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, and paprika before cooking for extra pow.

Cheese for dessert - A little mascarpone or ricotta, heated or cold, mixed with a little flavor like cinnamon. Try sweetening with some stevia glycerite if you're appeasing the sweet craving. Or top with a small portion of sliced strawberries.

Cheese your vegetables - This George Stella recipe for cauliflower "mac & cheese" shows the way.

Cheese plate your cheese - When I really want to appreciate the savory things, I arrange a plate with 2 or 3 different cheeses, some nuts, olives, and pickles. Not nearly as elegant packed in baggies, but it also works as a packed lunch.

Convenient cheese - I buy cheddar and whole milk mozzarella in blocks, but I keep shredded cheese and pre-sliced cheese around, too. Sometimes it takes making things quick and convenient to get in the way of other urges. My husband never thought he'd make himself a hot breakfast every morning, but if shredded cheese and low carb tortillas make his low carb breakfast burritos happen, they've earned a spot in the fridge.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon YUM!!! I think in another life I was a mouse! LOL! emoticon
    1534 days ago
    emoticon Ummmmm - cheeeeeese!

    I personally wouldn't dignify that low-fat or skim milk stuff with the name of "cheese" - those just aren't right! Much, much better to enjoy the real stuff.

    Thanks for the idea of baking it in to "crisps" - that had never occurred to me!

    Everything else is pretty much standard around here - always have sharp, aged white cheddar, havarti, gruyere, and ricotta around. I buy the hard cheeses in blocks, and grate a container full every week or two so that there's always some ready to use. Slices of cheese, pickles, fruits, and veggies are our standard "road trip" meal.

    Of course, there's always the special artisan cheeses that we'll buy a few ounces of, to savour by themselves, or while sipping on a good merlot...

    emoticon Now you've got me re-thinking supper tonight...
    1535 days ago

    1535 days ago
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