10 Healthy Snacks for Cheese Lovers

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10 Healthy Snacks for Cheese Lovers

By Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer

If cheese pleases your palate, watch out: Those creamy calories can really add up. Satisfy your cheese cravings for fewer calories with these smart snacks!

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

An order of cheese sticks can have 700 calories and 41 g fat--plus a day's worth of saturated fat. But they're oh so good! Make your own with panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and low-fat cheese sticks. Swap the mozzarella for Cheddar or Colby Jack to change things up, and dip into your favorite salsa or marinara sauce.
Chef Meg's "Fried" Cheese Sticks (152 calories per serving).


Cheesy Stuffed Tomatoes

If you like insalata caprese, you'll love this spin on the tomato-basil-mozzarella salad. Hollow out two small tomatoes, then fill each with 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese. Top with chopped basil or chives for a quick, protein-packed snack.

Think Outside the Cracker Box

Cheese is packed with protein and calcium, so be sure to pair it with an equally nutritious snack partner. Sliced veggies and fruits are a low-calorie, highly nutritious and flavorful accompaniment to any cheese. Whether it's sliced tomato and mozzarella, green peppers and Colby, or pears and Cheddar, you'll love the contrast of crisp and creamy, chewy and crunchy! Happy snacking!

Queso-Salsa Dip

This cheesy snack is so easy, it doesn't require a recipe: Stir one serving (approximately 1 oz.) of reduced-fat or fat-free cream cheese into your favorite salsa; microwave until warm and bubbly. Serve with your favorite baked chips or sliced veggies. Much healthier than queso dip from a jar!

Cheese Quesadilla

When you crave something warm and cheesy, a simple quesadilla is a great choice. Place 1 oz. of your favorite reduced-fat cheese inside a whole-wheat or corn tortilla (no more than 6 inches in diameter). Microwave until warm or heat in a skillet, flipping halfway through. Slice into at least four wedges and dip into salsa or tomato sauce. Bonus: add lean chicken or beans for protein and veggies for a boost of filling fiber!

Better Cheese Dips

Read the label on your favorite cheese dip lately? Chances are, there's not much actual cheese. Make your own to save money, and you'll also cut down on extra fat, salt and calories. Try one of these dips next time a craving strikes.

Sweeten the Deal

Cheese pairs just as well with sweet foods as it does salty and savory items. Create a sweet treat with one of these cream cheese-based dips. They're perfect for dipping fruits--tart Granny Smith apple slices, strawberries, banana slices and grapes all make delicious choices.

Add Smoke and Spice

There's a whole world of flavored cheeses out there that add lots of taste without any additional calories. Smoked mozzarella and provolone replicate that meaty, smoky taste that bacon lends to a sandwich, while pepper Jack adds a kick. And, because their flavors are so strong, you can often get away with using less cheese, saving on fat and calories. Check out these recipes with smoked and spicy cheeses!

Get Shredded!

No matter which cheesy snack you're choosing, portion control is key. To keep your snacks and meals from getting too cheesy, try this tip: Stretch it out! A cube of cheese, melted or not, isn't going to "stretch" as far as the same amount of shredded cheese would. Shred or grate your cheeses, and you'll be able to enjoy that cheesy goodness in every bite!

Perfect Pimento Cheese

A Southern favorite, pimento cheese is salty, creamy and tangy--but also quite fatty. Slim yours down by choosing reduced-fat mayo and cheese, and up the nutrition factor by stirring in chopped scallions and extra pimentos. These recipes have under 200 calories a serving!

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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DAWNLOGA

7/9/2012 6:30:18 PM

DAWNLOGA's SparkPage
Soup looks delicious!

LYNNBRADLEY

7/9/2012 4:17:34 PM

~ great ideas!

MSCHUCKIE

7/9/2012 1:59:33 PM

MSCHUCKIE's SparkPage
cheese is my favorite and I am always looking for extra sharp and imported chesses..my sister is a whiz when it comes to cheese and I value her oponion more than anything else.. I woulkd rather eat cheese or combo of any different kinds.than meat. the flavors are sooooo much better.

MCLOYD2

7/9/2012 1:32:57 PM

MCLOYD2's SparkPage
I'm a cheese lover, but it can get expensive. Becauseeveryone in my home loves cheese.

LAHUDSONCHEF

7/9/2012 11:22:02 AM

LAHUDSONCHEF's SparkPage
My biggest concern is the sodium...being pre-hypertensive, I am trying to lower my sodium intake, so cheeses are almost a no-no, especially the lower-fat varieties which pack in the salt. Any options? If you offer suggestions, is there any way to msg me directly, rather than just answering here?
Laura

BOYSGIRL2

7/9/2012 10:53:39 AM

BOYSGIRL2's SparkPage
Hm. Cheese quesadilla? Lasagna? Counting calories or carbs, these don't look like they're going to help you lose any weight.

NOWUSU

7/9/2012 9:47:58 AM

good to know some of these tips!

EMHAYDEN

7/9/2012 9:07:42 AM

Mozzarella sticks looked great. I would have looked at the other recipes but couldn't get past the advertizements! Sparkpeople-please! Be careful about where you place the ads!!!

TAMARCO

7/9/2012 8:34:14 AM

chese power
er

DAYSPRING-STAR

7/9/2012 8:05:34 AM

DAYSPRING-STAR's SparkPage
I do love my cheeses! To cut fat and calories I am gradually trying various fat free and low fat versions, but am not totally thrilled by what I've had thus far. I do like most light string cheese versions as a portable/packable/convenient quick protein snack. Also have started grating my own romano and parmesan. I've found that freshly grated has much more flavor and a little goes a long way to satisfy!

JENNAAW

7/9/2012 7:53:43 AM

JENNAAW's SparkPage
I wish someone would come up with a low calorie version of baked brie...

NANCYHOME247

7/9/2012 6:38:06 AM

NANCYHOME247's SparkPage
Chunks of cheese have pouted in my refrigerator's cheese drawer for over 4 weeks now, silently accusing me of abandoning my favorite snack. This is a good way to bring some of it out into the light.

RINGLETT52

3/12/2012 9:03:53 PM

RINGLETT52's SparkPage
Cheese is the best. I can never get enough. These recipes are great.

123ELAINE456

3/10/2012 7:01:24 PM

123ELAINE456's SparkPage
I Love Cheese very much. Will try some of the recipes and tips when I have cheese the next time. Thank You Very Much. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week.

JAMIELYNN1234

3/7/2012 4:31:09 PM

JAMIELYNN1234's SparkPage
I love cheese sticks I can not wait to try that recipe !

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