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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DAKOTADEBBIE

1/30/2012 9:03:36 PM

DAKOTADEBBIE's SparkPage
Love cheese - But I have learned to go for the reduced fat & sodium ones in my sandwiches. Once in a while I will splurge and have one slice of Kraft Cracker Barrel extra sharp Vermont Cheddar - Yummy !!!!!!

ITSMEQUIENMAS

1/30/2012 7:52:05 PM

yum

TIFF4Q

1/30/2012 3:02:16 PM

TIFF4Q's SparkPage
I love cheese~!

A243850

1/30/2012 1:24:16 PM

A243850's SparkPage
The cheesy crisp crackers are delicious!

AYANKEEFAN51

1/30/2012 10:44:39 AM

AYANKEEFAN51's SparkPage
I'll try these thanks.

LAMARY9

1/30/2012 10:20:55 AM

LAMARY9's SparkPage
I'm a cheese lover. Yum.

JACKSMEME06

1/30/2012 9:34:51 AM

JACKSMEME06's SparkPage
I'm going to try these on game day. I have teens who love cheese sticks.

EMMANYC

1/30/2012 7:25:33 AM

Meh - I think the best way to enjoy cheese is to enjoy a very small portion of really good cheese and eat it by itself (or, at most, with a piece of fruit).

PERRYCNA1

1/30/2012 2:51:21 AM

PERRYCNA1's SparkPage
will try these.........

FLATROSIE

1/28/2012 11:01:58 AM

FLATROSIE's SparkPage
Great reminder that I don't have to avoid cheese!

HYATTI1

1/27/2012 2:15:44 AM

HYATTI1's SparkPage
I am a cheese lover these snacks are really great.

LORNE67

1/26/2012 7:28:59 AM

LORNE67's SparkPage
Thanks for the cheese ideas. Love cheese & a dairy farmer!

CHARRIS312

1/25/2012 12:17:36 PM

Yesterday... I went to trader joes..and got the Whole Wheat hand made flour tortillas and their low fat shredded cheese..and made a microwaveable quesadilla.. with salsa.. low in calories..but great in taste...

THINJIM1

1/25/2012 8:11:41 AM

Thanks, Ive always big on cheese. The ideas give me an expanded reference for the high protien diet I am restricted to.

THERESA1017

1/22/2012 2:15:55 PM

THERESA1017's SparkPage
I love cheese! That is one of my biggest challenges, but will try some of these great ideas!

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