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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1/3/2013 3:46:08 AM

Yes! Options for the mouse in me!
I love cheese so much, I gained an easy 15 lbs of it this year!
Glad to see there are some options for this house mouse.
THANK YOU from my HEART!!!!!


9/23/2012 9:05:10 AM

I am a cheese-a-holic. These are great solutions. I especially like the idea of using shredded cheese, instead of block cheese, to trick your brain into thinking you're getting more.


9/22/2012 5:55:32 AM

LADYRH's SparkPage
Will try some of these this weekend


8/30/2012 11:47:55 AM

DJ-DUSK's SparkPage
Great article! Can't wait to try making cheese chips.


8/27/2012 1:25:59 PM

MELAYAHM's SparkPage
I've heard that grated cheese tastes more cheesy, because your tongue gets more cheese per surface area, so you feel like you've eaten more than you have.


7/15/2012 6:22:58 AM

This is my favorite! One of the restaurants I go to has this and it is the best! A delicious snack as well!


7/11/2012 2:14:40 PM

-SHOREIDO-'s SparkPage
Thanks for all the "cheezy" tips! Really I've been looking for ways to satisfy my cravings for the one food I miss the most............. : )


7/11/2012 12:10:18 PM

I love to eat cheese - real cheese -- not kraft or velveta singles. Whether its goat cheese on crackers or a sharp cheddar with a tart apple or a half turkey breast and provolone sandwich - it is an essentil dairy option for me!


7/10/2012 4:14:46 AM

123ELAINE456's SparkPage
Thank You for all of the tips and suggestions. Yhey will help. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week.


7/9/2012 6:32:20 PM

thanks for the tips


7/9/2012 6:30:18 PM

DAWNLOGA's SparkPage
Soup looks delicious!


7/9/2012 4:17:34 PM

~ great ideas!


7/9/2012 1:59:33 PM

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.


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.


7/9/2012 11:22:02 AM

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?

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