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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PRIMAR

1/17/2012 7:44:30 PM

PRIMAR's SparkPage
Great Ideas, will try some forsure :)

COMET60

1/17/2012 7:06:58 PM

COMET60's SparkPage
Great ideas! I love blue cheese dressing but make it healthier buy using feta cheese crumbles (lower in fat) and then just a touch of the dressing. Yum!

KAYLSLYNN

1/17/2012 5:37:08 PM

KAYLSLYNN's SparkPage
CHEESE IS MY FAVORITE GO TO SNACK. THANK YOU FOR THE INFO. I WILL TRY THEM . HATE FAKE CHEESE.

LIS0707

1/17/2012 5:32:40 PM

LIS0707's SparkPage
Several of these sound so yummy. Sounds like I need to get some lite cream cheese with the next lot of groceries!

LIVINGSIMPLY355

1/17/2012 4:26:30 PM

LIVINGSIMPLY355's SparkPage
Thanks for the ideas! I love cheese!

SARHOD99

1/17/2012 3:06:42 PM

SARHOD99's SparkPage
Thanks! I love cheese and am afraid to eat too much of it!

ACK2012

1/17/2012 2:56:08 PM

ACK2012's SparkPage
Thanks for the cheese ideas...love cheese so I'm happy not to have to give it up!

LEGALGRL

1/17/2012 2:55:50 PM

LEGALGRL's SparkPage
I didn't read through all the comments so I'm not sure if someone has said this yet or not, but Laughing Cow low fat cheese wedges are also a good choice. Pair them with whole grain crackers or vegetables for a yummy treat - or spread them in a whole-wheat tortilla with chicken, peppers and black beans for a yummy burrito. They're already portion controlled and the light variety (which comes in many different flavors) are only 35 calories each. Yum!

EMILWVJ514

1/17/2012 2:51:09 PM

I've bookmarked these for Superbowl Sunday - yum!!

LNELSON56

1/17/2012 2:19:33 PM

LNELSON56's SparkPage
I'm a cheese lover and will try some of these.. Thank you!

GLEORIA

1/17/2012 2:14:03 PM

GLEORIA's SparkPage
I am so glad to have viewed this blog. I am a cheese lover and I had some great healtier alternatives from this.

TRAVELINGROSE

1/17/2012 2:12:04 PM

TRAVELINGROSE's SparkPage
Cant wait to try these!

CAZBRAZ

1/17/2012 2:09:45 PM

CAZBRAZ's SparkPage
I use very low fat cream cheese spread on my toast / bread instead of butter or low fat marg - it's much more tasty and even lower in calories and fat! Especially yummy with a little strawberry jam for breakfast!

JILLSTIME2LOSE

1/17/2012 1:57:14 PM

JILLSTIME2LOSE's SparkPage
I love cheese too and this sounds delicious! Can't wait to try it. Thanks

AMANDAMANGELL

1/17/2012 1:19:34 PM

AMANDAMANGELL's SparkPage
I love cheese! Thanks for giving me some healthier ways of eating it!!

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