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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2/24/2012 7:08:28 AM

JILLITA55's SparkPage
I love cheese too!


2/20/2012 3:03:48 PM

DRISINGER1's SparkPage
This gave me some wonderful ideas that will enable me to enjoy my cheeses and remain within my dietary guidlines.


2/16/2012 10:29:20 AM

very interesting!


2/8/2012 6:20:36 PM

CCJOHNS82's SparkPage
I love cheese!


2/7/2012 7:30:19 AM

NEITREM's SparkPage
pretty interesting!


2/6/2012 5:57:49 PM

JIMIPAGE29's SparkPage
If you are ever in Manchester, CT you must stop by the Shady Glen dairy and have an order of crispy cheese. WICKED GOOD


2/6/2012 4:45:56 PM

Good ideas. I buy the pre-sliced Tillamook or Sonoma cheese factory pepper-jack for portion control. That is the best 100-110 calories ever as far as I am concerned. ;-)


2/6/2012 3:56:51 PM

Love the queso dip! Will have to try that!


2/6/2012 3:19:07 PM

DWOOD40's SparkPage
I am a true cheese lover, love all kinds of cheese, I like the cheese cracker idea and the cream cheese and salsa idea. I will definatley try these.


2/6/2012 2:15:51 PM

Good.... no cheese for me


2/6/2012 1:18:17 PM

Good tips!


2/6/2012 12:40:33 PM

PICKIE98's SparkPage
the portioned baby bells and wedges are merely low fat cream cheese flavored with other flavors.. buying Neufchatel cheese and portioning it your self is better for those who want to save one.. notice they target it towards women because they know women do a majority of the grocery shopping and guys would buy the above cheese and cut it up..
the all-time lowest of fat and calories n cheese ,is Farmers cheese. Been eating it for about 40 years..


2/6/2012 12:29:09 PM

There are TWO cheeses I enjoy .. Laughing Cow Light and Jarlsberg Light Swiss Cheese. Both are VERY LOW in Calories and both are imho very tasty.


2/6/2012 11:56:52 AM

BBUNCH6's SparkPage
Great ideas! I especially like the idea of melting cheese to make cheese crackers. Definitely going to try this one!


2/6/2012 11:21:31 AM

I adore Neufchatel cream cheese; it's an alternative to regular cream cheese that's 1/3 of the fat, but doesn't have the awful taste of a low-fat cream cheese. It's a tad sharper. I started eating it before I knew it was better for me. ;) I use it instead of cream cheese in ALL my recipes

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