Yes, you can have your cheese and stay fit, too.
According to sports dietitian Christina Strudwick, M.S., C.S.S.D., founder of The Fueled Athlete, “Cheese can be part of a healthy lifestyle when it’s unprocessed and eaten in moderation.” Just think natural (like everything from our favorite family of cheesemakers—the BelGioiosos).
That’s not all. “Cheese has lots of nutrients, like filling protein and bone-building calcium,” says dietitian Amy Gorin, R.D.N.
Its biggest plus is by far its protein content. Swiss, cheddar, and mozzarella have 7–8g per oz, which can help pack on muscle. Hard cheeses can also lower blood pressure—especially Grana Padano, a new study has found. And ricotta is packed with whey, the most satiating of all proteins.
Finally, always go for quality cheeses. Just watch the quantity, and err on the side of “Damn, that tasted great,” not “Damn, I can’t buckle my belt.”
“The harder cheeses tend to contain more protein per serving,” Strudwick says. Here, she’s indicated the varieties highest and lowest in protein down to grams per ounce so you can snack smart.