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Nutrition and You!

Are You Cheating on Your Heart With Cheese?

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Iíll admit it. I love cheese. I eat it almost daily, and serve it whenever I have friends over. It appears I am not alone in my love affair of cheese.

According to the Center for Science in the Public (CSPI) Interest, our consumption of cheese has skyrocketed from consuming about 8 pounds to over 20 pounds per person annually:

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While cheese is a good source of calcium, it is also the No. 1 source of heart-unhealthy, saturated fat in the diets of Americans. To put this in perspective, a person who is consuming 2,000 calories daily should keep their saturated fat intake to less than 22 grams each day. A few ounces of cheese daily could really put a deep dent in your daily allotment:

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So is there a way to enjoy cheese and love you heart at the same time? Yes.

In fact there are two ways: 1) use a cheese plane to slice hard cheese thinly so that you keep to an ounce, and 2) buy the light or reduced fat varieties of cheese, which are surprisingly very good.

When I use cheese as an appetizer, I always serve it with vegetables. This way, you will become full on the veggies before you can over-consume the cheese.

Here are some of my favorite recipes and ideas:

These Stuffed Portobello Caps are stuffed mostly with tomatoes with only a small amount of part-skim mozzarella cheese for a cheesy flavor.

Sandwich a thin slice of part-skim mozzarella cheese and a basil leaf between two slices of a fresh, locally grown tomato. Top the stack with a drizzle of a high quality balsamic vinegar.

These cottage cheese stuffed Cucumber Bites are perfect for a crowd and are easy to make.

Use a thin slice of a reduced-fat Swiss cheese to wrap chilled grilled veggies, bruschetta, or some tomato jam.

Enjoy!

Be well, Joan

Follow Joan on Twitter: @JoanSalgeBlake

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