Cheese is delicious and is a high-quality food that can be a nutritious part of the many eating styles including, but not limited to:
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage adults and children 9 years and older to enjoy three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt each day. While nutrient profiles vary due to the large variety of cheeses available, it contributes nutrients for good health including protein, calcium, vitamins A, and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.
In fact, nutritionally, cheese is the number two source of dietary calcium; but more than just calcium, it also provides high-quality protein your body needs to help you stay healthy. A serving of many types, provides on average, at least as much protein as an egg.
Cheese not only tastes great, it’s a convenient, portable and versatile food and can be used to build a nutritionally powerful plate. When paired with other foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, it may help children, and adults, eat more of these food groups, including dairy.
For those with lactose intolerance, it can be an important source of calcium. Natural cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss contain minimal amounts of lactose, because most of the lactose is removed when the curds are separated from the whey in the cheese-making process.
Pairing cheese with nutrient-rich foods: A study published in the Spring 2010 issue of the Journal of Child Nutrition & Management found that the visible addition of cheese to various school lunch menu offerings may help increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables or whole grains compared to when cheese is not paired with them; therefore, potentially helping to increase total nutrient intake to improve diet quality.
Donnelly JE, Sullivan DK, Smith BK, Gibson CA, Mayo M, Lee R, Lynch A, Sallee T, Cook-Weins G, Washburn RA. The effects of visible cheese on the selection and consumption of food groups to encourage in middle school students. J Child Nutr Manag. Vol. 3, Issue 1, Spring 2010.
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