6 Lower-Calorie Options for People Who Love Cheese
For people who are calorie-conscious, note that these are the cheeses with the fewest calories.
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Cheese isn’t a villain
Cheddar, Swiss, and other hard cheeses are delicious, but pack over 100 calories per ounce. However, keep in mind that cheese also contains calcium and protein, as well as vitamin B12 and other nutrients. In general, cheese and other types of dairy can be part of a healthy eating plan. However, if you are concerned about portion sizes or calorie intake, there are cheese options that are naturally lower in calories—and some of these are probably already your favorites. Here’s how they stack up, and delicious ways to add them to your meals and snacks.
Parmesan: 22 calories per tablespoon
Two tablespoons of grated Parmesan (try Andrew & Everett’s) has less than 50 calories. Parmesan is the healthiest cheese to use to add a burst of umami flavor to soups and pasta. It pairs perfectly prosciutto, too.
Feta cheese: 77 calories per ounce
Feta is a tangy alternative to more fatty cheeses. Just a half-ounce will transform a salad. Different types of feta have different calories, so check the label. Each variety of feta—we recommend Valbresco, Mt. Vikos, and Athenos—tastes deliciously unique. One surprisingly delicious way to eat feta: with watermelon. (Here’s how to pick out the right watermelon.)
Goat cheese: 75 calories per ounce
This creamy cheese has about the same amount of calories as feta. The flavor of goat cheese varies by type, but it is generally tangy like yogurt, like this Capricorn pick. Goat cheese is perfectly suited for spreading on a sandwich. Replace mayonnaise with this protein-filled spread. Or try it in a yummy salad with arugula.
Mozzarella: 70-85 calories per ounce
If you’re using a lot of cheese—think lasagna—consider cooking with part-skim mozzarella cheese; it only has about 70 calories per ounce and might be the lowest-calorie cheese choice that’s also an excellent source of calcium. For 15 more calories per ounce, whole milk mozzarella can be more satisfying. Try this instead of cheddar on a grilled cheese sandwich or just add basil and sun-dried tomato spread for a delicious treat.
Neufchatel cheese: 70 calories per ounce
This spreadable cheese is the ultimate antidote to fattier cream cheese. Philadelphia brand’s 1/3 less fat cream cheese is actually this type of cheese. You won’t miss the fat, and some people swear that Neufchatel actually tastes better. Make it your bagel’s new BFF, or smear it on banana bread instead of butter.
Camembert: 85 calories per ounce
Try this cousin to Brie with crackers and fruit. Camembert is made in a similar way to Brie but has 10 fewer calories per serving. Don’t limit Camembert to the cheese tray. Baked in a Portobello mushroom, it can be an entire meal. If you are choosing calories carefully, here are some high-calorie foods that are actually worth eating.
- United States Department of Agriculture: "USDA Food Composition Databases"
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Dairy intake is associated with brain glutathione concentration in older adults"