Cottage Cheese Please!

Cottage Cheese Please!

I’ve always loved cottage cheese. I know many people (my husband included) have an aversion to it; or remember it served at diners on “the diet plate special” along side a half of melon and a bunless burger. One of the first diets I ever want on was called the Hospital diet and 1 cup of cottage cheese was a part of every day on the 3 day plan. That diet was part of a stupid phase I went through in HighSchool that never lasted. I think healthy eating (with occasional splurges) and exercising are the best ways to feel good, look good and enjoy life.

And yet, cottage cheese is quite an enjoyable snack; and with 14 grams of protein for only 80 calories in each 1/2 cup, it is an awesome addition to every sensible diet. One of my favorite new finds is Friendship Cottage Cheese Fit To Go cups. They are perfectly portioned and make it easy to grab one and go.

Cottage cheese is one of the best post workout snacks when paired with fresh cherries, peaches, pears, apples or any fruit of your choice, the combo of protein, whey, casein and fast digesting sugars (from the fruit) make it the perfect recovery meal. Cottage cheese can also be blended with whey or soy protein and fruit for a satiating shake. One recipe I discovered recently combined crushed pineapple, shredded coconut, cottage cheese, protein powder, skim milk and half of  a frozen banana. This could be a great pre or post workout snack, mid morning tide me over or healthy breakfast choice.

Breakfast is one of the best times to incorporate cottage cheese in to your diet. People who start their day with a high protein meal eat less over the course of the day and feel energized. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and your body expends more calories when breaking down protein so your metabolism gets a boost. The calcium and protein in cottage cheese help keep blood sugar balanced and makes it easier to concentrate and power through the morning.

One of my favorite things to do is spread some cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon and stevia (or a sweetener if you wish) then broil it on a piece of toasted whole grain bread. It tastes like a delicious cinnamon danish. Have the cheese toast with a cup of raspberries and a cappuccino and you’ll be feeling great till noon! I also love to substitue cottage cheese for greek yogurt or milk. Take oatmeal or fiber one or just nuts, sunflower, flax or chia seeds and sprinkle on top of a cup of cottage cheese add fresh blueberries and a dash of cinnamon and it’s a breakfast of champions. (You can even prepare this the night before and grab and go on the way out the door).

Friendship created new mix ins to add to your cottage cheese fit to go containers. They range from granola blends to wasabi pea mixtures. A mid afternoon snack of cottage cheese and a mix in is great. Or mix cottage cheese with any seasonings (or even a low sodium lipton soup mix like onion and make a dip of it) of your choice and dip fresh veggies in to it.

You can substitue cottage cheese for higher fat cheeses when baking your favorite lasagna or manicotti for dinner. You can use it as a filling for chicken breasts. You can mix it with a light yogurt and add to a low fat graham cracker shell and freeze for a low fat delicious sweet treat. I love dannon light and fit lemon yogurt mixed with cottage cheese slightly chilled then served with a crushed graham cracker on top.

There are a million ways to eat cottage cheese and to see it in a new light. I can easily disguise it and serve a delicious dish to my husband without him realizing he’s eating it. I would love to hear some of your favorite ways to incorporate cottage cheese in to your healthy lifestyle; and if you have any favorite special mix ins you use. Send me your recipes!

Cottage Cheese Toast:

Lightly toast one or two pieces of ezekial or any whole grain, multigrain or raisin bread.
Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup cottage cheese with cinnamon (and a sweetener if you desire).
Spread the cottage cheese on the lightly toasted bread and toast or broil for
30-60 seconds.

Variations:

Add cocoa powder instead of cinnamon for a chocolate cheese danish or even sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on top and let them melt with the cheese.

Mix a tsp of peanut, almond, cashew or sunflower butter in with the cottage cheese before spreading on the toast.

Just use plain cottage cheese and right when it comes out of the toaster swirl some raspberry jam (or your favorite flavor) across the top.

Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A mother of a toddler and twins on the way, she sure keeps herself busy!

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