Q: I am on cholesterol-lowering medication and for years I’ve used edam cheese with its lower fat content, but at times I would love to branch out and use other cheeses in my cooking. Any suggestions of which cheeses are healthiest?
A: Edam is a mild-flavoured lower-fat cheese, relatively speaking (around 27 per cent fat), but it is by no means the lowest. Brie and camembert are around 24 per cent fat – still not low-fat so instead of on crackers for a snack, use a little of these cheeses in sandwiches or as part of a meal. Feta and parmesan cheese are usually around 20 per cent fat. They are strong-flavoured cheeses so you need only a small amount to add lots of tasty flavour to dishes. Try halving the amount of edam in your recipes and use parmesan for flavour. Mozzarella and ricotta are usually under 20 per cent fat, and can be good substitutes for cream cheese. Cottage cheese – both regular and low-fat – is very low in fat, and can be used to make a good cheese sauce, or in pasta bakes, or as a substitute for cream cheese or sour cream in dips and as a topping. Read the labels (look at the ‘per 100g’ column) to compare cheeses and brands, as they do vary.