There are a number of foods which, thanks to the seemingly never ending cycle of dietary fads, get a bit of a bad reputation, and cheese is among the best of them, which is a bit irritating as done properly, it is also often a favourite ingredient.
The British Cheese Board however have been on a mission to prove that in moderation, cheese can be a positive part of our diets, and in a recent survey found that it is an extremely cost effective source of protein, with Cheddar ranking second best for protein value after the humble peanut from a tested list of the 14 most popular protein-rich foods. That’s in addition to it’s reputation as a source of calcium. Just to reiterate that point, Ayela Spiro, Senior Nutrition Scientist at the Dairy Council commented: “Protein should provide the body with roughly 10 to 15% of its dietary energy, and is needed for growth and repair.”
As we say though, to be honest, cheese is just something that we very much enjoy, and in the firm belief that a little bit of what you fancy does you good, here are a few, surprisingly healthy, ways to treat yourself when the afternoon slump hits …
WHOLEMEAL MUFFIN WITH CHEDDAR CHEESE
After sport or exercise this snack provides a combination of carbs to refuel and protein for muscle function. This is a quick and easy snack option for those on-the-go, and there are also so many great low-fat Cheddar alternatives on the market, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative.
To make: Top one lightly toasted wholemeal English muffin with a tsp of pickle, some thin slices of apple and 20g thinly sliced Cheddar. Pop under the grill until the cheese is melted.
(295 cals, 10.1g protein, 39g carbohydrate (23g sugars), 11.8g fat (6.8g saturates), 7.2g fibre, 1.5g salt)
MALT LOAF AND CHESHIRE CHEESE
Try a malt loaf combined with crumbly Cheshire cheese for a low GI treat for a sweet tooth and enough energy to keep you going.
To make: Top one slice of malt loaf with 20g Cheshire cheese. Enjoy!
(179 calories, 7.5g protein, 23g carbohydrate (7.9g sugars), 7.1g fat (4.1g saturates), 1.2g fibre, 0.5g salt)
FIGS WITH MELTED BLUE CHEESE
Blue cheese such as Stilton, like most cheeses provides vitamin B12, and having adequate B12 in your diet reduces tiredness and fatigue. Figs contain potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
To make: Halve three figs and place face up in a preheated oven (180 C, Gas mark 4) for 5 minutes. Top with 2tbsps of Blue Stilton, crumbled. Pop back into oven for 1-2 minutes more until the cheese begins to melt.
(151 cals, 6.2g protein, 15.9g carbohydrate (15.9g sugars), 7.4g fat (4.7g saturates), 2.2g fibre, 0.4g salt)
PEAR WITH PUMPKIN SEEDS
Boost your level of zinc (found in pumpkin seeds) with this healthy snack. Zinc is an important mineral in the body and plays an important role in maintaining healthy hair and nails.
To make: Mix two tbsp pumpkin seeds with 30g Wensleydale cheese with apricots and half a large ripe chopped pear together in a ramekin. Scoop up with a teaspoon and enjoy!
275 calories, 11.7g protein, 16.6g carbohydrate (13.3g sugars), 18g fat (5.6g saturates), 4.7g fibre, 0.3g salt)
GRANOLA BERRY MIX
The granola provides fibre, and the addition of the natural sweetness of the honey combined with the low fat cottage cheese makes this is a tasty post-dinner snack.
To make: Combine a tablespoon (15g) of granola, and 3tbsps thawed frozen berries. Add a teaspoon of drizzled honey for sweetness and 100g low fat cottage cheese, which ensures this snack is a delicious source of protein.
(188 calories, 15.4g protein, 18.8g carbohydrate (17.7g sugars), 3.8g fat (1.5g saturates), 3.3g fibre, 0.8g salt)
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