4 Reasons Why Cheese Is Important For A Keto Diet
Is anyone else tempted to follow a keto diet just so you can eat cheese with every meal? Luckily cheese is both nutritious and delicious, and with more and more plant-based cheeses hitting the market, it is an important part of any diet. Many cheeses are high in calories, but as long as you control the quality, the caloric count is no reason to avoid cheese as part a balanced diet.
Aside from the great taste, here are the main reasons why cheese is important in your keto diet – it is nutritious, versatile, has an adaptable flavor profile, and is affordable as an alternative to meat. As a bonus, we have also rounded up some cheese forward keto recipes so you don't waste any time figuring out how to incorporate this staple into your diet.
Many types of cheeses fulfill the low carbohydrate/high fat macro nutrient profile, and provide important nutrients. Although cheese is low carb, it is high calorie, so its important to work out have much cheese you can eat per day, and plan how to incorporate that amount into your meals. Unfortunately too much cheese means too may calories, and that is not going to help you lose weight whether you are in ketosis or not.
Different varieties of cheese have different nutritional profiles, for example, 100g of Parmesan has approximately 431 calories, 29g of fat, 38g of protein, and 4.1g of carbs, whereas 100g of Brie has approximately 334 calories, 28g of fat, 28g of protein, and 0.5g of carbs. Other nutrients from most cheeses include potassium, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium.
Cheese can be incorporated into virtually any meal or snack, and is represented in a majority of the worlds cuisines with the general exception of south east Asian and Chinese dishes. Different regions have different cheeses, and the regional cheese styles are as distinct as the geographical differences - from feta cheese in Greece to Emmental in Switzerland, and from Paneer in India to Labneh in the Middle East, they all have their distinct flavor and use.
The list of foods that do not go with cheese is pretty short – seafood (especially fish) is a major one, although there are a few exceptions, such as lobster mac and cheese or shrimp Alfredo. Sweet and sour, or hot and sour, style dishes generally don’t pair well with cheese, but spice and cheese are not a complete write off as some Mexican and almost all Tex-Mex dishes benefit from a spicy and cheesy pairing.
Cheese can be eaten raw or cooked, turned into sauces, crisps, topping, and dips, and even grilled on its own. It has been said that if someone doesn’t like cheese, then they are simply eating the wrong kind of cheese, and when cheese is paired to enhance the flavors it is with, then it will enhance almost any dish.
3. Adaptable Flavor Profile
In a lot of cases, cheese is a fusing ingredient that bridges the flavor profiles of other ingredients with stronger flavors, and melds them together. Some novel combinations of flavors work because they share the same major flavor components (ie chemical compounds), such as pineapple and blue cheese, or strawberries and Parmesan (thank me later!!!), but sometimes it is simply the more mild flavor of a cheese that allows strong flavors to co-exist, such as adding mozzarella on a basil and tomato pizza.
Cheese, of course, also physically binds lots of popular keto dishes such as crustless quiches, stuffed chicken breast, pizza, and low carb pasta bakes. It creates a beautiful creamy sauce when melted into dishes, or a crispy savory topping when grilled on top.
Cheese varies in price, but there are definitely affordable cheeses available that give great value when compared to meat, based on nutritional content per dollar spent. Of course, boutique cheeses are not an everyday option for many of us, but don't let that stop you seeking out specials. Try places like Costco, or your local cheese monger's sale section, and make sure you keep an eye on flyers from your regular grocery stores as cheese is often on sale.