There is a lot of buzz at work about getting in shape lately. Perhaps an early spring is making people aware of the upcoming swimsuit season. So besides filing taxes; we are once again awakening to the ideas of working out, eating right, and preparing to show off those hard-earned bodies.
When thinking of eating right, I can’t help but pause to consider cottage cheese. The television says it is healthy. However, to be honest with you, I am not a big fan. In fact, the thought of it makes me think of Jane Fonda and her leg warmers, yuck! Therefore, those funny looking white curds simply are not on my yummy list. However, for the sake of fairness, I wanted to give this food a fair trial. Therefore, I decided to check out the facts about cottage cheese, and find out if those facts could change my mind. I learned that this white stuff is made by gathering the curds when milk is separated and then drained. It is never pressed or aged. Next, talk about variety! There are 4%, 2%, 1% or non-fat, and even salted and unsalted, plus with or without herbs or fruits. At least cottage cheese does come in many styles..
I also discovered that low-fat cottage cheese is a favorite among body builders because it is a great source of protein and calcium. Although not everyone is a body builder, you can still benefit from it. That calcium is great for your bones and heart. Livingstrong.com reports that a one-cup serving of non-fat cottage cheese contains only about 105 to 123 calories. With those calories, you will get 15 to 26 g of protein, providing you with most of the essential amino acids, 125mg of calcium (just about 12.5% of your daily value), and a variety of vitamins and other minerals. Even low-fat cottage cheese is still low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Nevertheless, there is one problem, as you may have suspected. Cottage cheese, even in low-fat form, is heavy in salt. If you are concerned with blood pressure, don’t over-indulge. Better yet, choose the type that has no added salt.
Now, there is no doubt that cottage cheese is an amazing food. However, I am not the type to be satisfied to eat the cheese curds straight up. Having written Loved by Chocolate! on Valentine’s Day, I have decided that chocolate benefits almost everything. And boy does it benefit this diet food. Just a bit of chocolate and minimal effort can turn this little cheese into a luxurious dessert, a decadently luxurious mousse, in fact. To make this mousse, you will need…
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese with no added salt
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp honey, or 2 packets splenda
- 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
This recipe yields 4 to 5 half-cup servings
Sprinkle gelatin into skim milk. Let it dissolve for 2 minutes and then warm the milk in microwave on high for 30 to 40 seconds. Watch out for boil-over. Stir the gelatin at the end to ensure proper mixing. Combine with the rest of the ingredients into a blender. Blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Pour the mixture into 1/2-cup size dessert cups. Refrigerate for about one to two hours to set. To enjoy, top the mousse with blue berries. If you bring this mousse to work, make sure it is kept cold and refrigerated. It will be an oasis of delight in the middle of your work day.
Final thought: I have at last come to terms with cottage cheese. I think such a nutritious food deserves a fresh look this spring. With the help of chocolate, cottage cheese can never never be the same old cheese. So next time when you get a coupon for cottage cheese, run, don’t walk, to your supermarket to get some, and start getting in shape with this guilt free pleasure.
Dietary Notes for Readers Who Have Lactose Intolerance
After publishing this article, I got some questions from readers on how to enjoy this dessert even with a lactose problem. Indeed, there are a couple of ways.
- Use lactose-free cottage cheese.
- Add lactase drops (how can I get it?) when mixing the ingredients according to the package instructions.
- Take a lactase supplement (how can I get it?) before enjoying the mousse.
- Enjoy a small amount of mousse – just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Enjoy the mousse with other food to help slow down digestion.
To read more about how to enjoy lactose containing foods, check out this publication.
- Problems Digesting Dairy Products? (12/08/2011). FDA Consumer Health Information. Retrieved February 26, 2012 from FDA, Consumer Health Information Web site: http:// www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm094550.htm