Saturday, November 26, 2011

Move Over Big Cheese

I love cheese. Maybe too much. No, not too much, but maybe too often. In a honest moment with myself the other day I realized that cheese had become my go-to snack food. I don't make super-cheesy meals, but when I need a quick breakfast or snack...I go for the cheese. And, let's face it, it is usually cheese + a hot/slightly warmed carbohydrate.

What's wrong with cheese as a snack? Nothing. Nothing, I say! Well, except for one thing: giving cheese - or any one food type - so much airtime in my diet isn't best for me. I am missing out on so many other delicious snacks and opportunities for vitamins and nutrients. I am not looking to remove cheese from my diet. Rather, I am trying to reserve this favorite treat for moments when nothing else will do (as opposed to every time my tummy grumbles). So, over the last week I have been searching for and finding cheese-alternatives that pack a similar punch to cheese. It has been fun! I will continue to share under this idea as I discover yummy options, but here are my findings so far.

Example du jour! Roasted Garlic Spread on whole grain bread! Roasted garlic is SO easy. You can prepare and store in the fridge for use through out the week. As we know, garlic is super good for you. But, you don't have to take it from me, the New York Times says so, too. Or how about tahini!? Made from sesame seeds - this paste can offer you a fatty flavor (in a good way) that we get from cheese. Like garlic, tahini is good for you. I like to combine tahini with lemon juice with a touch of salt on salads or sandwiches. Or, try my sister's cabbage chips - nom, nom! She's the photographer of the photo to the left.

There are so many easy go-tos. Avocados with a dash of lime and hot sauce. Freshly ground peanut butter with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of honey. How about crusty bread with olive oil paste? Hmm, how about a bowl of arugula with a simple dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper? I love raw honey with a piece of dark chocolate for a sweet snack.

So, again, cheese will continue to be a part of my life. But, there are a lot of options that are so beautifully simple and, just maybe, even better for me. I will continue to explore, but please let me know if you have a favorite go-to healthy snack!

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