ST. LOUIS - Whether or not you're a Green Bay Packer Cheesehead, you'll probably serve the tasty, high-fat, high-calorie American classic at your Super Bowl party.
Although cheese tends to get a bad rap, with a few menu modifications it can "steel" a position of honor at your festive gathering, says Saint Louis University nutrition and dietetics instructor Katie Eliot.
"Cheese is actually one of the most concentrated sources of key nutrients including protein, Calcium and vitamin A and can be found in many reduced fat versions," Eliot said.
"But cheese also is high in saturated fat. A one-ounce portion of cheese, which is about the size of two dice, can have as much as one-third of your daily saturated fat needs. So portion control is important."
Not all cheeses are created equal, Eliot says. She recommends serving harder cheeses, which are aged longer and typically more flavorful. This means a little will go a long, saving you fat and calories. Mozzarella - the most popular cheese in the U.S. - is another good choice because it naturally contains less saturated fat than most other cheeses.
Another tip to giving your favorite cheese appetizers and dishes a nutritional twist: try adding vegetables and whole grains. Eliot shares her five favorite tips to enjoy cheese at your Super Bowl party:
1. Cheese fondue. Use different flavors and combine some reduced-fat cheeses with regular varieties. Use vegetables, apple slices and chunks of whole grain breads as dippers.
2. Macaroni and cheese. Prepare this classic dish, beloved by kids and adults alike, with a healthy flair. Start with whole grain pasta and mix in reduced fat and strong flavored cheeses like Gouda and cheddar. Top with whole wheat bread crumbs for extra crunch.
3. Cheese and vegetable skewers. Thread skewers with small bites of cheese, cherry tomatoes and marinated mushrooms for an easy yet elegant looking appetizer that is a great finger food. Use a soft cheese like mozzarella to cut back on fat.
4. Cottage cheese. There's a lot you can do with this versatile, low-fat food. Use it as a base for dips instead of sour cream or mayonnaise or as a side for a colorful fruit display.
5. Bean and cheese nachos. Turn this quintessential appetizer that is usually loaded with fat and calories into a healthy dish. Prepare the treat with black beans, diced tomatoes and onions, sprinkled with sharp cheddar, served with baked chips.
Long a leader in educating health professionals, Saint Louis University offered its first degree in an allied health profession in 1929. Today the Doisy College of Health Sciences offers degrees in athletic training, clinical laboratory science, cytotechnology, nutrition and dietetics, health information management, health sciences, investigative and medical science, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine, occupational therapy, physician assistant, physical therapy and radiation therapy. The college's unique curriculum prepares students to work with health professionals from all disciplines to ensure the best possible patient care.