I don't know about you, but I've never met a cheese I didn't like. Parmesan, cranberry Brie or anything in between, I'm basically a cheeseaholic. So I was particularly excited to find out that my favorite nibble can actually help keep me slim. That's right—women who ate an ounce of full-fat cheese every day gained fewer pounds over time than those who didn't, according to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Turns out whole-fat dairy may stoke your metabolism because it contains conjugated linoleic acid. To harness these health properties, each day savor a single ounce (about the size of your thumb) of one of the cheese whizzes below.
Make goat cheese your go-to spread
Your 1-ounce portion has 76 calories, 6 grams of fat (4 g saturated) and 5 g filling protein, so it curbs munchies. Bonus: Traces of copper in goat cheese stoke your immune system. Have goat cheese in place of mayo on a sandwich or in a wrap, mix it with chopped nuts and dried fruit to create a nutritious schmear for whole-grain toast or crackers, or spread it on a pizza crust, as in this tasty Artichoke, Goat Cheese and Chicken Pizza.
Sprinkle Parmesan on veggies
Reason to keep your grater handy: a serving of Parmesan has nearly as much calcium as a glass of milk, and 10 g protein. Add a shower of the white stuff to green beans, salad or enjoy some fluffy, golden Parmesan rolls with your dinner.
Melt some cheddar
Upgrade from a slice of American to this sublimely meltable favorite and you'll get 6 percent more calcium. It's terrific on burgers, tacos and grilled cheese, but if you're looking for something different, try these Pinto Bean & Cheddar Patties.
Snack on Monterey Jack
This mellow fromage and its spicy cousin, pepper Jack, deliver 20 percent of your daily requirement of calcium and 6 g protein in a single 110-calorie ounce. Have a couple bites with grapes or apple slices as an afternoon snack or enjoy it in a Mexican dish.
Add ricotta to pasta (and more).
Mangia, mangia! The cheese of choice of Italian grandmothers everywhere should be yours, too—even full-fat ricotta has just 49 calories per ounce. Add it to your pasta at dinner or spoon a dollop over fresh berries, then sprinkle with nuts and drizzle with honey for a sweet and filling breakfast.
Stuff a sandwich with provolone
Want to instantly upgrade your lunch? One slice of provolone delivers 21 percent of your daily requirement for calcium, as well as bone-building minerals phosphorus and selenium, for 100 calories and 7 g fat (5 g saturated). Savor some in these Turkey Paisano Sandwiches with Fig-&-Black Olive Vinaigrette. Bonus: Firm cheeses like provolone tend to have less lactose, making them tasty options for those who are lactose-sensitive.
Fold mozzarella into omelets
For a nutritious breakfast, add mozzarella to your morning meal. A 1-ounce serving delivers 22 percent of your daily calcium for 85 calories and 6 g fat (4 g saturated). Try it at lunch, too, in a Grilled Vegetable & Mozzarella Panini.