October 1, 2012
Stage 3: More Cheese Please!

Stage 3... I know some of us are thinking, "Yeah cheese!" While others, due to lactose or dairy intolerances, or general food preferences, may not share the same cheese-related enthusiasm.  Along with cheese, stage 3 also features cottage cheese, and high protein yogurts. As you move forward through the dietary stages, it is going to be up to you to work within the 20/20 Lifestyles guidelines to build a routine and meal plan that fits you. If that is adding cheese, here are some tips!

By now, you should be very comfortable with the lean protein and vegetable centered structure of your meals. Even though we consider low fat cheese and Greek yogurt "proteins"," adding cheese will not significantly change this structure. The 20/20 LifeStyles meal plan recommends 0-2 servings of a low fat cheese or high protein yogurt per day. To learn more about serving sizes and what is considered a "low fat cheese," and guidelines for cottage cheese and high protein yogurts, refer to the stage 3 video.

The 0-2 serving recommendation is listed as such, because cheese or high protein yogurt isn't a required addition to the meal plan. Similarly, if you are a cheese lover, than you have the ability to add up to two servings daily. Portion sizing is going to be very important when it comes to cheese. 2 servings used wisely through the day can provide some great meal additions, or many new snack ideas!

If you have never tried Greek yogurt before, this is what you can expect! This high protein yogurt has a natural "tang" that many popular fruited yogurts do not possess. It also has a thicker texture than many other yogurts as well! Don't let either of these deter you. Greek yogurt, due to its increased protein content, will help to keep you full, and satisfied! Moreover, Greek yogurt paired with ½ cup of fresh or frozen berries is a both a tasty and portable snack option!

Here are some recommendations on how to use cheese within your meal plan. A light string cheese can be paired with a full cup of vegetables for a tasty, portable snack, as well as ¼ cup low fat cottage cheese with some chopped vegetables. As far as using cheese during mealtimes, ¼ cup of low fat shredded cheese can be a great salad addition.  Items such as grated parmesan cheese should be used as a condiment sprinkled on a meal, versus a cheese serving in itself. For more recipe ideas, refer to the stage 3 20/20 Lifestyles cooking video!

I hope this has given you some new ideas on how to add in cheese into your meal plan!

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