Food Focus: cottage cheese

photo: Donna P Feldman

photo: Donna P Feldman




Anyone of a certain age remembers the infamous diet plates of the 1950’s and ’60’s:

  • scoop of cottage cheese
  • hamburger patty
  • parsley sprig or slice of pineapple

Talk about a lump of lead in your stomach.  Just looking at this dreary sight was enough to kill your appetite.  This was back before low-fat dairy came into vogue, along with low fat beef.  So there were probably about 300-400 calories in that meal, depending on how big the portions were.  Extremely high protein, no flavor.

But it turns out those diet plates might have been on to something.  Cottage cheese is very high protein, and would make the basis of a more modern diet plate, in a lower fat version, surrounded by crunchy fresh vegetables.  The high protein content plus the high fiber content of the vegetables will help stifle your hunger and fill you up.

A cup of low fat (not non-fat) cottage cheese has less than 200 calories and a whopping 27 grams of protein.  It has a modest amount of calcium, but does contain salt, so be sure to include those high potassium vegetables.  Thanks to the high protein content, cottage cheese is an especially good source of the amino acid leucine.  Leucine turns out to be critical for a number of metabolic systems that control protein synthesis and metabolism, helping to build muscle while moderating insulin and glucose levels.

Forget the unappealing beef patty.  Build yourself a no-fuss 21st Century diet plate with cottage cheese, fresh veggies and fresh fruit like berries.

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