Health Benefits of Eating Fresh Cheeses in Summer

by Maison Morand

Are you waiting to achieve your summer weight goal? We have a solution to help you stay fit and refreshed throughout the summer season!

Summer calls us to enjoy foods that beckon our taste buds but also keep us cool in the sweltering heat. Fresh cheeses are perfect for this, known for their creamy textures and delicious flavors. They're also packed with nutrients that make them a healthy choice. Doesn’t that make them the perfect summer food?

In this article, let’s explore how you can stay nourished and hydrated with a fresh and healthy diet.

What are Fresh Cheeses?

Fresh cheeses are a category of cheeses that are not overly aged or ripened. Here are some key facts about fresh cheeses:

  • Minimal Aging: Unlike aged cheeses that sit for a while, fresh ones are eaten soon after they're made, usually within days to weeks.
  • High Moisture Content: Fresh cheeses retain a significant amount of water, giving them a soft, creamy texture. This makes them smooth and spreadable, perfect for dishes where you need a creamy consistency.
  • Nutritional Profile: Fresh cheeses are nutritious, typically containing high levels of protein, calcium, and vitamins such as B12 and D. These nutrients are essential for bone health, muscle function, and overall well-being.

Here are Maison Morand’s cheese recommendations of fresh cheeses to maintain your healthy diet all summer long:

  • Mozzarella: Known for its high calcium content, mozzarella can be used in pizzas, salads, and sandwiches.
  • Brie: This soft, creamy cheese with a mild flavor is rich in fat and protein, along with calcium, vitamin B12, and riboflavin.
  • Camembert: Similar to Brie, Camembert is filled with high-quality protein, essential vitamins such as vitamin B12 and riboflavin, and minerals including calcium and phosphorus.
  • Goat Cheese (Chèvre): A tangy cheese made from goat's milk, Chèvre is especially rich in Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and vitamin A. Goat cheese is also high in B vitamins like thiamine, niacin and riboflavin.
  • Emmental: Emmental contains many nutrients that contribute to a balanced diet. It has vitamin A for  healthy vision, vitamin D to regulate the balance of calcium in the body, vitamin B2 to energize and support growth, and vitamin B12, which supports blood formation.
  • Gruyère: Another Swiss cheese, Gruyère contains calcium, phosphorus and sodium, which all contribute to a great balanced diet.

Let’s now explore how these cheeses can benefit you nutritionally!

Health Benefits of Including Fresh Cheese

Imagine biting into a slice of fresh mozzarella, its soft texture giving way to a burst of creamy richness. Fresh cheeses like mozzarella, emmental, and brie not only provide this delicious experience but also offer essential nutrients that support overall health.

Most worry that cheese is high in fat, sodium, and calories. To ease your worries, here are some benefits of incorporating fresh cheeses into your diet:

  • Rich in Nutrients: They are packed with essential nutrients like calcium for strong bones and teeth, and protein and vitamins for muscle repair and growth.
  • Lower in Calories: Compared to aged cheeses, fresh cheeses are often lower in calories, making them a lighter option.
  • Easier to Digest: Their high moisture content makes them easier on the stomach, suitable for those with lactose intolerance or sensitive digestive systems.
  • Hydration: The moisture in fresh cheeses helps maintain hydration levels, particularly beneficial during hot weather.
  • Versatility: They can be used in a variety of sweet or savory dishes, from salads and sandwiches to desserts, adding nutrition while being delicious.
  • Probiotic Varieties: Some fresh cheeses, like yogurt and certain types of cottage cheese, contain probiotics. These beneficial bacteria contribute to gut health, aiding digestion and supporting immune function.

Incorporating into Meals and Snacks

Imagine a platter of ripe tomatoes and basil leaves, drizzled with olive oil and topped with slices of fresh mozzarella—a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. Fresh cheeses lend themselves beautifully to salads, sandwiches, and snacks, adding a creamy richness that satisfies hunger and enhances flavor.

Here are some easy and healthy recipes for you to prepare at home:

Brie and Apple Whole Grain Wrap

  • Ingredients: Whole grain wrap, slices of Brie cheese, apple slices, baby spinach leaves, honey (optional), Dijon mustard (optional).
  • Directions: Lay a whole grain wrap flat and layer with slices of Brie cheese, apple slices, and baby spinach leaves. Drizzle with honey and/or Dijon mustard if desired. Roll up the wrap tightly and slice into pinwheels or enjoy whole.

Emmental and Broccoli Quiche

  • Ingredients: Pie crust (store-bought or homemade), Emmental cheese (grated), broccoli florets (blanched), eggs, milk (or cream), nutmeg (optional), salt, and pepper.
  • Directions: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a pie dish with pie crust. Sprinkle grated Emmental cheese evenly over the crust. Arrange broccoli florets on top. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk (or cream), nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over the broccoli and cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes until quiche is set and golden brown.

Chevre and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast

  • Ingredients: Chicken breasts, fresh spinach leaves, crumbled goat cheese, garlic powder, paprika, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Butterfly chicken breasts and season with garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stuff with fresh spinach leaves and crumbled goat cheese. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sear chicken on both sides until golden brown. Transfer to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Supporting Weight Management

For those watching their weight, fresh cheeses offer lower-fat and lower-calorie options compared to many aged cheeses. 

  • Choose Low-Fat Varieties: Opt for low-fat or part-skim versions of fresh cheeses like mozzarella to reduce overall calorie intake.
  • Use Moderation: Enjoy fresh cheeses in moderation. Use them as a flavorful accent rather than a main ingredient in dishes to control calorie intake.
  • Pair with High-Fiber Foods: Pair fresh cheeses with high-fiber foods like whole grains, vegetables, or fruits to increase satiety and reduce overall calorie consumption.
  • Include Physical Activity: Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine to support weight management while enjoying moderate amounts of fresh cheeses.

You can also be mindful of your portion sizes. Here are some pointers that you may find helpful:

  • Read Serving Size Guidelines: Check product labels for recommended serving sizes of fresh cheeses. Stick to these guidelines to manage calorie intake effectively.
  • Use Small Plates: Serve fresh cheeses on smaller plates or bowls to visually control portion sizes and avoid overeating.
  • Pre-Portion Snacks: Pre-portion fresh cheeses into single servings or small containers to grab as snacks, ensuring you stick to appropriate portions.
  • Balance with Nutritious Foods: Balance fresh cheeses with a variety of nutrient-dense foods like lean proteins, whole grains, and vegetables to create balanced meals and snacks.

Start Your Nutrition Routine with Fresh Cheeses!

Fresh cheese is not only an accessory of dishes; it can be the perfect complement for summer, while not being a concern for your health or weight. So, the next time you plan your summer get-together, or want to create your healthy meal plan, do not forget to include the great flavors of fresh cheeses in your recipes!