February 24, 2024

Ricotta cheese is having a renaissance. On TikTok, the hashtag #cottagecheese has amassed more than 200 million views with videos showcasing creative ways to cook with food. (Some standouts include using it to make pancakes, breads, salad dressings, and strawberry ice cream.)

Unlike the fruit roll-up and ice cream trend that’s also taking over TikTok, cottage cheese is a trend that registered dietitians wholeheartedly approve of. I’m excited to see the growing interest in ricotta, especially with so many creative recipes appearing on social media, Registered Dietitian and founder of Street Smart Nutrition Dear Harbstreet, RDN, He says.

Why is cottage cheese so good for you, exactly? There’s one benefit in particular that sets it apart from the other options you’ll find at the dairy.

Related: Cottage cheese is everywhere right now, but is it really healthy? Registered Dietitians share the truth

The maximum health benefit of cottage cheese

Harbstreet says that without a doubt, the biggest health benefit cottage cheese brings to the table is that it’s a good source of protein. One serving of cottage cheese has 11 grams of protein, which is more than most other yogurts. For example, the same serving of plain yogurt made with whole milk contains about 4 grams of protein. The only type of yogurt with a comparable amount of protein is Greek yogurt, which contains 10 grams of protein per serving.

Protein is important for providing the body with energy and satiety. If your meals or snacks don’t have adequate protein, you can bet you’re going to the fridge for something else to eat sooner than you probably like. Scientific research also shows that people who eat a high protein diet are more likely to lose weight than people who don’t eat a high protein diet.

Related: “I tried Feel Good Foodie’s Ricotta Pasta and it’s my new favorite way to sneak more protein into family meals”

In general, a good daily protein goal to aim for is seven grams per 20 pounds of body weight. This means that someone weighing 150 pounds, for example, would need to consume 50 grams of protein per day.

While the protein in cottage cheese may be its biggest health benefit, it’s certainly not the only one.

Related: Can you eat too much protein? And how much is too much? Here are the signs you’re getting more than you need

Other Benefits of Incorporating Cottage Cheese into Your Diet

Registered Dietitian and creator of Once Upon a Pumpkin, Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, agrees with Harbstreet that the protein content of cottage cheese is a big plus. But he says another reason cottage cheese is so beneficial is because it contains probiotics, which support healthy digestion. Probiotic foods, like cottage cheese, are linked to a wide range of benefits, including support for immune health, mental health, and may even help protect against some diseases.

Aside from the protein and probiotic components of cottage cheese, it’s packed with nutrients including calcium, vitamin B12 and selenium, says Michalczyk. Calcium is an important nutrient for bone health while getting enough vitamin B12 and selenium are important for preventing fatigue, just one of the nutrient’s roles.

Even though cottage cheese is packed with nutritional benefits, both dietitians say it’s best paired with other nutrient-dense foods for a complete meal. While cottage cheese can be eaten on its own as a snack, it’s important to note that it may not have enough carbohydrates or fat, depending on the variety, to satisfy as a breakfast, Harbstreet says. The good news is that there are so many ways to enjoy it with other foods that fill in those macronutrient gaps, such as whipping it into a smoothie or pancake batter, spreading it on toast, serving with canned, frozen, or fresh fruit, or folding it into scrambles. eggs, he says. Michalczyk agrees, saying ricotta can be incorporated into both sweet and savory recipes, making it versatile and an easy addition to a well-balanced diet.

Related: “I Tried Ricotta Ice Cream and It’s My New Favorite Healthy Dessert”

When shopping for ricotta, Michalczyk says to look for one that isn’t flavored, as flavored ricotta often contains added sugar. Instead, he says to buy plain ricotta and use the fruit or a little honey to sweeten it at home. Harbstreet says to look for low-sodium cottage cheese. She also says to choose a texture that is palatable to you: Ricotta with small curds is smoother than one with large curds.

While cottage cheese is a health food, Harbstreet points out that it shouldn’t be viewed as a quick fix for weight loss or other health goals. Think of it as one of many options in your overall diet, and if you don’t like eating it, you can get the nutrients in cottage cheese from other foods as well, she says.

There isn’t one food that meets all of our nutritional needs, but cottage cheese is a pretty good one to prioritize. And thanks to its popularity on social media, there are plenty of recipes to discover too. Your body and taste buds will benefit.

Next, check out these 10 foods that have more protein than an egg.

Sources


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