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Healthy Holiday Eating: Navigating the Cheese Plate

By Tasha McRae

Tis the season! As you celebrate with friends, colleagues and family this holiday season you will be tempted with lots of treats and rich foods. It seems every holiday party spread seems to include a tray of cheese and crackers. Here are some tips to help you make the best choices at the cheese plate.

Q: Which cheese is the best cracker topper?

A) Brie

B) Cheddar

C) Goat

ANSWER: C) – Goat Cheese

If you love the tangy taste of goat cheese (chevre), you’re in luck! Softer cheeses are usually lower in calories and fat than their firmer cousins. Here is a look at calories per ounce, from lowest to highest:

  • Goat: 75 calories

  • Brie: 95 calories

  • Cheddar: 114 calories

With any kind of cheese, calories can add up quickly. So, take your serving and then try to move away from the cheese plate rather than gathering around the food which can trigger visual cues to provoking you to eat more. In fact, we know that when many different varieties of food are offered buffet-style, people tend to eat more overall as we tend to want to try a bit of everything. Physically moving away from the food, so it is not in your line of sight is a simple and effective strategy for eating less at a holiday gathering.

Tasha McRae, BHK, ACSM, CES/CET, is a certified exercise physiologist and Director of Programs and Training at LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic