One of the healthiest choices in the dairy aisle is nonfat cottage cheese. Which is very high in protein and low in carbohydrate and saturated fat. Low-fat cottage cheese satisfies your appetite and is a great source of healthy milk protein. Fortunately, the egg and dairy section of the grocery store usually provides you with a greater variety of healthy alternatives. For example, you can always find milk in at least three varieties —whole, 2 percent, and skim (non-fat)—some healthier than others.
Many people often mistake the meaning of the fat percentage on milk labels, as it is a different method of fat measurement than on many nutritional labels. If you buy 2 percent milk, that actually means that 2 percent of the total weight of the milk comes from fat, not that 2 percent of the calories in the milk come from fat. In fact, one-third of the calories in 2 percent milk comes from saturated fat—an unhealthy figure. Skim milk, with 0 percent fat, is obviously a much better option.
Most grocery stores offer milk alternatives, such as soymilk, for those of you who are lactose intolerant or vegans. However, you must be careful when choosing soymilk, as most brands are loaded with sugar and carbohydrates and have very little protein. Try to choose a brand of soy milk that gets at least one-third of its calories from protein. To calculate this yourself, take the total amount of protein grams per serving shown on the label and multiply it by four. This will give you the total amount of calories coming from protein. If this number is more than one-third of the total amount of calories per serving then this brand is a good choice. Typically the best choices of soymilk are the ones labeled “plain” or “unflavored”; the vanilla-or chocolate-flavored soymilk is usually the highest in sugar and carbohydrates. I recommend brands such as Silk, Vitasoy, and Whole Foods.
As mentioned before, margarine and butter substitutes and spreads that contain partially hydrogenated oils should be strictly avoided for their trans fatty acid content. Healthier choices for margarine include various brands that use canola oil as a base, such as Promise or Benecol. These can help you lower your cholesterol levels and optimize your fat-burning hormones. A few companies also make “fat-free” margarine spreads. While they actually do contain a small amount of fat, it is so low that calories content is negligible.
Cheese is often a weak point for many people in weight-loss programs. The taste and texture of the cheese are high in saturated fat and belongs in the “indulgent food” category—foods that should be avoided except on special occasions. However, there are healthy fat-free varieties of cheese that taste and melt like regular cheese. Lifetime especially cheese offers a cheese that is made up almost entirely of healthy milk protein and comes in many different flavors. Another alternative is feta cheese (made from goat’s milk), which is lower in calories and has a more favorable blend of fats. For people who are lactose intolerant or are on a vegans diet, there are much tasty alternative cheese made from soy or almond, the healthiest of which derive at least one-half of their calories from protein.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, but they are also high in fat and calories. As an alternative, you can buy egg whites that come packaged in cold or frozen cartons—more convenient than removing the yolks yourself.