"Whatever you do, don't take away my cheese!"
This was the first thing out of a client's mouth when we discussed her weight-loss goals.
Most folks can't imagine life without cheese. Can you?
Not a fan of deprivation, I would never ask someone to forgo an occasional dip into the cheese drawer (unless, of course, they have a dairy allergy or intolerance).
Some folks, like myself, however, steer clear of too much cheese consumption because, well, frankly, it clogs the ol' digestive system. When I'm hankering to add cheese to a dish, like last night's broccoli soup, I reach for my trusty jar of nutritional yeast.
If you're looking to trim calories, ditch dairy, boost nutrition, reduce salt, or jazz up meals, then toss some nutritional yeast into your grocery cart.
Nutty, Cheesy Flavor
An inactive yeast, nutritional yeast is grown on cane and beet molasses. Despite its unappealing name, its delicate, light yellow flakes add a delicious nutty, cheesy flavor to foods. Rename it "cheese flakes" and you'll immediately win over kids and finicky dudes.
Low Cal, Nutrient Rich
Naturally low in fat and sodium and high in protein, a tablespoon has only about 20 calories. It's also an excellent source of B vitamins, especially yeast enriched with B12, an essential nutrient found primarily in animal products (veg heads, take note).
Ho-Hum to Yum
When a ho-hum dish begs for some depth, nutritional yeast is my go-to seasoning. Its savory, cheesy flavor makes it a yummy addition to many recipes and foods.
Sprinkle it on hot popcorn, pizza, pasta, whole grains, salads, soups, casseroles, eggs, mashed potatoes, sautéed greens, steamed or roasted veggies, or kale chips (recipe here). Mix it into juices, smoothies, dressings, dips, spreads and sauces. One friend uses it in place of cheese in her pesto sauce.
Ranging in price from $7 to $24 per pound, its cost may seem high at first glance, however we're talking flakes here--you get a lot per pound and a little goes a long way.
Nutritional yeast can be found at supplement shops and, often at a lower cost, in the bulk-bin section of natural food stores, like Whole Foods. (Don't get brewer's yeast by mistake!)
Long popular with the vegan crowd for its cheese flavor and vitamin B12, the benefits of adding these "cheese flakes" to your pantry are plentiful.