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Got Good-Tasting (and Lower-Fat) Dairy Products?

WebMD's 'Recipe Doctor' goes taste-testing in the dairy aisle

From the WebMD Archives

Wouldn't you like to know which fat-free and reduced fat-dairy products taste great and are worth buying and trying? Ultimately, it's up to the discretion of your taste buds, of course, but we can certainly nudge you in the better-tasting direction.

Here are our findings:

Great-tasting reduced-fat cheeses

Cheeses with only a little fat taken out -- like Cracker Barrel Light Sharp Cheddar, with 6 grams of fat per ounce -- are more likely to look and taste like regular cheese.

I've been using these reduced-fat cheeses for years and have found they work great in every cheese situation I find myself in (in recipes, on crackers, for grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.).

I've also found that fat-free cheeses just don't compare to regular cheese, because they have zero fat per ounce compared to about 9 grams per ounce for regular cheese.

CHEESE
Calories
Fat (g)
Sodium (mg)
Cheddar
Cracker Barrel Light Sharp Cheddar
90
6
4
20
240
Kraft 1/3 Less Fat Sharp Cheddar
90
6
4
20
240
American
Kraft 2% Milk Singles (1 slice/21g)
50
3
2
10
280
Borden 2% Milk Sharp Singles
50
3
2
10
340
Monterey Jack
Sonoma Garlic Jack 50% less fat
70
4
2.5
15
180
Sonoma Lite Jack
70
4
2.5
15
180
Kraft 1/3 Less Fat Monterey Jack
80
6
4
20
240
Sargento Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Mexican
80
6
3
20
200
Mozzarella
Precious Low Fat
55
3
2
8
180
Swiss
Jarlsberg Lite
70
3.5
2
10
130
Sargento Light Swiss
80
4
2.5
15
50
Alpine Lace Reduced Fat Swiss
90
6
4
20
35
Ricotta
Precious Low Fat 1/4 cup
70
3
1.5
15
45
Precious Part Skim 1/4 cup
100
6
4
30
80

What About Cream Cheese?

I use fat-free cream cheese as a fat replacement in cookie dough, biscuits, scones and cakes, but I wouldn't dare put in on my bagel. Fat-free cream cheese just doesn't taste as good as real cream cheese, and the texture is too different. But light cream cheese and Neufchatel (1/3 less fat) cream cheese taste good and can be used in recipes or on bagels.

Continued

Which cream cheese should you use to make a less fatty cheesecake? If you are on the picky side, try using all light cream cheese. If you aren't that particular, you might be happy with half fat-free cream cheese and half light cream cheese. Adding grated lemon peel for some extra flavor helps too.

CREAM CHEESE (2 tablespoons)
Calories
Fat (g)
Sodium (mg)
Philadelphia 1/3 Less Fat Neufchatel cheese
70
5
3.5
15
150
Philadelphia Light (in tub)
60
4.5
3
15
150
Neufchatel (store brand)
70
6
4
20
100
Philadelphia Fat Free
30
0
0
5
200

We All Scream For Ice-Cream

If you've ever taken a glance at the ice cream aisle, you know there are many different brand of lighter ice cream and each brand has many flavors to choose from. I'm just listing the best-tasting light ice creams here. There may be other great-tasting ice creams available in your area of the country.

You might notice there aren't any fat-free ice creams in the table below. That's because none of these ice creams tasted any better than just "OK."

LIGHT ICE CREAM (1/2 cup)
Calories
Fat (g)
Saturated fat (g)
% Calories from sugar
Breyer's Light Vanilla
110
3
2
10
54%
Breyer's Vanilla*Chocolate*Strawberry
110
3
2
10
51%
Dreyer's Grand Light Mint Chocolate Chip
120
4.5
3
20
43%
Dreyer's Grand Light Mocha Almond Fudge
120
4.5
2
20
40%
Dreyer's Grand Light Cookie Dough
130
4.5
2.5
20
40%
Healthy Choice Premium Lowfat Cappuccino Chocolate Chunk
120
2
1
10
53%
Healthy Choice Premium Lowfat Mint Chocolate Chip
120
2
1
10
53%



LOWFAT FROZEN YOGURT (1/2 cup)
Calories
Fat (g)
Saturated fat (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
% Calories from sugar
Ben & Jerry's Lowfat Cherry Garcia
170
3
2
20
63%
Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Lowfat
190
2.5
1
5
63%

Continued

How Sour Is Your Cream?

Believe it or not, the best tasting sour cream is a fat-free sour cream, not a "light" sour cream. When I tried Naturally Yours Fat free sour cream (in the white tub with black spots that looks like a cowhide), I was surprised to find that I really liked it. There are also quite a few store-brand light sour creams that taste good. Some of the light sour cream brands taste and look more like plain yogurt than sour cream (too sour for my liking). Naturally Yours fat-free has the best texture and flavor, and can be used to top potatoes or tacos or in casserole or sauce recipes.

SOUR CREAM (2 tablespoons)
Calories
Fat (g)
Saturated fat (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Naturally Yours Fat Free
20
0
0
0
20
Knudsen Light
35
2
1.5
10
25
Daisy Light
40
2.5
2
10
25

The trick with yogurt is figuring out whether you want artificial sweeteners (many of the "light" yogurts have them) or whether you're OK with most of the calories coming from sugar. Basically, the fruit-flavored yogurts have low-fat milk listed as the first ingredient, with some type of sugar as the second ingredient, and fruit for the third.

If you're sensitive to aftertastes in artificially sweetened products, you'll probably want to avoid the "light" yogurts. There are quite a few "light" yogurts to choose from and they all taste pretty good, as long as you don't mind the taste of aspartame. We've listed the major brands below.

The other option? Regular, lowfat, or fat-free yogurts. You probably already have your favorite brand that has just the right texture or tang for your taste buds. If so, stick with it! Check the nutrition information label of your favorites for grams of sugars, though. Some flavors and brands have more than others. Here are a few examples below.

LOWFAT YOGURT (6 ounces)
Calories
Fat (g)
Saturated fat (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
% Calories from sugar
Yoplait Original 99% Fat free (fruit flavored)
170
1.5
1
10
63%
Dannon Fruit Blends lowfat (fruit flavored)
170
1.5
1
10
73%



"LIGHT" YOGURT (6 ounces)
Calories
Fat (g)
Saturated fat (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
% Calories from sugar
Dannon Light 'n Fit Creamy (fruit flavored)
100
0
0
less than 5
40%
Dannon Light 'n Fit (fruit flavored)
90
0
0
less than 5
58%
Yoplait Light (fruit flavored)
100
0
0
less than 5
56%

Continued

Drink Your Yogurt?

I've got to admit that the thought of drinking my yogurt from a bottle didn't excite me at first. Then I got my hands on Yoplait's raspberry-flavored Nouriche yogurt smoothie and I loved it! Granted, there is plenty of sweetener (the first two ingredients are nonfat milk and nonfat yogurt, but the next two are sugar and high-fructose corn syrup), but each bottle also contributes 10 grams of protein and a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals (about 25% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, along with calcium, vitamin D, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, etc.).

My editor chimed in to say that she really enjoys Dannon's Light'n'Fit Smoothie. It comes in three flavors -- her faves are Strawberry Banana and Mixed Berry. It's only got 5 grams of protein, but it's also got only 80 calories, mostly due to the use of Splenda sweetener. (Editor's Note: If you hate it, blame me, not Elaine.)

YOGURT SMOOTHIES (11 ounces)
Calories
Fat (g)
Saturated fat (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
% Calories from sugar
Yoplait Nouriche nonfat yogurt smoothie (rasp, tropical, or strawberry)
290
0
0
5
63%
Dannon Light'nFit
80
0
0
0
5%
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