April 23, 2009
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Until recently, eating a wedge of low-fat cheese was like chewing an eraser. And cooking some? Forget about it. Fortunately, new varieties are fit for both slicing and melting. "Reduced-fat cheeses are a great calcium and protein source with a lower-fat bonus," says Janet Helm, M.S., R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and a dairy-industry nutritional consultant. "Top a whole-wheat cracker with these cheeses and you'll sneak some fiber into your snack." Although low-fat varieties can contain no more than 3 grams of total fat per ounce, a serving is typically the size of an ice cube.

Fleur de Lit Premium Light Spreading Cheese

1 ounce (28 g)

Calories: 60

Cholesterol (mg): 20

Protein (g): 2

Total fat (g): 4.5

Rating: Excellent

Comments: Hello, France! A strong garlic-herb flavor; creamier than its slippery, full-fat counterpart.

Light Alquette Garlic et Herbes

2 tablespoons (23 g)

Calories: 50

Cholesterol (mg): 20

Protein (g): 2

Total fat (g): 4

Rating: Very good

Comments: Whipped, spreadable, slightly sweeter than full-fat; fine garlic flavor.

Fancy Brand Low Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella

1 ounce (28 g)

Calories: 80

Cholesterol (mg): 15

Protein (g): 8

Total fat (g): 5

Rating: Excellent

Comments: Fabulous buttery flavor, creamy texture; doesn't taste like reduced-fat.

Cabot Creamery 50% light Vermont Cheddar

1 ounce (28 g)

Calories: 70

Cholesterol (mg): 15

Protein (g): 8

Total fat (g): 4.5

Rating: Excellent

Comments: Good, sharp Cheddar taste; slightly drier texture than full-fat; melts nicely.

Horizon Organic Dairy Reduced Fat Cheddar

1 ounce (28 g)

Calories: 80

Cholesterol (mg): 20

Protein (g): 7

Total fat (g): 6

Rating: Very good

Comments: Pleasing creaminess combined with good Cheddar edge; melts nicely.

Kraft Natural Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 ounce (28 g)

Calories: 90

Cholesterol (mg): 20

Protein (g): 7

Total fat (g): 6

Rating: Very good

Comments: Softer, more rubbery than full-fat; strong Cheddar tang; pleasant creaminess; melts well

Rondele Reduced Fat Garlic & Herbs

2 tablespoons (27 g)

Calories: 80

Cholesterol (mg): 20

Protein (g): 3

Total fat (g): 7

Rating: Very good

Comments: Velvety herb spread with mild garlic flavor; less buttery and salty than full-fat version.

Jarlsberg Lit Reduced Fat Swiss

1 ounce (28 g)

Calories: 70

Cholesterol (mg): 10

Protein (g): 9

Total fat (g): 3.5

Rating: Excellent

Comments: Slightly less nutty and creamy than full-fat version; rich Swiss flavor; excellent melting quality.