Cheese has been around for a long, long time. We’re talking since Ancient Egypt, where murals of cheesemaking were discovered in tombs. You can even find references to the art of cheesemaking in Greek mythology. Wherever it came from, we’re just glad someone invented it!
When you think of diet-friendly snacks and ingredients, cheese probably isn’t the first on your list. But luckily for all of the cheese connoisseurs out there, there are plenty of keto-friendly cheeses.
Looking for the best cheese for keto? We’ll give you an overview of some of our top cheeses to snack on and incorporate into your favorite keto dishes. Just remember that even keto-friendly cheeses should be consumed in moderation.
Back to the Basics: What Is the Keto Diet?
Keto relies on exceptionally low carbohydrate intake to get the body to go into ketosis, which is when the body transforms fat molecules into energy. Normally, your body uses glucose for energy — however, this process isn’t always great for our metabolism. Plus, it requires eating quite a bit of carbs.
Without carbs, your body still needs some form of energy. By eating lots of protein and healthy fats, you can replace your primary energy source with fat. By switching the body’s energy source, you may feel more balanced and energetic.
The standard keto diet allows for 70 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 10 percent carbohydrates. This gives you a bit of wiggle room to eat carbs, but your main focus should be on finding low-carb foods.
There are many reasons why people choose to go on the keto diet. One of the most popular is weight loss.
If you stick with the diet, it may support weight loss in healthy individuals. Keto has also been shown to support healthy blood sugar levels and encourage energy. Sounds like a win to us!
Keto can be a great way to reset your health and lose a few pounds if that’s what you’re looking to do. With nine different kinds of keto diets, there is sure to be one out there that works for you.
What Cheeses Are Not Keto-Friendly?
High-carb cheeses and cheeses packed with tons of calories might be delicious, but they don’t fit into a low-carb diet like keto. Highly processed cheeses are also filled with additives like sugar or starch. Here are a few to watch out for.
American cheese can have a lot of sugar and starch because of the production process, which means it doesn’t fit within a keto diet. It can also be high in saturated fat and sodium, which means you may want to limit this cheese in general if you’re looking to support your overall health.
Cheese Spreads and Dips
Besides cream cheese, most spreadable cheeses have added sugars. Most cheese spreads are also typically enjoyed with crackers, chips, or bread, which aren’t keto-friendly, either. Cheese dips like white queso can also be high in calories and sodium with little nutritional benefits.
Any Low-Fat Cheese
Ironically, fat-free or low-fat cheeses may be higher in sugar or calories to make up for the loss of flavor. So while it may seem like a healthier alternative, low-fat cheese doesn’t fit in the keto diet.
With keto, you actually need fat in order to maintain your source of energy. Without it, you may not see the benefits.
What Are the Best Cheeses for Keto?
If we just discussed one of our favorite cheeses, don’t worry — there are many more delicious cheeses that you can try. Here are a few of our favorites.
High in fat and low in carbs, goat cheese is filled with calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A, which can support a healthy skeletal and immune system. It’s also a great choice for small yet filling snacks, with up to six grams of fat per ounce.
Best of all, goat cheese can be used in many keto-friendly dishes for an extra tangy flavor. Simply shred and dust it on top of a salad or use it in an omelet.
Who’s ready for keto-friendly cheesecake? Cream cheese is a perfect swap for dips and even cake frosting. Even better, cream cheese contains only one gram of carbs and ten grams of fat per ounce.
So if you’re looking for a creamy and enjoyable snack, cream cheese is a safe bet. Keep in mind that low-fat cream cheese may have more calories or other added ingredients. Always double-check the nutrition label before indulging.
Rich and nutty in flavor, gouda cheese is a great option for any cheese enthusiast on a keto diet. Named after a small town in Holland, gouda is a popular cheese for many people both on and off keto.
With many different variations of gouda, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Since it’s an aged cheese, gouda may also work for those who are lactose intolerant. The older the cheese, the more tolerant the body can be of it.
Blue cheese isn’t just for salad dressings — it can also be its own delicious snack. What makes this cheese unique is the edible mold that gives it a marbled appearance.
Keep in mind that despite the low carbs (0.6 grams), blue cheese should be consumed in moderation due to its higher calorie and sodium count. However, it’s still a great keto snack due to its eight grams of fat and six grams of protein.
Low in carbs and high in flavor, muenster cheese is a buttery, semi-soft, and snackable cheese. Originally made by migrated monks, muenster was created as a way to save milk and feed as many people as possible.
As it ages, muenster gets tangier and sharper. Like many other animal products, muenster cheese is high in vitamin B12, which can support healthy cells.
With only 0.3 grams of carbs and eight grams of fat per ounce, Havarti cheese is a delicious and creamy cheese that can be eaten alone or used in many different recipes.
With six grams of protein, it can also leave you feeling satisfied. This cheese is a rich source of calcium, containing a whopping 20 percent of your body’s daily calcium needs with each serving.
Want to include this cheese in keto-friendly recipes? Havarti cheese is perfect for casseroles, omelets, and as slices on a charcuterie board.
What Other Snacks Can You Eat on Keto?
Want something to pair with your cheese? No problem! There are so many yummy and keto-friendly snacks you can enjoy with a slice or two of cheese.
Avocados are versatile fruits that you can enjoy plain or as part of a salad. They’re also filled with good fats, making them an excellent energy source.
Plus, avocados are a delicious way to support cardiovascular health.
While other fruits have more carbs than desired on keto, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are safe and sweet snacks. You can snack on them alone or use them as toppings on keto sweet treats.
An ancient and still valuable choice, you can make bone broth at home with leftover meat bones or purchase ready-to-go homemade bone broth from Dr. Kellyann. You can drink it as a delicious beverage or add it to soup stock for extra nutrients that can support digestive health.
Keep in mind that we mean the purest dark chocolate available without excessive milk and sugar. Generally, the higher the percentage of cacao, the better — aim for at least 30 percent. Pair it with berries and cheese for a sweet and savory charcuterie board.
Packed with protein and easy to transport, hard-boiled eggs can be enjoyed as a quick lunch or fat-heavy snack. You can add a bit of salt and pepper for flavor or enjoy them all on their own.
Want a refreshing breakfast or just need a quick snack? Keto smoothies are both delicious and filling. Mix and match flavors to customize them to your liking, or add flax seeds or chia seeds for extra nutrition.
Certain nuts like macadamia, hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds are low in carbs while packing plenty of protein. You can enjoy them on the road or as a topping on your favorite salad. Nuts may also support cardiovascular health, so they are a great (and delicious) way to promote overall health.
Need more protein in a snack-sized portion? Protein bars are delicious andhave plenty of nutritious ingredients packed inside.
From chocolate and peanut butter to coconut, there are many kinds of protein bars out there to enjoy. Not all protein bars are made the same, so make sure to read the label before taking that first bite.
Like nuts, sunflower seeds are filled with nutritious vitamins and minerals that can support overall health. And with 29 grams of protein, they’re a small but mighty snack to keep on hand.
Low-carb veggies such as kale, zucchini, broccoli, and asparagus are nutritious and can be a delicious complement to your favorite keto-friendly cheese dip. You can also roast them with spices for a crunchy snack or enjoy them on the side of your favorite dish.
The Bottom Line
Whether cheese is keto-friendly depends on the type of cheese and how it’s made. In general, keto-friendly options include goat cheese, cream cheese, gouda cheese, blue cheese, muenster cheese, and Havarti cheese. However, you should always double-check the nutritional information before making any cheese a part of your routine.
Cheese isn’t the only snack you can have on keto. Berries, nuts, seeds, and even dark chocolate can be appropriate snacks — all in moderation, of course! With some quick research, you can find plenty of keto snacks and meals to add to your routine.
Looking for support beyond just choosing your next favorite cheese? Dr. Kellyann’s blog gives solid keto advice to help you on your journey to overall wellness.