It’s no secret that we love cheese in all of its forms. Shredded, melted, sliced, sprinkled on top of a casserole, served up with fruit and meat… really, there’s just no wrong way to consume cheese. There are, however, some things to keep in mind when purchasing cheese from the grocery store. If you use cheese in your recipes as much as we do, be sure to stick around and read the best and worst cheeses to get!
Organic Vs. Non-Organic
First things first. You should know the difference between organic and non-organic cheeses, and why it matters. Non-organic cheese is made from cows that have been fed GMO grains like soy and corn, which actually strips the dairy of all of its nutrition! Organic cheeses have all the good stuff like omega 3 fatty acids and CLAs, which help reduce the risk of cancer and aids in weight loss. Organic cheese is made from grass-fed cows, which are healthier than grain-fed cows. Long story short, the healthier the cow, the healthier the cheese!
Grassmilk Cheese: This is the top-of-the-line, primo cheese. So exclusive, only a handful of places carry it, one of which is Trader Joe’s. This cheese is made from 100% grass-fed cow milk, which, as we discussed, is absolutely the best and healthiest option.
Kerrygold: A much more common and still healthy brand is Kerrygold. Now, their cheeses are made from cows who have been fed a diet of 80% grass, while the other 20% is grain. If you know anything about the Kerrygold brand, then you’ll remember that they are based in Ireland, where 20% of the year it is too cold for grass to grow. Hence the 20% grain diet. But, since the cows are in Ireland, they aren’t exposed to the Monsanto grain and corn feed, which is a plus. This brand can be found pretty much anywhere and is less expensive than the Grassmilk brand.
Tillamook: Another favorite is Tillamook. While this company doesn’t claim to be 100% organic, they at least use real ingredients and have real people cultivating and producing the cheese. It’s great in a pinch, and certainly not the worst you could do.
Kraft: Speaking of the worst you could do, Kraft cheeses are pretty much the bottom of the barrel health-wise, which is so unfortunate since their brand is everywhere and they are usually the cheapest product on the shelf. Then again, that probably explains why the quality is so low. These cheeses are laced with tons of additives and chemicals and are produced in large batches using several different machines.
Applegate Farms: You might be surprised that Applegate tops the list for sliced cheeses! You can find this brand pretty much everywhere, and it has a list of clean ingredients while also being pasture raised.
Simple Truth: This Kroger store brand, Simple Truth, is another organic cheese brand, and since it is the generic counterpart to a lot of the big brand-names, you can guarantee that it’s a good price!
Kraft Singles: It’s probably no surprise that Kraft is coming in last place again as far as health goes. These “American Singles” are worse than their block cheese. This “cheese” can’t even be called cheese because of the percentage of additives. That’s why if you look closely, it says it is a “pasteurized prepared cheese product.”
Organic Valley String Cheese: String cheese is a great afternoon snack for either you or the kiddos. When purchasing string cheese, again, make sure to go for the organic brands. Organic Valley can be found in pretty much every store, and is a totally safe bet when it comes to these kinds of snacks.
Babybel: Babybel cheeses are so soft and creamy, and make for a delicious snack. These little guys don’t contain much nutrition, but they don’t have anything too bad in them. Really the worst thing about Babybel is that it is empty calories, but that’s ok every once in a while!
Laughing Cow: This brand is the worst of the snacking cheeses, despite it being so rich and delicious! There are a ton of preservatives and “natural flavors” which means a ton of additives. Steer clear from Laughing Cow if at all possible.