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Proving everything old is new again, cottage cheese is experiencing a resurgence in popularity as people are once again realizing its nutritional virtues.
Work this great white into your weekly meal planning with these five ideas and enjoy a bevy of health-boosting benefits.
As a Pumped-Up Pudding
Not all late-night noshing is bad news for your figure: A study review published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition found that eating protein — specifically casein, which is found in cottage cheese — before bed helps boost muscle recovery and growth response to training by providing your body with a steady stream of muscle-friendly amino acids as you dream away.
Pumpkin Pie Pudding
In a large bowl, combine 1½ cups cottage cheese, ½ cup milk, ⅔ cup pumpkin puree, ¼ cup chia seeds, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cover and chill several hours. Serve topped with nuts, coconut chips or granola.
As a Bone-Strengthening Spread
Sure, it’s got plenty of calcium, but cottage cheese also ponies up a bunch of phosphorus, a vital structural component of bone tissue, as well as 14 grams of protein per ½-cup serving, making cottage cheese a valid food to forge a break-resistant skeleton.
Mediterranean Cheese Tartines
Stir together 1 cup cottage cheese and 2 tablespoons prepared pesto. Spread equal amounts of cottage cheese mixture on 3 slices toasted rye bread, and top with ½ ounce sliced smoked salmon, ¼ cup cucumber slices and ¼ cup halved cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper (to taste).
As a Feel-Good Frappe
Cottage cheese is replete with selenium, an essential mineral that helps reduce and prevent the symptoms of depression. It also works to decrease the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
To a blender container, add ¾ cup milk, ½ cup cottage cheese, 2 cups spinach or baby kale, 3 tablespoons hempseeds, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1 peeled orange and 1 cup ice cubes. Blend until smooth.
As a Brain-Boosting Breakfast
Cottage cheese is a stellar source of vitamin B12, which helps maintain the health of your red blood cells and nervous system, assists in the creation of DNA and helps prevent mental decline, according to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Blueberry Cheesecake Waffles
To a blender cup, add 3 eggs, 1½ cups cottage cheese, 1½ cups rolled oats, 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Blend until creamy. Pour into a large bowl and stir in 1½ cups blueberries and ⅓ cup chopped walnuts. Let batter rest 10 minutes. Ladle ½ cup of batter at a time onto a preheated waffle iron and cook until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes.
As a Metabolism-Revving Treat
The B vitamin riboflavin found in cottage cheese helps you metabolize your food and create the energy you use for all your daily activities — including pumping iron.
To a bowl, stir together ⅔ cup plain cottage cheese and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Spoon half the mixture into a parfait glass or small Mason jar. Top with ¼ cup diced mango and 2 heaping tablespoons granola. Repeat this layering once more, then top with a sprinkle of shredded coconut and chopped macadamia nuts.