Today's Chewsday Review still comes to you from the dairy aisle, but this time I'm looking at 'kiddie' cheese. There are SO MANY different options, from BabyBel to cheese stringers. Let's start with an old classic- The Laughing Cow.
🔹low sugar content (6.5g/100g) as with all cheeses.
🔹reasonably high calcium content (600mg/100g) which works out to about 3 times as much as yoghurt BUT it comes in a smaller serving so there's less total calcium. One slice of Laughing Cow works out to be almost 20% of a toddler's calcium requirements. Regular cheese has a bit more calcium at 700-750mg calcium/100g.
🔹15.5g of saturated fat per 100g (more than 1/2 the total fat) which is above healthy guidelines. Most cheddar cheeses contain ~21g of saturated fat, so technically this is lower than average cheese.
🔹high sodium content (650mg/100g) and again, most cheddar cheeses are slightly higher in sodium at ~700mg/100g.
🔹CONTEXT: cheese is made from the protein and fat components of milk, with the addition of an acidic component and an enzyme called rennet. The solid components are separated and pressed into the final shape. Realistically, cheese is concentrated milk and all cheeses are going to have relatively high fat and protein content, and low sugar or carbohydrate content. Salt also has an integral role in the production of cheese, inhibiting bacterial overgrowth and balancing the acidity. The average salt content of cheese is about 620mg/100g, making it a high salt product. It's almost impossible to change these characteristics and still make cheese.
🔹$28/kg which is relatively expensive compared to regular blocks of cheese.
🔹 No added preservatives, colours or flavours, as with every other review this year.
🔹You can 'snack your way' by spreading, dipping, or eating it whole. The rest of the marketing relies on the hilarious cow with cheese wheels hanging from her ears.
🔹Philadelpiha cream cheese has less sodium (good), less calcium (bad), and more saturated fat (bad) at a slightly cheaper price of 17/kg. I'd say it's neither better nor worse.
🔹Keep in mind that if you're having cheese and crackers, that's a pretty high salt snack. Maybe team it with some of the Peckish no salt brown rice crackers from a previous review to keep the salt content down!
🔹If your kids like The Laughing Cow cheese then don't panic. Keep in mind that it's nutritious like regular cheese, but is high in saturated fat and salt so isn't an 'always food.'
About Mealtime Building Blocks
Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page. You can also email them.