Say Cheese

Cheese can be a nutritious, calcium-packed addition to your child's lunch, whether on a sandwich or on its own, but are all cheeses created equal?

“When it comes to most white, orange and yellow cheeses, the process of turning milk into cheese is pretty much the same,” pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. “And it doesn’t mean white is any healthier or less processed.”

Cheddar cheese is orange because of a substance called annatto, which is added to cheese to create unique textures and flavors.

However, while white and orange cheeses are generally comparable nutritionally, there is one exception: American cheese. The labels say “processed cheese product,” which signals that it’s not real cheese. These products are largely made from oils, dyes and other chemicals, so it is best to stick to natural, minimally-processed cheese.