Are you someone who loves cheese and eats it with guilt only during your “cheat” days? Cheese is a universal favourite for eating solo, livening up foods, using it as a spread, or even adding to salads. However, it has a poor image due to its high-fat content. But, there are many ways to incorporate cheese into a healthy diet! This semi-soft, open-textured cheese uses pasteurised cow’s milk as its main ingredient. It has a peppery flavour with a delicate and buttery aftertaste. You can enjoy this cheese variant even if you are lactose-intolerant! So what is this magical cheese, which you can not only incorporate into a healthy diet but also consume if you are lactose-intolerant? Here is all you need to know about Pepper Jack cheese.
Nutritional Profile of Pepper Jack Cheese
As per the USDA, around 100 grams of Pepper Jack serving contains:
- Calories: 357 kcals
- Protein: 25 g
- Sugars: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Fat: 28.5 g
- Saturated Fatty Acids: 17.86 g
- Trans Fatty Acids: 0 g
- Calcium: 746 mg
- Sodium: 607 mg
Pepper jack cheese has almost no carbs, sugar, or fibre. However, some pepper jack cheese brands include a small quantity of carbohydrates (approximately 1 gram).
Nutritional Value of Pepper Jack Cheese
Most of the calories in pepper jack cheese come from fat; a 100-gram portion has 28.5 grams, with 17.86 grams of saturated fat. Saturated fat is a type of fat that is commonly found in animal meat and dairy products. Cheese’s saturated fat could be preferable to saturated fat from other sources: one large study revealed that eating dairy products lowers the risk of heart disease.
However, since it is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, with 89 milligrams per 100 grams, it isn’t the best option for heart health. Low-density lipoprotein, the form of cholesterol that clogs blood vessels, can be raised by consuming more cholesterol. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 report, recommends a daily cholesterol limit of 300 mg.
Pepper jack cheese is an excellent addition to a high-protein diet to help with weight loss, gain energy, and athletic performance. A 100-gram serving contains 25 grams of protein. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 report, you need 10 to 35 percent of your calories from protein to maintain growth, muscular function, and other biological activities. Keep your serving size small to avoid getting too much fat and cholesterol.
Pepper jack cheese is low in iron, potassium, and vitamin D but high in calcium. A 100-gram serving of calcium contains 746 milligrams. Calcium, the most prevalent mineral in the body, is critical for tooth and bone health, muscle action, blood vessel constriction and relaxation, and hormone release.
Pepper jack cheese also has 607 mg of sodium, making it a low sodium cheese compared to saltier varieties like American and blue cheese. However, keep your serving size small to avoid consuming too much sodium, which can cause blood pressure to rise.
The HealthifyMe Note
Low in carbs and high in protein, pepper jack leans more toward the nutritious end of the cheese spectrum. Pepper Jack cheese has a high concentration of important minerals such as calcium. Calcium is essential to maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
Health Benefits of Pepper Jack Cheese
Pepper Jack cheese is a healthy and nutritious food. It has a nutrient-dense profile. As a result, the health benefits are numerous, not just for muscle mass and bones but also for your heart. This cheese can be especially beneficial for athletes and people on the keto diet.
Improves Bone Health
Pepper jack cheese is a super-rich source of protein and calcium. Research proves calcium is essential for bone health, and a diet that is weak in calcium raises the risk of osteoporosis. Furthermore, higher protein consumption can help improve bone health by increasing calcium absorption by the intestine.
Good Source of Protein for Athletes
Pepper Jack cheese can assist the body in performing critical processes related to hormones, enzymes, cell repair and maintenance because of its high-protein content. Moreover, studies link protein consumption to weight loss, increased energy, and improved athletic performance.
Perfect Choice for a High Protein Diet
Studies have shown higher protein diets to preserve lean body mass during weight loss, facilitate weight management, and improve glucose regulation. All of these things could lead to long-term metabolic benefits.
Might be Suitable for People with Lactose Intolerance
If you are lactose intolerant, low calcium intake can follow close behind. Lactose is a sugar found in cow’s milk. However, pepper jack is low-carb because they almost completely remove the lactose during manufacturing. According to research, some lactose-intolerant people can consume low-lactose cheeses. As a result, Pepper Jack cheese is an excellent choice for cheese lovers who are lactose intolerant. It can also be an additional source of calcium for them!
Can be Included in a Low-Carb Diet
As per the USDA, this type of cheese is low in carbs. As a result, you can include Pepper Jack cheese in a low-carb diet. Pepper Jack is a filling alternative whether you’re doing keto or simply restricting your intake of heavy carbs like grains, fruits, and other high-sugar items.
Keeps You Satiated
Research proves that protein is the nutrient responsible for making you feel full. Therefore, foods abundant in protein, such as Pepper Jack cheese, are more likely to satisfy you than snacks with similar calorie content.
Healthy Recipes Using Pepper jack Cheese
Pepper Jack Cheese and Crackers – The Perfect Keto Snack
Cheese and crackers are classic snacks which everyone loves. However, before delving into the recipe, here is one helpful tip to consider. However, how many crackers you get and how long they take to bake depends on how thinly you roll the dough. The recipe below can technically produce 60 crackers.
Servings: 10 (1 serving = 6 crackers)
Preparation Time: 1 hour
- Grated Pepper Jack cheese: 170 g
- Salt: ½ tsp
- Red Pepper Flakes: ¼ tsp
- Garlic Powder: ½ tsp
- Finely Ground Blanched Almond Flour: 1 ½ cups
- Large Egg: 1
- Butter melted: 1 tbsp
Method of Preparation
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (180°C). Using a silicone baking mat, cover the work surface. It would be best if you sprinkled almond flour on the mat.
- Melt the cheese in a large microwave-safe bowl on high for 30 seconds at a time until completely melted and smooth.
- Stir the almond flour, salt, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and egg. Combine the ingredients thoroughly with a rubber spatula, kneading the dough against the bowl’s sides (if the dough is still too sticky, add a couple more tablespoons of almond flour).
- Place the dough on the prepared work surface and cover with parchment paper or waxed paper. Roll out the dough as thinly as possible, no more than 18 inches thick.
- Cut the crackers into the appropriate shape and size using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife. It can be about one inch across.
- To produce small circles in the centre, poke a hole with a straw (then blow out the material stuck in the straw from the other end). You can alternatively puncture the crackers with a fork a few times.
- Brush the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with coarse salt, pressing lightly to adhere.
- Place the silicone mat on a large baking sheet and set it aside. Turn off the oven and leave the crackers inside for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and the edges begin to crisp up.
- Remove the border pieces if they are browning too quickly, and keep the remaining crackers warm until firm to the touch. As they cool, they will crisp up even more.
Nutrition Facts per Serving
- Calories: 177 kcal
- Carbohydrate: 3.9 g
- Fibre: 1.8 g
- Protein: 8.4 g
- Fat: 14.8 g
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Spinach and Pepper Jack
This recipe is a go-to for those who can eat cheese with low lactose content. A grilled cheese sandwich no longer has to be a “cheat meal”, with Pepper Jack cheese being low in carbs and high in protein. Before delving into the recipe, here is one helpful tip. Serve this recipe with fresh fruit and fat-free milk for a great lunch.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
- Pepper Jack Cheese: 2 slices
- Whole Grain Bread: 2 slices
- Chipotle Mayo: 1 tsp
- Tomato: 2 slices
- Fresh Spinach Leaves: 8
- Butter softened: 2 tsp
Method of Preparation
- First, spread mayo on one bread slice. Then, assemble the sandwich in the following order – 1 cheese slice, tomatoes, spinach, the second cheese slice, followed by the other slice of bread.
- Then spread butter on both sides of the sandwich, so it does not get stuck to the skillet.
- Cook for 3 minutes on each side in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until the cheese slices have melted and both sides of the sandwich are golden brown.
Nutrition Facts per Serving
- Calories: 370 kcal
- Carbohydrate: 32 g
- Fibre: 7 g
- Protein: 9 g
- Fat: 20 g
- Cholesterol: 50 mg
Keto Broccoli Pepper Jack Chicken
This dish is perfect for a hot lunch or dinner! You can finish this hearty dish with an additional slice of cheese above each chicken breast for extra flavour. This keto-friendly dinner meal is meagre in calories, power-packed with protein and paired with the benefits of broccoli.
Preparation Time: 1 hour
- Frozen Broccoli: 170 g
- Pepper Jack Cheese: 85 g or four slices
- Olive Oil: 1 ½ tsp
- Salt: ¼ tsp
- Black Pepper Powder: 3 ¾ tsp
- Fresh Garlic: 1 ½ cups
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast: 400 g
- Cumin: ¼ tsp
Method of Preparation
- Preheat an oven to 375°F. Chop half of the Pepper Jack cheese and the frozen broccoli into tiny pieces.
- In a mixing bowl, combine these ingredients with olive oil, salt, and pepper; then add the garlic.
- Butterfly-cut two large chicken breasts to create two deep pockets. Stuff half the broccoli mixture into the two chicken breasts and close with toothpicks.
- You should use aluminium foil or parchment paper to line the sheet tray. On the sheet tray, divide the leftover broccoli filling into two parts. Top each broccoli portioning with a stuffed chicken breast. Over the top of the chicken breasts, sprinkle the remaining seasonings and olive oil.
- Cook the chicken for 25 minutes in the oven. Afterwards, top the chicken breasts with the last slices of Pepper Jack cheese and bake for another 7 minutes.
- Serve the dish while it is still hot, and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts per Serving
- Calories: 557 kcal
- Carbohydrate: 2.6 g
- Protein: 72.9 g
- Fat: 26 g
The HealthifyMe Note
Pepper Jack cheese is a versatile ingredient, and you can use it in various dishes. For example, you can serve quesadillas, crackers, and hamburgers with Pepper Jack cheese. Pepper Jack cheese goes well with jalapeno peppers, melons, grapes, pickled vegetables, and olives, among other things. People with lactose intolerance can enjoy some classic cheese recipes, such as cheese and crackers, chicken breasts or grilled cheese sandwiches by using Pepper Jack cheese.
Storage, Precautions and Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
Although Pepper Jack cheese is a protein powerhouse with many health benefits, it is always wise to consider certain things before trying new food.
- Wrap the original package tightly with plastic wrap or aluminium foil after opening a chunk of Pepper Jack cheese to extend its shelf life.
- Wrap the cheese in wax or parchment paper, then cover with plastic wrap before refrigerating for even better results.
Manufacturers create Pepper Jack cheese from pasteurised cow’s milk, so keep that in mind. In addition, casein and whey, two proteins found in cow milk, can trigger allergic reactions in some people. According to research, hypersensitivity to cow milk proteins is one of the most common food allergies, affecting predominantly babies and lasting into adulthood in many people. As a result, people allergic to milk should avoid consuming Pepper Jack cheese.
Consume in Moderation
Although Pepper Jack cheese has health benefits, this does not indicate that you should consume it in significant quantities. An ounce of Pepper Jack cheese provides roughly 10% of natural cholesterol limits. However, research shows that too much cholesterol can increase low-density lipoprotein, a form of cholesterol that can clog arteries. As a result, consume just enough Pepper Jack cheese to satisfy your protein and fat requirements, but not too much.
Word of Caution for those with Lactose Intolerance
Some studies suggest that Pepper Jack cheese may be safe for persons with lactose sensitivity. However, even with its low lactose level, you should check with your doctor before adding it to your diet. What works for some people’s bodies may not work for others. As a result, it’s always best to proceed with caution when introducing new foods into your diet.
Pepper Jack cheese is healthy and high in protein. However, avoid overeating it, as it’s high in cholesterol. As a result, it can lead to various health problems. In addition to being a protein powerhouse, it has a very high nutritional value in terms of minerals like calcium compared to other types of cheese. However, this is essential for maintaining a healthy body. Therefore, you can eat Pepper Jack cheese with other meals as a snack or as part of a meal to meet your daily protein and calcium requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is pepper jack cheese a healthy snack?
A. Best known for being high in protein and low in carbs, Pepper Jack cheese is an excellent weight-loss snack if consumed in moderation. However, if overeaten, the high amount of cholesterol might lead to clogged arteries.
Q. Is pepper jack cheese hot?
A. Yes, Pepper Jack cheese is spicy since peppers are key ingredients. It’s a cow’s milk cheese that combines Monterey Jack’s creamy, buttery flavour with the heat of jalapeño peppers. Manufacturers bring in the heat with jalapenos, serrano peppers, and habanero peppers.
Q. How many calories are in Pepper Jack cheese?
A. As per the USDA, around 100 grams of Pepper Jack cheese contains 357 kcals. Therefore, most of the calorific value comes from the fat content. However, it is very low in carbs and high in protein.
Q. How many carbs are in Pepper Jack cheese?
A. As per the USDA, around 100 grams of Pepper Jack cheese serving contains 0 g of carbohydrates. Therefore, this cheese falls on the low-carb end of the spectrum, making it an excellent choice for pairing with other carbs like crackers or bread.
Q. Is Pepper Jack cheese Keto-friendly?
A. Pepper jack cheese is very keto-friendly due to its low carb content per serving. Furthermore, this cheese is high in protein, calcium, and high-quality natural lipids. This article includes a recipe for keto-friendly cheese and crackers and a recipe for keto-friendly chicken.
Q. Is Jack cheese low fat?
A. Pepper Jack cheese is not low in fat. Fat accounts for the majority of the calories in Pepper Jack cheese. However, saturated fat makes up more than half of the fat content, which is better than unsaturated fat from other sources. As a result, eating this cheese with low-fat or fat-free dishes can help you maintain a healthy diet.
Q. Which cheese is best for weight loss?
A. While several kinds of cheese may benefit weight loss, Pepper Jack cheese can be beneficial when consumed as part of a high-protein diet. However, higher protein diets may help weight management by sparing lean body mass during weight loss.