How many calories are in cheese and cheese spread?

Calories. Whether you’re counting them or not, it’s pretty important to have at least a rough idea of how many are in your food. However, not all of us are monitoring our intake – did you know that two thirds of Brits completely lose track of the number of calories consumed throughout the day*?

In our research, we also found that over a third of us weren’t totally sure what a calorie is*, so let me help. Put simply, calories give you energy. But if you take in more than you need, you’ll store the surplus as body fat, so it’s important to keep a balance. The average recommended calorie allowance is 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule – it’ll depend on your age, size, levels of physical activity and tonnes of other things.

So what’s the situation with cheese?comparing cheeses

Of course, I have one particular area of expertise. I’m here to talk about the calories in cheese and cheese spread specifically, and there’s one thing I’d like to say before we start: it’s totally fine if your favourite one is higher in calories than you expected. There are many factors involved, from how long it’s been preserved to the fat percentage of the milk used. But it can still be enjoyed in moderation – after all, what’s life without a little indulgence? The nutrients in them means those calories hold some vital minerals and vitamins, and being aware of what’s in your food means you can be on the road to a more mindful way of snacking.

Right, let’s get started – oh and just for reference, a suggested portion here works out at 30g. The one exception below is my cheese spread, as my triangles come in handy 17.5g sealed portions – if you’re interested, there’s plenty more information about what The Laughing Cow cheese is here

The Laughing Cow Extra Light – 116 calories per 100g

If you’re looking for a reduced calorie cheese spread, you’ve come to the right place! My Original cheese spread triangles have few enough calories to top this list (239 per 100g), but the Extra Light ones have even less. They work out at 20 per triangle – and that’s the same amount of calories you’ll find in a couple of pecan nuts!

Feta – 250 calories per 100g

Picture yourself on a fabulous holiday in Greece, munching away on a splendid salad packed with crumbly chunks of feta. I know it’s tough – our weather is notoriously temperamental. But think yourself lucky. I live in a field! Anyway, this cheese has a wonderfully tangy flavour, is the ideal addition to any lunchbox, and works out at 75 calories per portion.

Mozzarella – 257 calories per 100g

From one Mediterranean nation to another, let’s head to Italy for some mozzarella. There are many delicious ways to enjoy this mild cheese – try a salad topped with fresh tomatoes and basil, bake it into peppers or – of course – melt it all over a pizza! At 77 calories per portion, the reason this Italian favourite is lower in calories than many other cheeses is because fresh kinds have a higher moisture content than aged cheeses.

Camembert – 290 calories per 100g

Known for being indulgently creamy, you might assume that the calorie content of camembert would be off the charts. Not so – it’s 87 calories per portion. But just remember that this figure doesn’t include the hunks of crusty bread you’ll inevitably be dunking in it. And what cheese lover could say no to that match made in heaven

Halloumi – 313 calories per 100g

There’s been a serious surge in love for this wonderfully meaty cheese in recent years! If you’re a vegetarian, trying meat-free Monday or simply want a change, try swapping halloumi into your meals. It works out as 94 calories per portion, and I reckon that strange squeak as you bite into some is all part of the charm.

Brie – 343 calories per 100g

To brie or not to brie: that is the question. Who am I kidding… Brie is a true classic on any cheese board! Its luxuriously buttery taste is the perfect companion for a crunchy cracker. Better still, it’s not too bad on the calorie count at 103 calories without the rind

Gouda – 377 calories per 100g

Back in the Middle Ages in the Dutch city of Gouda, locals started trading a new type of cheese. Guess what they called it? Yep – afraid so. Still, while they might have lacked a bit of imagination, gouda’s proof of their immense cheese making skills. And gouda’s subtle, nutty flavour makes it ideal for melting in a cheese toastie, working out at 113 calories per portion.

Stilton – 410 calories per 100g

Here’s a great fact for you: Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire are the only places in the world that can lawfully produce stilton cheese. This gorgeously marbled blue, which works out at 123 calories per portion, is one of the strongest smelling cheeses around, which makes it especially delicious. A word of advice though – make sure you wrap it up tight when storing it. Otherwise your whole fridge will end up smelling like stilton.

Cheddar – 416 calories per 100g

Ah, trusty cheddar. This true staple in any household works out as 125 calories per portion, and you won’t be surprised to hear old reliable takes the crown as Britain’s favourite cheese, and I reckon versatility’s its secret. Sensational in a sandwich, great when er… grated over pasta, and let the person that hasn’t nipped to the fridge for a slice or two at midnight cast the first stone. Apologies for getting dramatic there. I’m just very passionate about cheese.

Parmesan – 415 calories per 100g

Don’t panic, Parmesan lovers! Hard cheeses are usually higher in calories than soft cheeses as they’re concentrated in both flavour and density. That means you’re less likely to eat as much of it. To put that into context, two tablespoons of parmesan – probably the amount you’d sprinkle over an Italian meal – will work out at around 45 calories.

Regardless of the calories, don’t forget that cheese is a great source of calcium and other nutrients. Consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, it can be perfectly healthy.

*In a 2017 poll of 2,000 adults commissioned by The Laughing Cow. Further information about the study available here.