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You are what you eat, and if you eat soft, you'll look soft. That's the justification countless bodybuilders give for avoiding dairy
products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Can a soft food like cottage cheese make you look hard? Definitely. Its protein content is
ideal, it requires zero preparation, and you can use it in conjunction with virtually any diet, as it's also low in sugar and
available in low-fat and nonfat varieties. It is a legitimate alternative protein source for your muscle-building arsenal.
A cup of cottage cheese will give you about 30 grams of protein, only eight grams of carbs and 160- 200 calories, if you're eating a low-fat or fat-free blend. That's about the protein content of a chicken breast, with very few carbs and little fat. Hence, for those eating low carbs, cottage cheese can become a convenient diet staple.
» For a high-protein "treat," mix cottage cheese with low-sugar fruit preserves then spread onto pancakes (frozen or from a mix); dip in reduced-calorie syrup if you like.
» For high-protein enchiladas, spread a mixture of cottage cheese and pesto (try cilantro pesto) on tortillas. Top that with shredded cooked chicken, roll up and microwave.
» Instead of dip made with sour cream - which has little protein - blend cottage cheese with a packet of onion soup mix (beware of the sodium content if that's an issue). Add a tablespoon of light sour cream to make it I creamier, if you like, then chill. Eat with chopped raw vegetables.
» Layer salsa over cottage cheese (don't blend them together if appearance matters to you). Spoon over a baked potato, rice, chili or tacos.
» Increase the protein in an egg-white omelet by using cottage cheese as a filling. Blend it with a bit of your favorite tomato sauce for flavor, then spoon onto eggs when both sides are cooked and you're ready to fold them over.
» Mix cottage cheese with your favorite fruits (pineapple chunks chopped apples, etc.), powdered sugar and even a bit of coconut if you're not closely monitoring your sugar intake.
If you have problems digesting milk or other lactose-containing products, know that cottage cheese does contain lactose. Avoid eating more than one cup of cottage cheese per meal if lactose is a concern, or consider adding a product like Lact-Aid.
Think of cottage cheese as an alternative protein source that can come in particularly handy because it requires no cooking or preparation. Though you may not think of it as traditional bodybuilding fare, this soft food can translate into hard muscle.