Ask the dietitian Low-sodium cottage cheese products are available

Question: I follow a sodium-restricted diet to help my blood pressure and try to buy low-sodium products. One product that I love is Dean’s low-sodium cottage cheese. However, I recently found out that this product has been discontinued. Why would Dean’s discontinue this product? Are there any other low-sodium cottage cheese products out there?

Dear Donna: Although the Dean’s low-sodium cottage cheese was a great product, it was not a very popular one. It has been discontinued by Dean’s because of slow sales. As a customer and dietitian, I, too, am disappointed that this product was discontinued.

Low-fat cottage cheese is often considered a nutritious food due to its high-protein and low-fat content. However, many cottage cheese varieties are high in sodium, usually having more than 450 milligrams per half-cup serving. For those trying to follow a low-sodium diet, cottage cheese can be difficult to fit into a daily eating pattern. Fortunately, there are other ways to get your cottage cheese “fix” while keeping your sodium intake in check.

First, there are other low-sodium cottage cheese products available. Some Quad-City-area Hy-Vee HealthMarkets carry a low-sodium cottage cheese by Friendship Dairies. This low-fat, no-salt-added cottage cheese has only 60 milligrams of sodium per half-cup serving. Call the Hy-Vee store nearest you to inquire about the availability of this product.

Secondly, there are many low-sodium products that you can substitute for cottage cheese. When a casserole or lasagna recipe calls for cottage cheese, use ricotta cheese instead since most ricotta cheeses are lower in sodium than cottage cheese. Frigo makes a part-skim ricotta cheese with 170 milligrams of sodium per half-cup serving. Another good cooking substitute for cottage cheese is silken, or soft, tofu. Break apart soft tofu and use it in recipes for only about 5 milligrams of sodium per half-cup serving.

If you eat cottage cheese as a high-protein snack or breakfast food, consider Greek yogurt as a low-sodium, high-protein substitute. For instance, Chobani plain, nonfat Greek yogurt has 70 milligrams of sodium and 18 grams of protein per 6-ounce carton. Yogurt also contains more calcium, vitamin D and probiotics compared with cottage cheese.

As always, check the nutrition facts panel for sodium information. The definition of “low sodium” is less than 140 milligrams per serving. Look for products that fit this definition if you follow a low-sodium diet.

Following a low-sodium diet can be challenging, but it is useful when trying to reduce your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. Ask your local Hy-Vee dietitian to show you low-sodium products throughout the grocery store.