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Cheese Choices

Q: My child loves cheese. What are the most nutritious kinds?

A: The best cheeses are chock-full of calcium but go easy on the calories and fat. To see how kids' favorites fared, we divided the calcium content of 15 cheeses by the number of calories. The result: the calcium quotient listed below. A quotient of 2.5 or above is exceptional, 2 to 2.4 is very good, and 1.5 to 1.9 is good. You can figure the quotient for your favorite brands, which may differ from these estimates. Keep in mind that a portion of cheese is half an ounce for children 1 to 3 and one ounce for older kids.

America (fat-free): 5

Cream cheese (fat-free): 3.3

Parmesan: 3

Ricotta (part-skim): 2.9

Swiss: 2.7

Mozzarella (part-skim): 2.6

Cottage cheese (calcium-fortified): 2.5

String cheese: 1.9 to 2.5

Muenster: 1.9

Gouda: 2.1

Cheddar: 1.8

American: 1.6

Cottage cheese (low-fat): 1.1

Cottage cheese: .5

Cream cheese: .2