The Laughing Cow cheeses are a must-have, writes Lisa Lillen, WeightWatchers.com weekly columnist and author of "The Hungry Girl Diet." Made from a blend of whey, milk, semisoft cheese and other cheeses such as mozzarella, cheddar or Swiss, The Laughing Cow cheeses come in individually wrapped, serving-size wedges. In moderation, they can be part of a healthy, balanced weight-loss strategy.
Video of the Day
Total Weight Watchers Points
According to Lillen, each wedge of The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss Cheese has a PointsPlus value of 1. Other The Laughing Cow cheese products, such as Creamy Swiss Original, Creamy Swiss Garlic & Herb, Creamy Swiss French Onion and Creamy Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil, often have more calories and fat per wedge than their Light cheese counterpart, but each serving is still worth 1 PointsPlus.
Comparison to Other Cheeses
A one-wedge serving of The Laughing Cow cheese has a lower PointsPlus value than a serving of most other types of cheeses. An ounce of cheddar, Monterey Jack, colby, Gorgonzola or blue cheese is worth 3 PointsPlus, while each ounce of Brie typically supplies 4. Cheeses marinated in oil, such as marinated feta, may be worth as much as 6 PointsPlus per ounce. A single fresh mozzarella ball and 1 ounce of grated Parmesan are similar to The Laughing Cow cheeses in that they also have a value of only 1 PointsPlus in the Weight Watchers system.
Basis for Points Value
In Weight Watchers, foods are assigned a PointsPlus value based on their nutritional content, not just their calorie content. Foods with a high per-serving concentration of protein and fiber and a low amount of simple carbohydrates and fat are worth fewer PointsPlus since eating more of these types of foods can promote weight loss. Most cheeses from The Laughing Cow, including the Light Creamy Swiss, have a PointsPlus value of only 1 because they're low in calories -- 35 per wedge -- and supply around 2 grams of protein a serving for every 1 gram of carbohydrates and 1.5 grams of fat. The regular Creamy Original Swiss has 50 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrate and 4 grams of fat. None of the cheeses contain fiber.
Incorporating the Cheese Into Your Diet
Lillen suggests using The Laughing Cow cheeses as a lower-fat alternative to cream cheese in recipes or dips, as a sandwich spread or paired with fruit, vegetables or crackers on a snack tray. At breakfast, stir a wedge into scrambled egg substitute for a meal worth 3 PointsPlus. Mix the cheese with hot cooked noodles, reduced-fat Parmesan and nonfat sour cream for 2 PointsPlus per serving, or insert a wedge into a patty of seasoned extra-lean ground beef for a cheesy burger that's 4 PointsPlus. Portion control is key. Although the cheeses are low in Weight Watchers points, you'll have trouble dropping pounds if you enjoy too many, too often.