By Annette Pinder

Cottage cheese, a personal favorite, is not only great for your health, but also becoming more popular. According to Nourish by WebMD, cottage cheese is full of texture, packed with protein, and differs from cheese in that it is not aged, but is served fresh, and is low in calories compared to other cheeses. While not as popular as yogurt, cottage cheese is a great alternative for diet-conscious dairy lovers, confirms Christine Mikstas, RD, LD.

In addition to being high in calcium, cottage cheese is also a great source of vitamin B12, which helps prevent anemia, and also high in potassium, phosphorous, selenium, and vitamin A. A half-cup serving has just 91 calories, 12.5 grams of protein, 1.35 grams of fat, 5.5 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 4.5 grams of sugar, and 68 milligrams of potassium. Cottage cheese is also an excellent source of calcium, which helps with bone health and preventing osteoporosis.

According to WebMD, research shows that people who eat protein-rich bedtime snacks like cottage cheese benefit from better muscle quality and higher metabolism. It’s selenium content also helps with thyroid function.

What are the potential risks of cottage cheese? While it is low in calories, some varieties have higher levels of saturated fat and more calories. Mixing in your own fresh fruit is also preferable to the varieties that contain premixed fruit.

Believe it or not, cottage cheese has a long history and became popular during World War I, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture promoted it as a great source of protein. The goal of the USDA was to deter people from eating meat, which they wanted to save for soldiers who were stationed abroad.