Healthy Battle: Cottage Cheese Goes up Against Greek Yogurt

Photo: Getty Images/mapodile
When it comes to popularity in the dairy department, Greek yogurt typically comes out on top. Smooth with Mediterranean flair, it's grabbed by the armful to be used in smoothies, dips, or on its own topped with fruit and granola. Its lumpier cousin, cottage cheese, often goes overlooked. Are you unknowingly sleeping on a nutritional powerhouse? Or is there a reason why Greek yogurt is the go-to?

"Both choices can be a healthy addition to your diet," says registered dietitian Jessica Bouchard, RD. But which one is healthier? Bouchard breaks it down, comparing and contrasting the nutritional profiles of each, while offering tips for integrating cottage cheese and Greek yogurt into your diet.

Greek yogurt vs. cottage cheese: Here's what a registered dietitian thinks

The nutritional breakdown

According to Bouchard, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are both pretty similar nutritionally, but there are some differences. Cottage cheese is slightly higher in protein, with 23 grams per serving versus Greek yogurt's 20 grams. "This isn't a huge difference, so for most people it isn't going to make or break a choice, but if you are someone who struggles to get enough protein, then cottage cheese might be the better choice for you because it has those extra grams," she says.

While cottage cheese has more protein, Bouchard says one of the main Greek yogurt benefits is that it's higher in calcium—another nutrient many turn to dairy to get. Cottage cheese also usually doesn't have the same probiotic profile that Greek yogurt does, she says, although some brands, like Good Culture and Muuna, add probiotics to their products. "Look for 'live active cultures' or 'probiotics added' on the label when buying cottage cheese as more brands really are prioritizing this," Bouchard says.

If you're sensitive to dairy—but not so sensitive you avoid it completely—Bouchard says Greek yogurt is going to be a better choice for you because it's lower in lactose than cottage cheese.

There's one other major difference between Greek yogurt and cottage cheese that Bouchard says it's important to know about: "Cottage cheese tends to be higher in sodium: 800 milligrams versus just 80 milligrams in Greek yogurt, typically," she says. It's just something else to eye the label for. Bouchard says it's also important to check the sugar content, especially in Greek yogurt, which is often flavored.

How to use Greek yogurt and cottage cheese

Because Greek yogurt has a smoother consistency, Bouchard says this is typically going to be your go-to in place of sour cream, using it to make dips and sauces. "The texture of cottage cheese makes it just a bit more difficult to use in this context," she points out.

However, Bouchard says smoothies and acai bowls are a great place to incorporate cottage cheese. "People tend to go for Greek yogurt for this, but because cottage cheese is actually a bit higher in protein, it's a really good choice," she says.

And of course both can be eaten as is, or with fruit, honey, and granola. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are both healthy options, so Bouchard recommends switching them up for a well-rounded nutritional profile.

While we're getting to the bottom of what's healthy or not, here's the verdict on white rice versus brown and potatoes

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