The Nutritional Profile of Monterey Jack Cheese

When considering a versatile cheese that’s both flavorful and adaptable, Monterey Jack cheese often comes to mind.

Originating from the Mexican Franciscan friars of Monterey, California, this cheese has made its way onto many dining tables and into numerous recipes.

It’s a semi-hard cheese known for its mild flavor and slight sweetness, making it a favored option for melting over dishes or incorporating into snacks and appetizers.

A block of monterey jack cheese surrounded by sliced tomatoes, grapes, and whole grain crackers on a wooden cutting board

Your nutritional intake is substantial with Monterey Jack cheese.

In a typical 1-ounce (28-gram) serving, you’ll receive about 100 calories, complemented by a hearty 6 grams of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth.

The cheese also contains roughly 8 grams of fat and 1 gram of carbohydrates, offering a balance of macronutrients for your diet.

An important aspect of Monterey Jack’s nutritional profile is its calcium content, effectively contributing to your daily requirement for strong bones and teeth.

Further, the cheese is enriched with vitamins such as Vitamin A, pivotal for maintaining good vision and immune health, and Vitamin B12, aiding in the formation of red blood cells and keeping your nervous system in check.

While it is higher in fat, particularly saturated fat, the nutrients found in Monterey Jack cheese underscore its beneficial aspects, particularly when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Nutritional Overview

A block of monterey jack cheese sits on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by sliced tomatoes, grapes, and crackers. A glass of red wine is placed next to it

Monterey Jack cheese offers a rich contribution to your diet with its balance of macronutrients and a range of vitamins and minerals. Understanding the nutritional content will help you make informed decisions about incorporating this cheese into your meals.

Macronutrient Content

Monterey Jack cheese contains an array of macronutrients that are essential for your body’s energy and structural needs.

  • Calories: A 1-ounce (28g) serving typically provides around 100 calories.
  • Protein: An important building block for muscle and tissue, each ounce offers about 6 grams of protein.
  • Total Fat: The total fat content is approximately 8 grams per ounce. This includes:
    • Saturated Fat: Higher in saturated fat, contributing to its rich taste.
    • Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fat: Present in smaller amounts.
  • Carbohydrates: Contains a minimal amount of carbs, roughly 1 gram per ounce, with negligible amounts of fiber and sugars.

Vitamins and Minerals

Monterey Jack cheese is not only flavorful but also a source of vital nutrients.

  • Calcium: A serving provides a substantial amount of calcium, crucial for bone health.
  • Vitamin A: Contributes to maintaining healthy vision and immune function.
  • Vitamin B12: One of the essential B vitamins present, it aids in red blood cell formation and nervous system function.
  • Additional Nutrients: Although not as significant in terms of daily value percentage, this cheese can also include traces of phosphorus, zinc, and vitamin D, among other nutrients.

Health Benefits

Monterey Jack cheese offers specific nutritional benefits that contribute to your health. Particularly noteworthy is its high calcium content and the presence of protein, both of which support bone health and muscle maintenance respectively.

Bone Health

Your bones require calcium to maintain their strength and density.

A 1-ounce serving of Monterey Jack cheese provides you with a significant amount of your daily calcium needs.

Calcium works synergistically with vitamin D to enhance absorption and bone mineralization, making this cheese a beneficial addition to your diet for bone health.

Nutrients per 1-ounce serving:

  • Calcium: Essential for bone structure and health.
  • Vitamin D: Improves calcium absorption.

Muscle Maintenance

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and protein is crucial for repair and growth of muscle tissue.

You’ll find that Monterey Jack cheese contains all the essential amino acids your body needs, contributing to muscle maintenance.

Including this cheese in your diet can aid in muscle repair after workouts and support overall muscle health.

Macronutrients per 1-ounce serving:

  • Protein: Approximately 6 grams, important for muscle repair and growth.
  • Fat: About 8 grams, which provides sustained energy.

Dietary Considerations

A block of monterey jack cheese is surrounded by various food items, with a nutrition label and a measuring scale in the background

When including Monterey Jack cheese in your diet, it’s important to consider its lactose content and potential allergens. These factors can affect individuals with specific dietary restrictions or sensitivities.

Lactose Content

Monterey Jack cheese is made from cow’s milk, which contains lactose.

Although cheese generally has lower lactose levels than milk, it may still affect individuals with lactose intolerance.

The lactose content can vary between different batches and brands, so it’s advisable to check the label or consult with a dietitian if you’re sensitive to lactose.

Allergies and Sensitivities

Allergens present in Monterey Jack cheese predominantly include milk proteins that can provoke reactions in people with milk allergies.

The cheese does not contain added sugars, dietary fiber, or alcohol, which are often considered in dietary restrictions, but it’s crucial to note that it’s a dairy product.

If you have a known sensitivity to cow’s milk or dairy, consuming Monterey Jack cheese might lead to allergic reactions. Always consult with a healthcare provider if you’re uncertain about your allergies.

Caloric Information

A block of monterey jack cheese with a label displaying its caloric information and nutritional profile

Understanding the caloric content of Monterey Jack cheese is crucial if you’re monitoring your energy intake, especially in the context of weight management.

Serving Size and Calorie Breakdown

When you consume Monterey Jack cheese, your serving size is typically measured in ounces.

A standard 1-ounce serving (28 grams) contains approximately 100 to 106 calories. The breakdown of these calories is generally:

  • 73% fat
  • 26% protein
  • 1% carbohydrates

Of this, the net carbs are usually limited to about 1 gram per ounce, which makes Monterey Jack cheese a low-carbohydrate food option.

Energy Density and Weight Management

Energy density refers to the number of calories (energy) in a specific weight of food.

Monterey Jack cheese is considered to have a high energy density, meaning it packs a significant amount of calories in a small serving.

For effective weight management, it’s essential to balance the energy you consume through food with the energy your body expends.

A 1-ounce slice of Monterey Jack can provide you with enough energy to sustain your daily activities without contributing excessively to your daily calorie intake, provided it’s consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Comparison to Other Cheeses

Monterey Jack cheese stands tall, surrounded by other cheeses. Its nutritional profile shines, boasting high protein and calcium content

In this section, you’ll find how Monterey Jack cheese compares nutritionally to similar cheeses and what sets it apart when it comes to taste and texture.

Similar Cheeses

Monterey Jack cheese falls into a similar category as American and Cheddar cheeses in terms of being widely consumed in the United States.

When comparing it to Cheddar cheese, you’ll find that Cheddar is richer in Selenium, Vitamin A RAE, Vitamin B12, and Zinc. However, Monterey Jack surpasses Cheddar in its Iron content, containing 0.72 mg compared to Cheddar’s 0.14 mg.

With American cheese, the comparison shows that Monterey Jack has less Sodium and Saturated Fat, making it a tad healthier in those aspects.

American cheese covers your daily need for Sodium 47% more than Monterey Jack. Additionally, Monterey Jack boasts 2 times more Vitamin B2 compared to American cheese.

Taste and Texture Profiles

When you think about Monterey Jack cheese, envisage a cheese that’s mild in flavor profile, which makes it incredibly versatile in culinary applications. Here’s how it stacks up against other popular cheeses:

  • Taste: Monterey Jack is notably less sharp than Cheddar, providing a gentle, buttery taste that melts away in your mouth.
  • Texture: It typically boasts a semi-soft, creamy texture which contrasts with the firmer, often crumbly texture of aged Cheddar.

This cheese melts exceptionally well, perfect for making sauces creamier or adding a gooey touch to your sandwiches and burgers, without overpowering other ingredients.

Usage in Cuisine

A block of monterey jack cheese sits on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by slices of tomato, avocado, and whole grain crackers. A nutrition label is visible next to the cheese

Monterey Jack Cheese is a staple in many kitchens due to its versatile flavor profile and melting properties.

When you integrate this cheese into your recipes, it imparts a creamy texture and a mild taste that enhances but does not overpower the other ingredients.

Popular Uses:

  • Mexican Dishes: Whether it’s enchiladas or quesadillas, Monterey Jack melts beautifully, providing that stringy, satisfying pull.
  • Burgers: Adding a slice to your burger provides a subtle creaminess without competing with the meat’s flavor.
  • Sandwiches: The cheese is an excellent addition to cold sandwiches or paninis for a touch of richness.

Recipe Suggestions:

  • California Burrito: Incorporate slices or shreds of Monterey Jack with carne asada, French fries, and guacamole for a filling meal.
  • Cheesy Pasta: Stir into macaroni for a simple yet delicious mac and cheese, or layer in lasagne for added moisture and creaminess.
  • Baked Appetizers: Sprinkle over nachos or stuffed jalapeños before baking for a gooey topping.

The mild flavor and creamy texture of Monterey Jack Cheese make it a perfect ingredient for your culinary creations.

Its versatility in melting ensures it’s well-incorporated in a variety of hot dishes, making your recipes stand out with a comforting, cheesy component.

Purchasing and Storage

A hand reaches for a block of Monterey Jack cheese in a grocery store. The cheese is then stored in a refrigerator at home

When you purchase Monterey Jack cheese, choose blocks that are consistent in color and free from any surface moisture, which can indicate poor handling or storage conditions.

A fresh piece of Monterey Jack should have a mild scent and a semi-firm texture.

After buying, it’s important to store it correctly to maintain its quality and extend its shelf life.

Shelf Life:

  • Refrigerator: Keeps fresh for 1 month from the date of purchase.
  • Freezer: Can last up to 4 months when properly frozen.

Storage Tips:

  • Temperature: Store your cheese between 35°F and 45°F (1.7°C to 7.2°C) to inhibit bacterial growth and prevent spoilage.
  • Refrigeration: Always keep the cheese refrigerated in the original packaging if unopened or in airtight containers or wrap if opened.
  • Freezing: Monterey Jack can be frozen by tightly wrapping it in plastic and then again in aluminum foil. However, be aware that freezing may alter the texture, making it more crumbly.

Note: Check the cheese regularly for any signs of mold or off-odors, especially if stored beyond the one-month mark, and consume promptly once opened for the best experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

A block of Monterey Jack cheese sits on a wooden cutting board, surrounded by various types of crackers, grapes, and nuts. A nutrition label is visible on the packaging

In this section, you’ll find detailed answers to some of the most common questions about the nutritional aspects of Monterey Jack cheese, so you can make informed decisions about including it in your diet.

How many calories are in a serving of Monterey Jack cheese?

A 1-ounce serving of Monterey Jack cheese typically contains around 100 calories.

It’s important to consider this in the context of your total daily calorie intake.

What is the protein content in an ounce of Monterey Jack cheese?

You’ll get approximately 6 grams of protein from a 1-ounce portion of Monterey Jack cheese, making it a satisfying addition to your meals that contributes to your daily protein needs.

Can consuming Monterey Jack cheese aid in weight loss?

While Monterey Jack cheese is high in protein and can be a part of a balanced diet, weight loss is generally achieved through a calorie deficit.

The high fat content of the cheese means portion control is key if you’re trying to lose weight.

What is the sodium content in Monterey Jack cheese?

The sodium content can vary, but on average, there are about 150 to 200 milligrams of sodium in a 1-ounce serving of Monterey Jack cheese.

Always check the nutrition label for the most accurate information.

What are the nutritional benefits of Monterey Jack cheese?

Monterey Jack cheese is a source of calcium, important for bone health, and protein which is essential for muscle repair and growth.

It also contains other nutrients like vitamins A, B12, zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin.

What culinary uses is Monterey Jack cheese most suitable for?

Monterey Jack cheese is versatile with a mild flavor and meltable consistency.

This makes it ideal for snacking, slicing, and melting over foods such as nachos, burgers, and sandwiches.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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