Between water recipes and the morning kombucha trend, TikTok has been having its fair share of health trends in 2023. While some of these viral takes are actually pretty solid in terms of health advice (shoutout to those treadmill strut routines), others can be ruled out as fads once a nutritionist or expert weighs in. The newest viral eating plan that’s hitting the FYPs of millions? The cottage cheese and mustard diet.
Hold your gags, besties. If you haven’t come across the viral videos of a woman eating her lunch filled with veggies, protein, and these two (admittedly bizarre) condiments, consider this your introduction. Within the past few weeks, Tiffany Elizabeth (@tiffanyymagee) has skyrocketed to viral status after sharing her daily lunchtime meals. Garnering hundreds of thousands of followers because of her videos, Tiffany has amassed over 13.5 million likes across her videos, and boasts a following of over 630,000 folks on TikTok alone.
While Tiffany does post videos about her life and weight loss journey, her mealtime videos are definitely her most popular, and have sparked a trend among the TikTok community. You wouldn’t believe how many users I’ve seen trying out this viral meal. However, like with all trends, I found myself wondering if this “healthy diet hack” is truly good for your health. So, I chatted with nutritionist and trainer Mary Sabat, MS, RDN, LD about the cottage cheese and mustard diet that TikTok can’t get enough of.
So, what’s the deal with the cottage cheese and mustard diet?
As I mentioned before, this trend was popularized by user Tiffany Elizabeth, who frequently shares videos of her eating this meal (like, almost daily). The meal itself is, usually, comprised of some chicken sausage, raw veggies (like broccoli, carrots, and Brussel sprouts), hearts of palm, and fresh fruit. Before each bite, Tiffany dips each food into either yellow mustard, cottage cheese, or a mixture of both — yes, even the fresh fruit.
While we may turn our noses up at the seemingly strange diet, Sabat reveals that there are some health benefits to this meal.
“Including mustard and cottage cheese in a lunch can be a part of a healthy diet, depending on the overall composition of the meal and your individual dietary needs,” Sabat tells Her Campus. “Both mustard and cottage cheese can be nutritious options, but it’s important to consider the entire meal and ensure it provides a balanced mix of nutrients.”
I’m a mustard lover, so to hear that this condiment is good for your health was a total win for me. “Mustard is a low-calorie condiment that can add flavor to dishes without significantly increasing the calorie content,” Sabat shares. “It contains antioxidants, such as glucosinolates, which have been associated with potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.”
However, a little dip of mustard doesn’t actually do much in terms of your health. It still tastes good to me, though. “The amount of mustard typically used as a condiment is small, so the overall health benefits derived solely from mustard may be limited,” Sabat adds.
Cottage cheese, however, is tough to win me over. Despite this, there’s no denying some of the big benefits that come from this controversial food. “Cottage cheese is a good source of protein and calcium,” Sabat says. “Protein is important for building and repairing tissues, supporting immune function, and providing a feeling of fullness, while calcium is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.”
What should I eat with mustard and cottage cheese?
Due to the healthy nature of these two foods, Sabat believes that they make for a great boost when mixed with other foods that are good for your body. Proteins, fruits, and veggies are all great for eating alongside cottage cheese and mustard, because the viral mixture doesn’t do a whole lot on its own.
“While cottage cheese is a good source of protein, it may not provide all the nutrients required for a balanced diet,” Sabat says. “It’s important to include other sources of protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats in your daily meals to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs.”
Sabat also adds that what Tiffany eats in her lunch is actually an example of a pretty balanced diet, even if it looks a little odd to some of us. “It’s worth noting that in the video provided, the person is eating mostly low-calorie, high-fiber vegetables with mustard and cottage cheese, with the exception of the large sausage,” she says.
So, whether this has inspired you to douse your next lunch in cottage cheese and mustard, or if you’re the type to say “no thanks,” at least we got to the bottom of this bizarre TikTok trend together. Pass the mustard, please!