String Cheese Makes a Healthy Snack

Cheese, in general, is an excellent dairy source. It contains calcium for strong bones—150 milligrams (mg) per stick, protein for muscles and energy, and vitamins A for healthy vision and the immune system, B12 for nervous system and blood cell health, riboflavin (vitamin B2), which helps the body break down foods to create energy and transport oxygen, and niacin (vitamin B3), which helps lower cholesterol, ease inflammation, and improve brain function. Cheese generally has no artificial flavors, preservatives, or added sugars.

A Lower-Fat Choice

But cheese can be high in fat. One of the healthiest cheeses is mozzarella, which is used to make “string” cheese. String cheese is a good snack option because it comes individually wrapped in single servings. This makes it easy to carry, store, and consume and to not overeat. You also can cube one stick and add it to a salad to boost your protein, or melt it onto a piece of toast.

Mozzarella string cheese comes in three types: regular, low moisture-part skim, and reduced-fat. The difference between regular and low moisture, part skim is flavor, not fat content. Regular string cheese has more moisture and is softer. In low moisture-part skim, the cheese is “soured” longer and allowed to dry out. This gives the cheese a longer shelf life.

About half of mozzarella string cheese’s fat is saturated fat. Regular string cheese has 6 grams (g) of fat, with 3.5 g of saturated fat. Low-moisture-part-skim has about the same amount of fat as regular string cheese, whereas, reduced-fat string cheese has less than half that amount (see chart below).

Your Recommended Daily Allowance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that adults consume no more than 1½ ounces of low-fat or fat-free cheese daily. The USDA’s recommended daily allowance for saturated fat is 10 percent or less of your total daily fat consumption. Also, cheese has sodium, and that counts toward your daily sodium allowance of 2,300 mg (1,500 mg if you have high blood pressure).

In addition to mozzarella, string cheese comes in other flavors, including cheddar and colby jack. There also are vegetarian versions, as well as kosher, and organic brands.

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