The Truth About Mozzarella Sticks: Healthy, Junk Food or In Between?

The mozzarella stick is a popular fast food item that has been around for decades.

It’s hard to deny their appeal – they are cheesy, crispy, and delicious! But are they healthy?

Let’s take a look at the truth about mozzarella sticks:

Mozzarella sticks — Good or bad?

First, let’s talk about nutrition facts. The calorie count is very high in mozzarella sticks.

One good portion of them can contain as much as 500 calories or more.

The recommended daily intake for adults is around 2000 calories, so you would definitely need to cut something else out of your diet if you regularly eat these tasty snacks.

Are they healthy? The answer to this question is a bit complicated.

On the one hand, mozzarella sticks are high in calories and unhealthy saturated fats. Deep drying would also destroy some nutrients.

On the other hand, they are made with cheese – a nutrient-rich food that is good for you in moderation. So, ultimately, it depends on how often you eat them and how they fit into your overall diet.

If you are looking for a healthy snack option, mozzarella sticks are not the best choice.

However, if you enjoy them occasionally and make sure to pair them with other healthy foods, they won’t do too much harm.

Many people who eat mozzarella sticks tend to overeat because they taste so good, but without proper knowledge about the ingredients in these foods, it is easy to overindulge.

Healthy Brands

There are a few healthy brands of mozzarella sticks that you can purchase. Some of the healthiest options include Annie’s Homegrown, 365 by Whole Foods Market, and Alexia. All of these brands use natural ingredients and are relatively low in calories.

Nutrition Comparison – Mozzarella vs. Mozzarella Sticks

I compiled a table below to compare the nutrition fact of fresh mozzarella cheese and fried mozzarella stick.

I randomly selected 2 household brands of mozzarella sticks you can buy anywhere in the US market, and the nutrition data is obtained from the USDA FoodData Central.

Mozzarella Cheese (per 100g)Mozzarella Sticks (per 100g)
Kraft (USDA)America’s Choice (USDA)Hy-Vee (USDA)
Calories286 kcal364 kcal351 kcal
Protein25 g12.1 g13.51 g
Fat21.4 g21.2 g21.62 g
Carbohydrate3.57 g33 g24.3 g
Sugar0 g0 g2.7 g
Calcium714 mg303 mg405 mg
Sodium 607 mg848 mg784 mg
Vitamin C0 mg0 mg0 mg
Vitamin A714 IU303 IU541 IU
Saturated Fat12.5g7.6 g6.8 g
Cholesterol71 mg30 mg27 mg

The data above showed 2 similar sets of nutritional data from the America’s Choice and Hy-Vee brand.

But when compared them to the fresh mozzarella cheese, many of the vital nutrients going down drastically, such as protein, calcium, and vitamin A.

Conversely, less favorable nutrients such as calories, carbohydrate, and sodium, are going up. It means by consuming the same volume, you would expect more calories and carbs intake.

You can check the USDA link above to see the exact ingredients used in making the sticks.

The Healthier & Cheaper Mozzarella Sticks

However, if you are looking to save money and have some fun in the kitchen, then you might want to try making your own mozzarella sticks at home.

There are many recipes online that call for simple ingredients like cheese, bread crumbs, and eggs. Not only will this be a healthier option than store-bought mozzarella sticks, but it will also be a lot cheaper.

Did you know that mozzarella sticks can also be made out of cauliflower? Check out this recipe for a healthier version of the popular snack:

Ingredients:

-One head of cauliflower, cut into sticks

-One cup of bread crumbs

-One cup of grated Parmesan cheese

-Two eggs

-Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs. Dip each cauliflower stick into the egg mixture, then coat in the bread crumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Air-Fried or Baked Mozzarella Sticks

That being said, not all mozzarella sticks are bad for you.

If you purchase the air-fried or baked variety instead of the fried kind, then you can significantly reduce the number of unhealthy fats and calories that you consume.

In fact, a lot of people say that baked mozzarella sticks taste better than the fried variety.

Final Thoughts

Mozzarella sticks can definitely be classified as junk food.

However, they are not the worst thing you could eat and they can be enjoyed in moderation without too much harm.

If you are looking for a healthier alternative, try air-fried or baked mozzarella sticks, or make your own at home with simple ingredients.

Whichever option you choose, just be sure to enjoy them in moderation!

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