Mozzarella sticks are the one perfect food that can simultaneously be a guilty pleasure and a healthy snack. As long as you know how to eat them, mozzarella sticks can fall on either side of the spectrum. After all, they’re basically just cheese. Mozzarella sticks have a reputation for being unhealthy because of their association with fast food restaurants. But just like anything else, it is all about how you eat them. If you follow these tips, you can enjoy mozzarella sticks and not feel guilty about it afterward.
Are Mozzarella Sticks Healthy?
They can be healthy if you make sure to get the low-fat variety and avoid dipping them in high-fat sauces. Most Mozzarella sticks are fried, which means they’re high in unhealthy saturated fat. But if you bake them instead of frying them, they’re a relatively healthy snack. Just make sure to avoid toppings like marinara sauce or ranch dressing, which can quickly turn a healthy snack into an unhealthy one.
How To Make Mozzarella Sticks Healthier
1. Skip The Frying.
Mozzarella sticks are often deep fried, which adds a ton of unnecessary fat and calories to otherwise healthy food. You can make your own mozzarella sticks by baking them in the oven instead of frying them. You can also find mozzarella sticks that are baked, which are healthier than their fried counterparts.
2. Eat One Serving.
Mozzarella sticks come in packs with several cheese sticks on a stick, so it is easy to eat more than one serving at a time. Eat just one serving and leave the rest for another time so you don’t eat too many calories in one sitting.
3. Avoid Dipping The Cheese Sticks In Marinara Sauce Or Ranch Dressing.
You might like dipping your mozzarella sticks in marinara or ranch dressing, but you will be adding extra fat and calories to an otherwise healthy snack if you do this regularly. If you want to dip your mozzarella sticks, choose a healthier dip like salsa or hummus.
4. Eat A Healthy Meal Before Indulging In Mozzarella Sticks.
Mozzarella sticks are often served as appetizers at restaurants and parties, so you might find yourself eating them without having eaten anything else that day. If you eat a healthy meal before indulging in mozzarella sticks, you won’t feel as guilty about the calories or fat you are consuming. You also won’t be as hungry, so you will eat less.
5. Share Your Mozzarella Sticks With A Friend.
Mozzarella sticks are often served in large packs, and it is easy to eat more than one serving if you are eating them by yourself. If you want to eat mozzarella sticks, consider sharing the pack with a friend so you can each eat just one serving and don’t eat too many calories in one sitting.
Why Are Mozzarella Sticks Unhealthy?
1. The Breading.
It’s hard to see, but there is a lot of breading on these mozzarella sticks. Breadcrumbs, flour, and other ingredients are used in the breading process to give the cheese a crunchy, crispy layer that tastes amazing with melted cheese. But all those extra ingredients don’t exactly make for a healthy snack. In fact, most fast-food restaurants use a lot of greases when making their mozzarella sticks because it helps the breading stick to the cheese better. The result is that you get an unhealthy dose of fat with every bite.
2. The Frying Oil.
This is another important factor when it comes to how you eat your mozzarella sticks. Many fast-food restaurants use cheap soybean oil or canola oil when frying their mozzarella sticks and other fried foods. It might not sound like much but canola and soybean oils have high levels of omega-6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation and other health problems. Instead, opt for cooking your mozzarella sticks in olive oil or coconut oil.
3. The Marinara Sauce.
While it is true that marinara sauce is a healthy addition to your mozzarella sticks, most fast-food restaurants use a lot of sugar and preservatives to make their marinara sauce taste better. Not only does this make for an unhealthy snack, but it also adds unnecessary calories to your meal. If you want to add marinara sauce, try making your own with organic ingredients or read the ingredients list on the label at the grocery store. A good rule of thumb is to avoid buying anything that has more than five ingredients listed on the label.
4. The Cheese Itself.
One of the reasons why cheese sticks are so delicious is because they are made with real cheese! Unfortunately, not all cheeses are created equally when it comes to being healthy and nutritious for your body. Many mozzarella sticks are made with low-fat cheese or even non-fat cheese, which means that they have fewer nutrients and less flavor. Instead, opt for whole milk mozzarella cheese sticks that contain all the good stuff.
Healthier Options For The Dish
- Choose a restaurant that makes mozzarella sticks with healthier bread. Although it is not the healthiest choice, fried mozzarella sticks are still better than the alternative. Some restaurants will use whole wheat breading or panko bread crumbs for their sticks, and you should seek out those restaurants when you want to order them.
- Try mozzarella sticks that are baked instead of fried. If you cannot find a restaurant that uses healthier breading on their mozzarella sticks, then you should try to find one that simply bakes them instead of frying them. Baked cheese is just as tasty as fried cheese, and it will not be nearly as bad for your health if eaten in moderation.
- Skip the marinara sauce and dip your mozzarella sticks in ranch dressing instead. The marinara sauce used on most mozzarella stick dishes is full of sodium, which makes it unhealthy no matter how much cheese is in it. Ranch dressing is a much healthier alternative that will still give you the same flavor you are looking for.
- Eat cheese sticks without breading. You can make your own mozzarella sticks at home by dipping cheese sticks in the egg and then rolling them in bread crumbs before baking them in the oven. This process is not nearly as unhealthy as frying the cheese because there is less oil involved, and it results in a healthier snack that tastes just like fried mozzarella sticks.
- Order mozzarella sticks with a side of veggies instead of fries or chips. Most fast-food restaurants offer this option, so take advantage of it when you can. Veggies are always better than greasy fried foods any day of the week, especially if you pair them with something cheesy like mozzarella sticks!
Mozzarella sticks are one of those dishes that are hard to eat healthfully. However, it is completely possible to make them healthier and even a bit more nutritious. If you go for plain breadcrumbs, stick to regular cheese and find a healthier marinara to go with it, you can put the mozzarella sticks on the healthier side of the spectrum. There are plenty of ways to eat these that are nutritious and tasty. So, don’t be afraid to order them at your favorite restaurant. Just follow these tips and you will be fine.