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Cubes, blocks, chunks, squares and ovals... all are common shapes associated with cheese. Then there's taste; sharp, sweet, salty, tangy, herby, etc. Cheese is unique in its taste, usage in food, region of origin and shape. Of the many varieties of cheese available in the world, a popular and easy-to-eat kind is string cheese. String cheese is exactly what its name suggests; long thin strands or strings or threads of delicious processed cheese.

What Is String Cheese?

The cheese need not be processed, there are various flavors and tastes available, such as peppered, smoked, herbed or plain. It can be made from goat, sheep or cow's milk, producing a different taste with each ingredient. String cheese differs from regular cheese in shape, mainly due to the way it is made. Cheese is made from curdling milk. When the curds formed are pressed into a block or form, the cheese attains this hard and firm shape. Such a cheese form cannot be peeled but must be cut and broken apart. Due to its firmness, when such cheese is to be used in pizzas or in pasta, it must be shredded by grating. But with string cheese, the curd at the time of production, is woven and pulled into thin strips and braided and twisted around. So, as the curd hardens, it forms the shape of threads or stringy fibers.

String cheese is a very popular type of cheese and different countries have different forms and flavors. For example, in Armenia, this cheese is made from aged goat's milk, seasoned with spices like cumin and mahleb and is woven into a thick braid. Syria has a form of stringy cheese, called Majdoule, which is salty in taste. Queso Oaxaca, which is a Mexican cheese, is a string cheese with a mozzarella-like flavor. In the United States, string cheese is actually mozzarella cheese, which is in the strand or string form. The appeal of this cheese lies in its conveniently sized packaging and ease-of-availability, making it a tasty snack-on-the-go, especially for kids. You can eat the cheese plain or instead of grating, just lightly tear it to garnish salads and dishes or use on a sandwich or pizza. Brands such as Frigo and Sargenta offer string cheese in small packages, ideal for lunch boxes.

String Cheese Nutrition Facts

Cheese is an oft-maligned food for its high cholesterol, fat and salt content. But it does have its benefits and this applies to string cheese as well. The points in string cheese's favor for being a healthy food are:
  • It has a decent amount of various members of the vitamin family, such as Vitamin A, C and B12.
  • The nutrient for healthy bones, white teeth and strength, calcium, is present in high levels in string cheese.
  • String cheese has a relatively low fat content as compared to other cheeses (2.5 grams in a 9 ounce pack) and is a good source of protein (6 grams in a 9 ounce pack).
  • The rich taste and diverse flavors of this cheese, make it a favorite food for both adults and children and only the finickiest of eaters will avoid this cheese.
In all this talk of benefits, one health aspect is the amount of calories in string cheese. The table below shows the calorie count of various string cheeses.

Types of String CheeseCaloriesCholesterolSodium
Sargento Natural String Cheese (1 oz)8015 mg210 mg
Sargento Natural Light String Cheese (1 oz)5010 mg160 mg
Organic Valley's Stringles (1 oz)8020 mg210 mg
Sun-Ni Armenian String Cheese (1 oz)8015 mg220 mg
Crystal Farms Wisconsin String Cheese (1 oz)7015 mg180 mg
Kraft String-Ums (1 oz)8020 mg200 mg

So, how many calories are there in string cheese? On an average comparison, it seems to be around 80, which is not so bad and hence string cheese can qualify as a low-calorie cheese. So if snacked on a daily basis, calorie-wise, there's not much harm. It's the other two constituents that are rather alarming. String cheese has an average cholesterol count of 15 mg, at a minimum 10 mg. Plus it has a high content of sodium, so for those with high-blood pressure and on low-sodium diets, this food is a definite no-no. In fact, the salt content is enough to make you feel very thirsty after snacking on even half a packet of string cheese. But some brands do produce low-fat and reduced-sodium versions, so opt for those if you eat a lot of this cheese regularly.

In summation, the calories are low but the sodium and cholesterol levels are high enough to warrant careful eating, especially for kids and teens, who like snacking en masse. On the other hand, a pack of string cheese is better nutrition-wise, than a packet of chips or a can of soda. So as a once-a-day snack, string cheese is not so bad. You could also try using the reduced-sodium type to cut down on the salt.