String cheese is a snack-time favorite among children and adults alike. It’s also a healthy way to get some calories and extra protein. But is it safe to eat when you’re pregnant?
Generally, string cheese is considered safe to eat during pregnancy. It is usually produced with mozzarella cheese, which is made from low-moisture, pasteurized cow’s milk, making it a safe snacking option.
Read on to learn more about eating this cheese while pregnant!
Is String Cheese Safe for Pregnancy?
String cheese in general is considered safe for pregnant women to eat because it is made from mozzarella cheese.
Mozzarella is a soft cheese under the “pasta filata” class. It is made from pasteurized cow’s milk and is stretched in hot water. It is best consumed fresh or close to its manufacturing date (source: Journal of Food Science and Technology).
When mozzarella is stretched in hot water, some of the proteins start to align, but not all of them. The mozzarella is then stretched into ropes to become the snack we know and love (source: HuffPost Food & Drink).
String cheese can also be made from cheddar cheese, a hard cheese, but this is uncommon (source: Nutrition Advance), or a blend of mozzarella and cheddar (source: Cheese). The end goal is that it can be pulled apart into strands.
It is available in the common white mozzarella variety, as well as twisted orange and white options (source: Cheese).
Here are some popular brands available in the U.S.:
This brand is made with low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese made with pasteurized skim milk.
This brand is made with cultured, pasteurized, part-skim milk. It is also certified USDA organic.
Galbani is a natural cheese made with pasteurized milk.
The titan of all cheese: Kraft. This is made with pasteurized part-skim milk, as well.
You probably noticed that most of the string cheeses above are made with part-skim milk or part-skim mozzarella. The lower fat content makes it easier to stretch, shred, cut, and ultimately, melt (source: Journal of Food Science and Technology).
Is String Cheese Pasteurized? Is there Any Listeria Risk?
In the U.S., string cheese is made from mozzarella cheese (source: Cheese). Additionally, all U.S. producers making mozzarella are mandated to use pasteurized milk (source: FDA), so it is safe to consume during pregnancy.
String cheese also belongs to the category of low-moisture mozzarella (source: Robust Kitchen). This reduced moisture makes it less likely to harbor bacteria and other microbes.
With this said, string cheese product still needs to be stored properly. Soft cheeses need to be refrigerated and will keep for one week (source: USDA). If unopened, it will keep for a few months in the refrigerator, or 6 to 8 months in the freezer (source: Foods Guy).
Do not consume string cheese products if it’s gone bad. Check for molds forming or a foul smell coming from it.
The Benefits of String Cheese When Pregnant
Because of its convenience and nutrition benefits, string cheese makes for a good snack when you are craving cheese but don’t want to cook a whole meal.
It is rich in protein and a source of calcium. Grams of protein is essential during pregnancy because it helps the unborn baby gain a healthy birth weight. It also helps with maternal homeostasis and the growth and development of the baby inside the womb.
Calcium helps form the baby’s bones. It also prevents delayed growth, low birth weight, and hypertension (source: Nutrients).
String cheese has considerable amounts of fat and cholesterol, so be sure to eat it in moderation. But with that caveat, you can rest assured that it’s healthy snacks for you and baby alike.