Don't shy away from the snacks — just be smart about what you eat and enjoy.
Craving those crispy, cheesy frozen appetizers? We all do! Don't shy away from the snacks — just be smart about what you eat and enjoy. Take a look at these four popular items and how to eat them while staying healthy.
Turns out, buying frozen mozzarella sticks at the grocery store can be better than ordering them at a restaurant. In both instances, the sticks are fried and then flash frozen. But restaurants typically fry them a second time before sending them to your table. At home, you simply crisp up the sticks in the oven. So you're not getting all that extra fat and calories!
However, the frozen mozzarella stick brands we looked at had an average of 29 ingredients. Some even had 40! To compare, you'd only have about four ingredients if you made them yourself. But the good news is that many of them had real cheese. But the culprit of the calories is in the breading, where most of the ingredients come from. That could include modified cornstarch, yellow corn flour and soy flour. So when you're buying your sticks, look for labels that don't read like encyclopedias!
Watch out for the cheese fillings in these little guys. With cream cheese fillings, some brands use way more ingredients than if you were to make them yourself. They'll have binders like xantham gum, guar gum and carob bean gum. And cheddar cheese fillings typically have colorings to give it that recognizable orange color. And they also use processed cheese, which can really rack up the sodium level. So look for brands that have 500 milligrams or less of sodium.
MINI PIZZA POCKETS
We all love these pouches with pizza toppings inside. However, the cheese is typically imitation cheese and there's usually a combo of oils along with the meat, and veggies, The tomato sauce is actually a thick paste that is pumped through the dough and mixed with the cubes of imitation cheese. But it becomes so gooey because it's packed with high amounts of starches and gums, which can also be sources of extra sugar and sodium.
Now these snacks are 100% Dr. Oz-approved! Find products with the least number of ingredients and the least number of chemicals. The more ingredients you recognize, the better! The brands of potstickers we looked at had sodium levels between 200 and 450 milligrams per serving, so look for brands with the lower levels. You could even find these snacks with whole wheat flour, gluten-free options and even organic varieties!