6 Cracker Brands To Stay Away From Right Now
"Crackers are a portable and versatile snack—a great on-the-go option that can fit into a healthy eating regimen," says Silvia Carli, MS, RD, CSCS, registered dietitian with 1AND1. "It is important to choose wisely to get the best out of it."
When it comes to choosing a healthy cracker, look for whole grains, like whole wheat flour, as a first ingredient, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, a registered dietitian and author of Read It Before You Eat It – Taking You from Label to Table.
"'Wheat flour' is often a first ingredient…but it's not the same as whole wheat," says Taub-Dix. "Don't be fooled by products that are brown in color. Often consumers confuse the color of a food for its whole grain value, when the truth is that some brown-colored products (like bread and crackers, for example) have molasses added—but aren't whole grain."
Other whole grains include:
- Brown rice
- Buckwheat or kasha, buckwheat groats
- Corn or cornmeal (yellow and white)
- Cracked wheat (also called bulgur)
- Millet Popcorn Quinoa
- Rolled oats (old-fashioned, quick, or instant)
- Whole barley
- Whole oats
- Whole wheat pasta
- Wild rice
She adds that when choosing a healthy cracker, you also need to check the type of fat mentioned on the ingredient list.
"Many crackers are made with harmful trans fats, appearing on food labels as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats," says Taub-Dix. "No matter how graining they are or how 'natural' the food label looks, if it has these fats, I'd take a pass and pick another."
Finally, check the sodium content.
"Some crackers are high in sodium, so if you're watching your salt intake, be sure to take a peek at this number on the food label," says Taub-Dix. "Low sodium means 140 milligrams sodium or less per serving."
If you want to buy a healthy cracker, here are six brands and products to stay away from, according to dietitians.
Keebler Club Crackers
"The serving size is only four crackers (14 g), and let's keep it real—who eats only 1/2 oz of crackers at once?" says Carli. "They contain 3 grams of fat and <1 gram of protein with no fiber. They also contain HFCS and soy lecithin as a preservative, which is known to have some negative effects on the gut microbiome."
Lance® Toast Chee ToastChee Cheddar Sandwich Crackers
"These crackers are high saturated fat (about 3.5g), low in fiber (with <1 gram per serving), high in sodium (with 400mg per serving), and one package contains 200 calories," says registered dietitian Jonathan Valdez, RDN, owner of Genki Nutrition and a spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "I doubt you will be leaving any behind or sharing."
"The serving size is only five crackers (16 g). One serving contains 4.5 g of fat, 1g of which is saturated, <1 g of protein, and no fiber," says Carli. "These crackers also contain palm oil. According to the WWF, palm oil production is one of the leading causes of deforestation and endangered, protected species like orangutans, pygmy elephants, and Sumatran rhinos."
Cheez-It® Original Snack Crackers, 1.5 ounces
"Cheez-Its are high in saturated fat (2.5 g), high in carbohydrates (24 g), and high in sodium (320 mg)," says Valdez.
"One serving size contains 4 g of added sugar," says Carli. "Usually it is best to avoid snacks with added sugar—very tough since sugar is pretty much added to everything these days. But on the other hand, it also contains 3 g of fiber and a little protein, so it is not a totally awful option."
Keebler Club and Cheddar Sandwich Crackers
"These sandwich crackers have 2.5 grams of saturated fat, low fiber <1 gram, are high in carbohydrates (24 g), and high in sodium (310mg)," says Valdez.
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