If you try to maintain a healthy diet, you might avoid snacks and chips. But what about snack crackers? Can crackers be healthy? Saltinesare a key component in some popular online diets. But have you ever checked the nutrition profile of saltine crackers?
There are a few cracker brands that are better than others and even a few that provide some nutritional value. The key is to check the nutrition facts before you buy.
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDAfor five saltine crackers (14.9g).
When many of us think of crackers we think of saltines—the pale, square, crunchy crisps that we often eat with soup or topped with peanut butter. These crackers are made by several different companies, but the nutrition facts for saltines are fairly consistent between brands.
A single serving of saltines (5 crackers) contains 62.3 calories, 11 carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein. Some brands of saltines (and other crackers) are made with partially hydrogenated oils or trans fat. Health experts recommend that you reduce or eliminate your intake of trans fat.
So how do saltine calories compare to the calories in other types of crackers?
- A single serving ofgraham crackers (28g)provides 119calories, 2.8 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrate, 6 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
- A single serving ofTriscuit Original(six crackers) provides132 calories, 4.2 grams of fat,21 grams of carbohydrate, 2.4 grams of fiber, and 2.4grams of protein.
- A single serving ofPretzel Crisps (28g)provides110calories, 1.5 grams of fat,22 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.
- A single serving (14g) ofCarr'sTableWater Crackers (Original)provides60calories, 1 gram of fat,10 grams of carbohydrate, and 1gram of protein.
- A single serving of oneWasa Light Rye Crisp Breadprovides36.6calories, 0grams of fat,8.2 grams of carbohydrate, 1.7 grams of fiber, 0.8 grams of protein.
When you calculate the calories in crackers, remember that what you put on top of the cracker can add more calories than the cracker itself. A single serving of natural peanut butter (36g) will add 210 calories and 18 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs, and 9 grams of protein to your snack.
Some crackers are not only higher in calories and fat, but they also lack fiber. Less fiber often means a less filling snack. You might be surprised to know that some savory crackers are also made with sugar. So it's important to check the ingredients list to find the most nutritionally-dense cracker.
- Keebler Club crackers are made with sugar and high fructose corn syrup.A single serving (4 crackers) provides 60 calories, 3.2grams of fat, 8 grams of carbohydrate, and less than one gram of protein.These crackers also contain additives for freshness and are made with white flour. They are not whole grain and are highly processed.
- Ritz Crackers are made with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat).A single serving provides 80 calories, 0 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. They are not whole grain and are highly processed.
- Wheat Thins are also made with sugar, and several types of sweeteners, including malt syrup and refiners syrup. A single serving provides 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
And what about popular snack crackers?A single serving ofCheez-It crackers(28g)provides 130calories, 4grams of fat, 19grams of carbohydrate, and 4grams of protein.Goldfish crackers provide 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of protein.
How to Pick a Healthier Cracker
There are several ways to choose a more nutritious cracker, from looking for whole-grain ingredients to finding crackers made from innovative ingredients like cauliflower and avocado.
Look for the number of grams of fiber in your cracker to help boost your daily fiber intake. Eating fiber helps you to feel fuller and satisfied after eating. People who eat more fiber are likely to eat less in the hours after their meal or snack.
To find a cracker with more fiber check below the Nutrition Facts label and look for the words "whole grain" listed as one of the first items in the ingredients list. Triscuit brand crackers are made from whole grains. Or asingle serving of Wasa Fiber Whole Grain Crisp Breadprovides 60 calories, 1 gram of fat, 14 grams of carbohydrate, 5 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.
Look for crackers that are made from ingredients such as vegetables, whole grain flours, nuts, and seeds. Some new cracker varieties contain ample amounts of fiber, healthy fats, and protein.
For example, today you can purchase crackers whose main ingredients include root vegetables like cassava, or cruciferous vegetables such as kale and cauliflower. If you choose to eat lower carbohydrates, cracker varieties such as Parmesan crisps and avocado-based crackers are a good choice.
Remember to read the serving size and be mindful of the sodium content.
Tips to Eat Mindfully
If you love to snack on crackers, it can be helpful to practice mindful or intuitive eating. Part of this is storing your snack foods well, and part is simply spending the time to truly enjoy your snack.
Store Snacks Mindfully
Crackers might be among your list of possible choices if you need a snack, but it is more likely to be what you reach for if you store them on the counter. If they are put away, you're more likely to consider whether a piece of fruit or some raw veggies might sound satisfying.
Store Snacks in Original Packaging
If you move foods from their original packaging, you lose the Nutrition Facts label when you throw away the package. Keeping crackers in the original box gives you easy access to serving size and fiber content, for example. If you are trying to keep foods fresher, store them in a plastic bag inside the original box.
Savor Your Snack
And lastly, when you choose to snack on crackers, put them on a plate with your favorite healthy topping and enjoy a single serving. Chew slowly, savoring the flavors and textures of the crackers. Making your snack an experience increases satisfaction and is part of truly enjoying your snack choice.
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Crackers, Saltines (Includes Oyster, Soda, Soup). April 1, 2019.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Nabisco, Nabisco Grahams Crackers. April 1, 2019.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Crackers, Woven Wheat, Plain (Triscuit). October 30, 2020.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Pretzel Crisps. June 17, 2021.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Carr's Crackers Table Water Original 200ct. March 19, 2021.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Crackers, Crispbread. October 30, 2020.
USDA. Natural Peanut Butter. March 19, 2021.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Crackers, Butter, Plain. October 30, 2020.(Video) Does Fancy Packaged Food Taste Better?
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Ritz Crackers Original. February 27, 2020.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Thin Wheat Crackers, Thin Wheat. March 19, 2021.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers. March 19, 2021.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Pepperidge Farm Crackers Goldfish. February 27, 2020.
By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer, and fitness nutrition specialist.
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