Crackers – the easy snack for both adults and children – are popular because they are simple and filling. They are conveniently packed so that you can eat them anytime, anywhere, especially for school or work. It’s also great to crumble into soup, top with cheese when drinking wine, or be nibbled when you’re sick and don’t feel like eating meals.
People eat a lot of snacks, and crackers can be a healthy snack as long as their ingredients are suitable for the body. Once you become mindful of your cracker choices, adding whole grains- therefore fiber- can be a great way to add fiber to your diet. It can also be a yummy way to eat healthier foods, such as peanut butter, olives, cheese, hummus, and smoked salmon. But if you need to be mindful of your calorie, fat, and sodium consumption, too many crackers may not benefit your health.
Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of glucose to keep you feeling fuller and more extended and enables you to sustain energy levels throughout the day. Eating enough fiber can foster healthy digestion, and it’s even linked to a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Ideally, people must take around 28 grams of fiber per 2,000 calories a day, according to the diet recommended dietary fiber intake by the National Academy of Medicine.
The American Heart Association states that eating foods that contain dietary fiber from whole grains may help lower the risk of heart disease, improve blood cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of other chronic diseases such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
If you’re looking for healthy crackers, go for high-fiber and multigrain crackers. It can give you the most health benefits, as long as they are not loaded with sugars and unhealthy fats. Also, the complex carbs in multigrain crackers can help keep your blood sugar levels stable, and the fiber content will help you feel fuller for longer.
How to Choose Healthy, High-Fiber Cracker
When buying crackers, here are a few things to consider to make sure you are buying healthy, high-fiber ones.
1. Make sure they are made with whole grains.
Foods rich in whole grains contain more fiber, which slows down the rate the body digests carbs, helping you feel fuller longer. You want to make sure that they are 100% whole grain crackers by looking at the ingredient list, and the first ingredient listed must be 100% whole grain flour.
Try to search for crackers that contain the most fiber compared to other brands. Some crackers in the grocery store may only have three grams per serving.
2. Steer clear of refined grains.
Refined grains contain only the starchy component – the part that is full of carbohydrates. Since the bran and germ of the grain have been removed, refined grains contain minimal fiber and natural vitamins.
3. Beware of high sodium levels.
Like other salty and processed snacks, crackers often have more sodium than we may realize. Most of the sodium we consume usually eat comes from packaged and prepared foods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
4. Look for crackers with little to no added sugar.
Like other packaged food items, sugar is a common ingredient in many crackers. You probably are consuming enough or excess sugar due to other foods and drinks in your diet, so it’s best to choose crackers with little to no added sugar. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the added sugar limit must only be around 6-9 teaspoons a day. Added sugars serve as empty calories, so it’s best to limit them when you can.
Even the savory crackers can add to your daily limit of added sugar. An added honey is fine, but it’s often best to avoid high-fructose corn syrup crackers with more than one type of sugar. Always check the added sugar on the label if you’re looking for a healthy choice of crackers. It must be no more than one to two grams of sugar per serving.
5. Check the amount of saturated fat.
Packaged foods, including crackers, often have high saturated fats. In general, this is something we need less of. Consuming more saturated fats can contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, and other health disorders. Eat less than 10% of calories from saturated fat daily to keep your body healthy, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
6. Look for the least processed crackers.
Most crackers you can buy at the grocery store are classified as ultra-processed foods. Because they are usually higher in calories, refined oils, sugar, and additives like artificial preservatives and artificial colors – they can cause an increase in caloric intake, obesity, cancer, and heart disease. Choose crackers that have the least additives, sugars, preservatives, and artificial colors.
Multigrain Crackers: Are they Healthy?
There are many cracker options in the market, and one of the most popular, high-fiber types of crackers is multigrain crackers.
Multigrain crackers are made of different types of grains, such as whole wheat, oats, corn, and rye. This variety of grains offers a good source of fiber and other nutrients. It helps keep you full longer, making you less likely to reach for other unhealthy snacks later.
Generally, multigrain crackers are considered healthy. They are a good source of fiber and contain whole grains that are good for the body. But still, there are multigrain crackers that are high in sodium or sugar, so be mindful of the ingredients.
Benefits of Multigrain Crackers
Consuming a healthy, high-fiber snack like multigrain crackers can help keep you feeling energized. It also allows you to manage your weight. You should aim for two 150-calorie snacks a day to lose weight. Multigrain crackers are a great choice for snacking, as they can benefit your health due to their nutritional content. Here are the benefits you can get from multigrain crackers:
1. Rich in fiber
One of the significant benefits of choosing multigrain crackers is their fiber content. Crackers made from white flour usually contain little fiber because refining removes parts of the grain that contain the fiber, leaving just the starchy part. Meanwhile, multigrain crackers made of whole grains contain all three parts of the grain, including the fiber-rich part. This can help increase your fiber intake, which most people are lacking nowadays.
Fiber aids in constipation by softening the stool, making it easier to pass. Also, consuming a fiber-rich diet can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The fiber content of multigrain fibers varies from brand to brand, so check the nutrition label to find a cracker to help you reach your target fiber intake.
2. A good source of carbohydrates
Another benefit of multigrain crackers is that they are a good source of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are slowly broken down and absorbed by the body, which helps keep you feeling full and keep your blood sugar levels stable. If you’re looking for a healthier snack option, multigrain crackers are a good choice. Make sure they are not loaded with unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugar.
3. Great for weight loss
Multigrain and whole-grain crackers are excellent options for weight loss because of the complex carbohydrates it contains. These types of carbs are slowly digested, which can help you feel full for longer, allowing you to avoid extra snacking. Also, the fiber in crackers aids in weight loss by regulating digestion. If you’re keeping track of your carbohydrate intake, whole-grain crackers must be included in your diet. Sugar levels are usually low in these kinds of foods because they are high in fiber and healthy fats. If you want to take control of your weight, you may want to replace processed crackers with whole-grain varieties.
4. Comes with B Vitamins
You can boost your B vitamin intake from multigrain crackers. In general, B vitamins help you derive energy from your diet, converting nutrients from food to usable fuel to help keep you going throughout the day. Vitamin B1 helps regulate your appetite, while vitamin B3 can nourish the nervous system and help keep your skin healthy. Multigrain crackers also contain vitamin B6, which allows the body to produce healthy red blood cells.
5. Contains iron
Multigrain crackers are a good source of iron. Consuming enough of this mineral allows you to produce functional red blood cells, which your body relies on for oxygen transport. It helps your muscle cells store oxygen for later use. It also helps in energy production and DNA synthesis, which is an important part of cell growth.
Whole Grain Crackers: Are they Healthy?
Whole grain crackers typically use whole wheat flour and graham flour. Both of them have a coarse texture and are derived by grinding down wheat. Wheat is usually used to make whole-grain crackers.
Whole grains come with a number of phytonutrients and fibers in them, and these nutrients are lost when flour is refined to make white flour. To check whether a cracker is a whole grain, check the ingredients list and keep an eye on portion size.
Like multigrain crackers, whole grain varieties can be an excellent option for weight loss because they contain complex carbs. They have more nutritional value than other types of crackers. Since refined flour only uses the endosperm, which contains most of the carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals in the grain. Meanwhile, the germ that is present in whole grain crackers contains additional protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The bran contains fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. While crackers made of refined flour still contain nutrients, crackers made from whole grain have a more well-rounded nutritional profile.
How to Get the Most Health Benefits with Crackers
Choose multigrain crackers made of 100% whole grains to get excellent health benefits. Then, add flavor using nutritious toppings. Skip fatty spreads and cheese; instead, use natural spreads and toppings that don’t have added sugar and sodium.
Most of the time, high-fiber crackers are not as tasty as regular crackers. Some can be too dry to the taste, especially for those who are not used to the mouthfeel of whole grains. Here are healthy toppings to pair with multigrain or whole-grain crackers:
- Mashed hardboiled eggs with mayonnaise or bagel seasoning
- Sugar-free peanut butter
- Greek yogurt with sliced fruits
- Cocoa nibs
- Smoked salmon
- Mango salsa
- Fresh basil and tomato
Generally, high-fiber crackers are a healthier option compared to regular crackers made from refined flour. Whole grain and multigrain crackers are a great choice because they contain fibers and healthy nutrients our body needs. However, always look at the ingredient list and ensure it doesn’t have too much sugar or sodium. Also, you can make high-fiber crackers even more nutritious by pairing or topping them with healthy foods.