Crackers are often marketed as a healthy snack, yet most are highly processed, packed with sugar, sodium, unhealthy fats, artificial flavors and other harmful compounds. They typically come wrapped in plastic and frequently contain a long list of unrecognizable ingredients.
What are the worst offenders?
Pepperidge Farm Giant Goldfish Buttery Flavor Baked Snack Crackers
Many people see the word “baked” and automatically assume healthy. Plus the package brags that they’re also trans fat free, so that’s good, right? These are a classic kids’ favorite but fall in at number one when it comes to the worst snack crackers for health.
Reviewing the ingredients, one certainly stands out: partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening. This means that despite the fact that the nutrition statement shows no trans fat and the package is even labeled trans fat free, it’s simply not true.
Due to labeling laws, food manufacturers are not required to list trans fats if they contain .5 grams or less. Unfortunately, any amount of this ingredient is not considered safe – and eating small amounts can quickly become a significant amount over time, causing great harm to your health.
These cute little fish crackers are also swimming in sodium with 300 milligrams per serving. They contain sugar in various forms with the ingredient list displaying sugar invert, sugar, dextrose, malt syrup and malted barley.
Goldfish are also quite damaging to your teeth. You may have noticed that when eating Goldfish, as well as many other crackers, they become sticky in your mouth as you chew them. This creates an ideal environment for harmful bacteria. When the “goo” gets stuck between your teeth, the bacteria have a feast and multiply beyond the proper balance in your mouth which can destroy the enamel.
Quaker Crisp’ums Baked Crisps – Blueberry
These “crisps” sound like they might be a healthy choice, but they are far from it – and also ranked as one of the worst crackers you can indulge in. They contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil – which means they also contain .5 grams or less of dangerous trans fats. The crackers are packed with various forms of sugar, including barley malt, dextrose, fructose, maltodextrin and corn syrup solids.
But that’s not all. These allegedly good-for-you crackers also contain artificial flavors and colors, including some of the worst offenders that have been banned in many European countries– Blue 1, Red 3 and Yellow 6.
There are a long list of diseases and illness related to artificial colors including hyperactivity in children, a number of cancers, asthma, skin rashes, stomach upset, an inability to focus, severe allergic reactions and more.
Keebler Toasted Buttercrisp Crackers
The best thing that can be said about these crackers is that the ingredient list is a bit shorter compared to the first two products. Unfortunately, they also contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil which means they also have trans fat.
In addition, these crackers contain processed sugar in the form of corn syrup which should also be avoided.
The bottom line when it comes to crackers is that you’d be hard pressed to truly find a healthy version on store shelves.
Those that are graded the healthiest by Food Facts tend to contain whole wheat which has been genetically modified over the years and can stimulate appetite as well as causing a number of health issues. Gluten-free crackers are often processed and contain unhealthy ingredients.
Your best bet is to make your own crackers at home if they’re something you really can’t live without. If you’re so inclined, consider this recipe for a healthy version:
Healthy Snack Crackers
- 2 cups whole, unbalanced organic almonds
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- ¼ cup unflavored whey protein
- 2 large organic eggs
- 3 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil**
** You can also use organic coconut oil for this recipe. If you use organic extra-virgin olive oil be sure that the smoke point is above 250 degrees F.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Process almonds and salt in a food processor until coarsely ground; add the whey protein and mix until smooth.
- Next add the eggs and oil and mix again, until smooth.
- Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and then place another piece of the parchment paper on top of the dough.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough as thin as possible.
- Remove the top layer of paper and cut the dough into squares with a pizza cutter or a knife.
- Place into the oven and baked for 50 to 60 minutes.
- Remove and cool completely. Break along the pre-cut lines and enjoy.
Now you’ve got a delicious tasting cracker without the worries of harming your health!
-The Alternative Daily