From genius carb cutter bread crisps to ancient oatcakes, we reveal our guide to the best crackers for healthy snackers
Having a couple of crackers with cheese or dips may seem innocent enough.
But these moreish savouries can add hundreds of calories as well as a substantial amount of fat and salt to your diet.
There are now many ‘healthy’ versions on the market but do they offer any real nutritional benefit?
Here, dietitian Kajsa Ernestam of healthy lifestyle app Lifesum assesses 12 popular options. We then rated them.
A little dry, lifted by herby onion notes
Rakusen’s 99% Herb and Onion Crackers
150g, 75p, ocado.com
Per 100g: Calories, 360; saturated fat, 0.2g; sugar, 2.5g; salt, 1.4g; fibre, 3.9g
EXPERT VERDICT: Made of wheat flour, water, herbs, onion powder and salt, these have an exceptionally low saturated fat content — just 0.2g per 100g.
They also contain just 18 calories per cracker biscuit. However, they have the highest carbohydrate content of all those tested — 82.6g per 100g — gram for gram, almost double that of sliced white bread, which, as carbohydrates digest down to sugar, is of note if you are keeping an eye on blood sugar levels. Three crackers also provide just 2 per cent of your daily fibre needs.
TASTE: A little dry, lifted by herby onion notes.
Rude Health Buckwheat and Chia Crackers
Gluten-free, these are just 96 per cent buckwheat
150g, £2.49, waitrose.com
Per 100g: Calories, 388; saturated fat, 1.2g; sugar, 2.5g; salt, 0.04g; fibre, 15g
EXPERT VERDICT: Gluten-free, these are just 96 per cent buckwheat — which has been ‘puffed’ to a rice cake-like texture — and chia seeds.
Buckwheat is a good source of manganese, important for enzyme production and metabolism. Chia seeds are a source of heart-friendly omega 3 fatty acids. High in fibre, just three of these provide over a tenth of your recommended daily intake, almost a third more than you’d get in a medium slice of wholemeal bread.
TASTE: A slightly bland, nutty rice cake.
Raw Health Flax Pumpkin Crackers
The saturated fat level and calories are quite high
90g, £4.99, ocado.com
Per 100g: Calories, 553; saturated fat, 5g; sugar, 3g; salt, 1.9g; fibre, 25g
EXPERT VERDICT: The ingredients here haven’t been heated over 42c, which the maker says ‘ensures the health giving nutrients and enzymes stay alive’.
While more nutrients are preserved if foods are eaten raw, these ingredients would still be nutritious if they were baked. Flax seeds are a good source of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to heart health. Pumpkin seeds provide iron and bone-building calcium. One cracker has 5.6g fibre, almost a fifth of your daily needs.
But the saturated fat level and calories are quite high.
TASTE: A strong onion flavour.
Jacob’s High Fibre Cream Crackers
Made with white rather than wholegrain flour
200g, £1.19, most supermarkets.
Per 100g: Calories, 463; saturated fat, 6.1g; sugar, 1.6g; salt, 1.7g; fibre, 7.4g
EXPERT VERDICT: Made with white rather than wholegrain flour. The fibre has been added in the form of inulin, a vegetable fibre that encourages healthy gut and bowel function, pea fibre and wheat bran.
Three crackers give you 5 per cent of your recommended daily intake of fibre: many of the other products here offer substantially more. High in saturated fat, three crackers will give you 1.2g, the amount in around half a teaspoon of butter. There’s also a moderate amount of salt — three crackers provide 5 per cent of the RDA.
TASTE: A flavoursome, albeit salty, cream cracker.
Genius Carb Cutter Bread Crisps
Pack of five, £2, sainsburys.co.uk
Per 100g: Calories, 514; saturated fat, 3.4g; sugar 1.7g; salt, 0.8g; fibre, 19g
There’s 2g of fibre in one crispbread — 6.5 per cent of the recommended daily intake
EXPERT VERDICT: These contain chicory root inulin, a vegetable fibre that encourages healthy gut and bowel function.
There’s 2g of fibre in one crispbread — 6.5 per cent of the recommended daily intake. The addition of protein-rich sunflower seeds, linseeds and sesame seeds give these crispbreads half the carbohydrates of similar products and 3.9g protein in each slice — almost that of a boiled egg — to keep you feeling fuller for longer. The seeds and rapeseed oil provide heart healthy fats. Bigger than other crackers — one provides 123 calories.
TASTE: Heavily seeded with a biscuity texture.
Thomas Fudge’s Chickpea and Sesame Flatbreads
These contain chickpea and lentil flours
140g, £1.39, tesco.com
Per 100g: Calories, 439; saturated fat, 1.3g; sugar, 2.7g; salt, 1.2g; fibre, 7g
EXPERT VERDICT: These contain chickpea and lentil flours, both good sources of iron, needed to manufacture red blood cells. The seeds are a source of bone-building calcium and magnesium and heart-friendly fatty acids.
Four will give you approximately 2.6g fibre — almost 9 per cent of your recommended daily intake. However the carbohydrate content is quite high — 57g per 100g — about the same proportion you’d find in a Victoria sponge.
TASTE: Powdery, aromatic cumin flavour.
Ryvita Protein Red Quinoa and Sesame
Made with 80 per cent rye flour plus added pea protein these are topped with red quinoa and sesame seeds
200g, from £1, most supermarkets.
Per 100g: Calories, 368; saturated fat, 0.8g; sugar, 1.9g; salt, 0.7g; fibre, 14.1g
EXPERT VERDICT: Made with 80 per cent rye flour plus added pea protein these are topped with red quinoa and sesame seeds. Studies suggest rye may have positive effects on blood sugar levels and appetite.
With the highest protein content per 100g of all the products we looked at (thanks to the pea protein and quinoa) — three of these will give you 6.3g — the equivalent of a large egg. Each also contains almost a fifth of the daily recommended fibre intake. The second lowest salt content of all the products that we looked at, they are also very low in fat.
TASTE: Very tasty with a light crisp texture.
Peter’s Yard Sourdough Charcoal and Rye
The wholegrain and rye supply almost a gram of fibre in three small crackers
90g, £2.36, ocado.com
Per 100g: Calories, 381; saturated fat, 2.9g; sugar, 6.5g; salt, 1.9g; fibre, 10.9g
EXPERT VERDICT: Containing rye flour, wheat flour, sourdough and wholemeal flour, this has a relatively high carbohydrate count — 77.1g per 100g — and gram per gram that’s more than custard creams. The wholegrain and rye supply almost a gram of fibre in three small crackers — 3 per cent of the recommended daily intake.
Sourdough has been shown to increase the mineral uptake from foods. The small amount of charcoal here adds flavour and colour.
TASTE: Delicious with a slightly smoky note.
Millers Harvest Three-Nut Crackers
125g, £2.30, ocado.com
A combination of wholemeal flour, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts
Per 100g: Calories, 483; saturated fat, 2g; sugar, 3.3g; salt, 2.6g; fibre, 13g
EXPERT VERDICT: A combination of wholemeal flour, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. Almonds are a good source of bone-strengthening calcium, hazelnuts are a good source of folate, linked to heart health, while walnuts offer useful amounts of heart-friendly fats.
On the downside, these have the highest salt content of all the biscuits here — 0.8g in a quarter of a pack — and gram per gram are quite high in calories compared to others.
TASTE: Roasted nutty flavour.
Angelic Gluten Free Sea Salt Biscuits
Gram for gram, they have the lowest calorie count of the crackers here
150g, £2.65, hollandandbarrett.com
Per 100g: Calories, 320; saturated fat, 6g; sugar, 5g; salt, 1g; fibre, 2g
EXPERT VERDICT: Dairy, egg and gluten-free, these are made with gluten-free flour, margarine, rolled oats, sugar and flavourings.
Gram for gram, they have the lowest calorie count of the crackers here — with just 76 in a four biscuit serving. The margarine makes these high in saturated fat however — you’ll get 1.3g — 6.5 per cent of the recommended daily maximum for a woman in a serving.
These have the lowest fibre and protein content of the products we looked at.
TASTE: Crumbly, with a caramelised onion tang.
M&S Salt and Pepper Lentil Crackers
Like most biscuits, these offer a substantial amount of carbohydrate
Per 100g: Calories, 410; saturated fat, 3.8g; sugar, 5g; salt, 1.23g; fibre, 3.3g
EXPERT VERDICT: Gluten-free these contain lentil, maize, pea and rice flours as well as potato starch, milk and whey proteins — and some added sugar.
Like most biscuits, these offer a substantial amount of carbohydrate — 66g per 100g — but the effect on blood sugars is reduced by protein from the pulse flours and dairy proteins. A sixth of a pack gives you 4.6g protein — about the same as a small boiled egg. Lentils are a good source of folate, important for the manufacture of red blood cells.
TASTE: Very crisp with a strong herby aftertaste.
Nairn’s Ancient Grain Oatcakes
Oatcakes with grains rye, amaranth and quinoa, plus vegetable oils
200g, £1.40, sainsburys.co.uk
Per 100g: Calories, 444; saturated fat, 3.9g; sugar, 1.3g; salt, 1.43g; fibre 8.8g
EXPERT VERDICT: Oatcakes with grains rye, amaranth and quinoa, plus vegetable oils.
Oats are an excellent source of soluble fibre which helps steady blood sugar and lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. Gram for gram these offer about the same amount of protein as eggs.
The grains provide phosphorous and manganese, important for metabolism. Two of these will provide 1.4g fibre — just under 5 per cent of the recommended daily intake.
TASTE: A robust, oaty flavour.
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