Crackers have a healthier image than chips, but many don’t deserve it. Who needs those refined carbs?
But not these crackers. They’re 100 percent whole grain (or seeds) and delish. Many go light on salt, so there’s room to add cheese, hummus, labne, nut butter, etc.
Why we’re wild about rye crackers
Trying to load up on intact fiber from whole grains and other plant foods? Say hi to rye!
Four Finn Crisp Original Sourdough Rye Thins deliver six grams of whole-grain rye fiber—20 percent of a day’s worth—for just 80 calories and 140 milligrams of sodium.
Crispy Finn Thins are tasty enough to eat plain. For a thicker cracker, try Wasa Light Rye or Whole Grain Crispbread. Cue the toppings!
Crispbreads jam-packed with seeds
“These are really seedy, really crunchy, savory flats made for us in Norway,” says Trader Joe’s Seeds & Grains Crispbread.
Nordic countries do crackers right. They’re bread stand-ins.
The flats are studded with good stuff like whole sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds, plus whole grains like rye flour and oatmeal, and intact fibers like oat bran and wheat bran.
Joe’s Gluten Free Crispbread (no wheat or rye) comes close. Also gluten-free: Whole Foods 365 Oat & Seed Crispbreads, which are heavy on the oats and flax seeds.
For a little sweetness, try GG Raisin & Honey Scandinavian Fiber Crispbread (oats, wheat bran, sunflower and flax seeds, raisins, honey, and whole wheat).
Seek out shredded wheats
It’s hard to go wrong with Triscuits (or a Triscuit knockoff).
They’re whole-grain shredded wheat, not flour. That’s rare in the sea of white flour and “made with whole grain” impostors.
Bonus: no added sugar! (A serving of Wheat Thins has 1 teaspoon.) And Hint of Sea Salt Triscuits have just 50 mg of sodium per serving. Win-win.
Slashing grains? Say hello to flax.
Many “grain-free” crackers contain some fiber-poor, protein-poor starches (tapioca, potato, etc.).
A big step up: seeds.
Sea Salt Flackers are just flax seeds, vinegar, and salt. The seeds are soaked, then dehydrated, so they’re surprisingly crispy. And you get good fats and plant protein (6 grams in 10 flackers), not refined starch.
They are a bit salty (260 mg of sodium) and pricey ($6 for 5 oz.), though. For seeds plus brown rice and quinoa, try Mary’s Gone Crackers or Super Seed Crackers.
Rice thins: whole grain and gluten-free
Need to avoid gluten or cut salt? Lundberg Organic Lightly Salted Brown Rice Thin Stackers to the rescue. A stack of four has just 70 mg of sodium and 110 calories.
Even lower in sodium (30 mg) is a six-thin, 110-calorie serving of Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Cake Thins.
A beary good graham cracker
Graham crackers’ namesake flour comes from whole-grain wheat. The irony? Many brands—like Honey Maid and Nabisco—add more (refined) “enriched flour” than graham flour. That’s why Kodiak’s fully whole-grain Cinnamon (or Chocolate or Honey) Graham Bear Bites are a find. Mmm.
Just don’t kid yourself. A 15-graham serving still has 1½ teaspoons of added sugar. Bottom line: Even whole-grain graham crackers are closer to cookies than crackers.
Photos: Greg Jeanneau/unsplash.com, Finn Crisp, Lindsay Moyer/CSPI, Triscuit, Dr. In The Kitchen LLC, Lundberg, Lindsay Moyer/CSPI.
Nutrition Action doesn’t accept any paid advertising or corporate or government donations. Any products recommended by Nutrition Action have been vetted by our staff and are not advertisements by the manufacturers. The information in this post first appeared in the September 2021 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.
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