Walk into the biscuit aisle of the supermarket and you’ll see an endless array of colourful packages for crackers and crispbreads, with many claiming to be ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’.
But which one is the healthiest, and what should we be searching for when shopping?
Start by looking for the word wholegrain on packets. A cracker made with wholegrains is a lower GI, higher in fibre option which will be more filling – meaning we need less to stave of those hunger pangs.
How to much fibre should we be looking for? Look at the nutritional information panel and aim for a fibre content higher than 6 grams per 100 grams.
When it comes to what we should be avoiding in crispbreads, steer clear of those with a high fat content – and in particular, saturated fat. Some crackers are made with butter or lots of oil, making them high in fat and saturated fat – so avoid anything that contains more than 2.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams.
There is, however, an exception to this fat content rule.
Bear in mind that some crackers that contain grains may appear to be higher in fat, but because these are our good, heart healthy fats, we want these in our diet. So use the saturated fat panel as a guide since we want to be eating less of these fats.
Salt content is also something we should be wary of when choosing a healthy crispbread. Look for something ideally less than 120 milligrams per 100 grams.
Now that we know all the important constituents of healthy crispbreads – out of seven popular crispbreads and crackers, which one is best and worst?
The top three crispbreads:
- Arnott’s Vita-Weat 100% Natural 9 Grains
- Ryvita Multi-Grain Wholegrain Rye Crispbread
- Sun Rice Original Thick Rice Cakes – (eat with some kind of protein, as they are a higher GI, so pair with a protein food to help sustain energy levels.
The three unhealthiest crispbreads:
- Arnott’s Cruskits Original
- Arnott’s Sao
- Arnott’s Salada Original
1. Arnott’s Vita-Weat 100% Natural 9 Grains
Pros: Low in saturated fat, very high in fibre and contain a variety of grains (so more nutrients)
Cons: It is a good option, so no cons
2. Ryvita Multi-Grain Wholegrain Rye Crispbread
Pros: They are wholegrain, high in fibre, low in fat and low in saturated fat
Cons: Again, it is a good option, so no cons!
3. Sun Rice Original Thick Rice Cakes
Pros: They are 100% wholegrain, low in saturated fat and low in sodium.
Cons: Rice cakes can have a high GI (that is, they are broken down quickly), so eat these with some kind of protein to sustain energy levels
4. Real Foods Corn Thins Original
Pros: These are low in saturated fat and high in fibre.
Cons: However, they are made with white/refined flour, are high GI and don’t have as much nutrition as some of the other crackers- so eat with some kind of protein food to keep you full
5. Arnott’s Salada Original
Pros: Salada is low in saturated fat and high in fibre.
Cons: High in sodium and made with white/refined flour.
6. Arnott’s Sao
Pros: No pros that I can see
Cons: High in fat, saturated fat and sodium, and lower in fibre than the other crackers so they’re not as filling.
7. Arnott’s Cruskits Original
Pros: No pros that I can see!
Cons: Very high in fat (due to the butter) and high in sodium.
- Low fat ricotta, sliced strawberries/kiwis/mango, topped with walnuts and cinnamon is a favourite
- Almond butter, banana coins and a sprinkle of mixed spice
- Tahini, a drizzle of honey and thinly sliced apple
- Avocado, sliced tomato and cracked pepper
- Small tin of tuna
- Low fat hummus, sliced cucumbers and a slice of lean protein like chicken
- Salsa, sliced red onion and a sprinkle of feta
What other foods or products do you want to see a guide on?
(Adapted from an interview I did with the Huffington Post found here)