Crackers are one of the most versatile foods we can have in our pantries. You can eat them with dips, cheese, topped with fruits, cucumber, crumbled into soup, and whatever else your taste buds may crave. They’re also very convenient; you can keep a pack in your desk drawer, car, or handbag, and they will stay there perfectly fresh until you’re ready to eat them.
Yet most crackers don’t seem to come with healthy ingredients or offer nutritional value. Many of the products found in the stores are manufactured with processed grains, have little fibre, and are high in sodium. Yet, this does not require you to completely cut out these snacks from your diet.
When chosen wisely, crackers can be a healthy way to add a wholegrain serving to your diet. Furthermore, eating them with healthy toppings like hummus, cheese, olives, smoked salmon, and peanut butter can help you maintain a healthy diet. However, finding healthy crackers in the supermarket’s snack aisle is easier said than done.
How To Choose Healthy Crackers?
To find healthy crackers, you’ll want to check out the side panel of the box, not the front, which can contain confusing marketing claims like “all-natural” or ” real ingredients”. Here is what you should look for to ensure you ingest snacks that are good for your health.
Higher Fibre Content
If you’re looking to increase your daily fibre intake, take a look at the number of grams of fibre in your cracker. Consuming fibre is known to make you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer. According to research, people who consume a high-fibre diet are more likely to eat less in the hours following a meal or snack.
While checking the Nutrition Fact label, look for the words “whole grain”, which should be listed as one of the first items in the ingredient list. Other ingredients you’ll want to be listed are vegetables, nuts and seeds. Nowadays it isn’t hard to find cracker options containing great amounts of fibre, protein and healthy fats. Some contain cruciferous vegetables like kale and cauliflower as well as root vegetables like cassava. Avocado-based crackers are a good option if you are looking to consume fewer carbohydrates.
Added Seeds Are A Great Thing
I’m not referring to products that have sesame or poppy seeds on top. Try to find crackers that are mostly or entirely made of seeds, such as flax, sunflower, pumpkin, and others. These seeds contain good fats, fibre, and protein and tend to be free of gluten. Look for products that include seeds or are made entirely with them.
Added Fruit Doesn’t Mean Healthier
Toasted fruit crisps, due to their brown colour, may look whole grain, but they’re often made with white flour. Most also contain added sugars, which can be up to 1.5 teaspoons per serving. You’ll want your crackers to be made with whole-grain and with fewer added sugars as possible.
Be Aware Of High Sodium Levels
Aim to choose packs with low sodium levels. After all, controlling your sodium intake plays an important role in living a healthy lifestyle.
What Do Gluten-Free Crackers Offer You?
Gluten-free crackers are made from gluten-free ingredients, like potato, tapioca or cassava. However, these ingredients don’t offer much nutrition. For instance, potato and tapioca starches contain 0 grams of fibre. Snacks made with nut flour or non-wheat whole grains are a better choice, including those made with brown rice and corn.
Healthy Toppings to Try
The following are some delicious alternatives for healthier, more filling toppings and dips to try with your favourite cracker.
- Mediterranean – A simple snack or starter with your preferred hummus, feta cheese and diced olives.
- Avocado on Toast– Take this recipe to an elevated crispy level by spreading some guacamole on a cracker.
- Fruit and Cheese – Combine sliced Gouda with sliced apples and top them with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Feel free to substitute Gouda for your favourite cheese and apples for pears.
- Prosciutto and Cheese – Anyone will fall in love with this salty and sweet combination of whipped cream cheese, prosciutto slices, and honey.
- Salmon and Lox – Use a cracker instead of the bagel. Then spread cream cheese on it and add sliced salmon. If you have capers, add them for a special touch.
- Peanut Butter and Banana – This is an old combo loved by anyone that will go great with your crackers. You can also use Nutella to substitute the peanut butter and strawberries instead of the banana. This can be a great snack for those who have a sweet tooth.
Tips For Eating Your Snacks Mindfully
If you really enjoy these snacks, it might be helpful to adopt a mindful or intuitive eating approach. This means storing them in a suitable manner and taking the time to appreciate each bite.
Store Them Away
If you choose to keep your snacks on the counter, even though they are not on your mind, you are more likely to grab them when you need a snack. If they are stored away, you are more likely to consider whether a piece of fruit or some raw veggies could be more satisfying.
Keep Snacks In Their Original Containers
If you remove the food from its original package and discard it, the nutrition information label will be gone. By keeping your snacks in their original packaging, you can easily calculate things like serving size and fibre content. As a result, to keep your crackers fresh, keep them in the original box, sealed in a plastic bag.
Enjoy Your Food
Finally, when you want some snacks, put them on a plate with your favourite healthy topping and eat one serving. Chew slowly to appreciate the flavours and textures of the crackers. Choosing the ideal snack requires making it an experience that will improve enjoyment.