How to choose large crackers
HFG senior nutritionist Rose Carr looks at the cracker options available.
Bored with bread? Cutting back on kilojoules? Looking for more gluten-free options? There are many reasons you may want an easy alternative to the bread-based sandwich, and you can choose from the variety of crispbreads, rice cakes and meal-sized crackers available.
Most crispbreads, rice cakes and meal-sized crackers are within our recommended 1800kJ or less per 100g, so there’s plenty to choose from. If you are watching your weight, some of these are very lightweight and therefore low in energy (kilojoules) for a serve. For example: two Healtheries Wholegrain Rice Grain Wafers weigh only 12.4g with 190kJ; or 2 Ryvita Pumpkin Seed and Oat Rye Crispbreads weigh 25g with 393kJ.
In our ideal world, these products would have 5g or more fibre per 100g as a minimum, and higher-fibre products would have 10g or more fibre per 100g. Unfortunately, many have less than we would like. This could be a problem if we used a lower-fibre rice cake insteadof wholegrain bread on a regular basis, as we would be consuming a lot less fibre in the rice cakes. Most of us need more, not less fibre in our diets, so we would need to make sure we were getting our fibre elsewhere.
Ideally aim for 500mg or less sodium per 100g. Many products are within this range, and 800mg or less sodium per 100g is still not too bad. Avoid anything higher.
As for standard crackers, we recommend products with 1g saturated fat or less per 100g, and up to 2g saturated fat per 100g is OK. Generally, saturated fat is not a problem in these products.
Wheat, rye and barley all contain gluten, but rice and corn don’t, so many rice cakes and corn thins will be gluten-free.
If you have coeliac disease and have to exclude all gluten from your diet, however, make sure the product is labelled as gluten-free or check to make sure there are no gluten-containing ingredients.