It’s Not a Party with­out Crack­ers

EatingWell - - MORSELS | AT THE MARKET -

Many of our fa­vorite cheeses just wouldn’t be the same with­out them. We left less-healthy op­tions in the cracker aisle and crunched through 20 nu­tri­tious fi­nal­ists to find the win­ners at right, plus these smart shop­ping tips.

Eye the Serv­ing Size

Most boxed crack­ers have a serv­ing size of about 30 grams—which can mean you get any­where from one to 40 crack­ers, de­pend­ing on how big they are. But we did find some as low as 11 grams. And a smaller por­tion like this may trick you into think­ing you’re choos­ing a low-calo­rie or low-sodium op­tion, but only be­cause you’re get­ting less food. Since most crack­ers don’t break the calo­rie bank—all our picks are un­der 140—you have room to put some­thing yummy on them. (Most cheeses have around 100 calo­ries per ounce, and we rec­om­mend keep­ing apps to 250 calo­ries.)

Watch Sodium & Su­gar

We spot­ted some va­ri­eties as high as 250 mg of sodium per serv­ing—10 per­cent of your daily rec­om­mended in­take. Add cheese (Ched­dar has 185 mg per ounce) and you’re at nearly 20 per­cent. We say: go for 180 mg sodium or less. Read la­bels for su­gar too. Do you re­ally need a sweet cracker? Aim to keep it un­der 2 g.

Go Whole

You know to check the fiber (we set our pa­ram­e­ter at a min­i­mum of 3 g), but also look at the in­gre­di­ents to make sure your cracker is made with whole-grains. We like to get prod­ucts that list them first, but if you want a cracker with a more neu­tral taste, opt for one that blends whole-and re­fined-grain flours. To find a gluten-free va­ri­ety that fits within our fiber rec­om­men­da­tions, seek out prod­ucts made with nuts, seeds and gluten-free whole grains.

<180mg >3g <2g

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