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Choosing good crackers

Let’s be honest, choosing good crackers at the grocery is a real challenge. Through all the publicity and the labels claiming all sorts of nutritional qualities, it’s not surprising how confusing things can get!

However, even if it is written “multigrain” on a box of crackers, oftentimes the product does not contain any more fiber than the original version. Indeed, “multigrain” only means that the product was made out of many different grains, for example rye, barley, or oats, instead of only wheat. Most crackers on the market can be more easily likened to buttered and salted white bread than to a healthy side dish. So, how can we make a healthy choice, will you ask me?

We need to use our critical mind, take the box in our hands, and… read the ingredients list, and then the nutritional chart. It is essential to know that the ingredients list is written in descending order of weight. This means that the first ingredient is the one present in most quantity. Look for products that contain whole grains, ideally as a first ingredient. Their presence means a higher nutritional value, because whole grains provide more fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. This will also make the cracker more filling.

On the nutritional chart, we have to check the fat content to avoid a product with too much of it, the sodium content to limit the salt, as well as the fibers content.

Here is what we should be looking for in 20 g of crackers:

Fats: less than 3 g
Saturated fat: less than 1,5 g
Trans fat: 0g
Sodium: less than 150 mg
Fiber: more than 2 g

For example, a product with this label would pass the test.

Some examples of good choices would be Ryvita, Melba 12 grains, Kavli, Kashi, and “Bon Grains”, among others.

And you, what are your favourite crackers?

Bon appétit!

By Marilyne Petitclerc

Marilyne Petitclerc

Holder of a degree in nutrition from Université Laval, Marilyne has worked as a nutritionist for Nautilus Plus since 2010. Passionate about healthy eating and sports nutrition, she also gives lectures and hosts cooking workshops. With her clients, Marilyne makes extensive use of the instinct diet approach and the Mediterranean diet model. Furthermore, she has attended classes on live nutrition at the Hippocrates Health Institute. Maryline ran the Quebec City Marathon des Deux Rives - Half Marathon in 2010 and 2012. She also took part in the Staircase Challenge, another event held in Quebec City in June 2012. Marilyne also plays in an Ultimate Frisbee league and trains regularly at the Nautilus Plus branch where she is employed.

Choosing good crackers is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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