By Nutritionist, Melissa Fine.
Ever find yourself intending to have a handful of crackers as a snack but five minutes later you’ve eaten half the bag? This can be avoided if you choose the right cracker.…
Here’s what to look for in a healthy cracker:
1. Real ingredients
A good-for-you cracker contains nothing but plant-based ingredients you’d find at the farmers market or in your fridge or pantry; Think vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Look for brands like ‘dried not fried’ gluten free Flats by Fine Fettle; Their Zucchini Almond flavour has a zucchini content of 68%, plus almonds, flaxseed, lemon juice, garlic and thyme.
On the other hand, a typical commercial cracker is made from refined wheat flour, alongside ingredients you’re unlikely to have on hand at home, like milk solids, yeast and emulsifier E322.
2. No refined flour or sugar
Crackers are meant to be savoury, not sweet, yet so many commercial crackers contain white flour and sugar. This largely explains why they can be so addictive, as these highly processed ingredients can make our blood sugar spike and then quickly fall, so we constantly feel peckish.
Try wholesome crackers like Flats instead; Full of fibre, flavour and chew, plus some protein and healthy fats, you might just find you feel satisfied after three or four of these…Top with hummus, tahini or almond butter for a delicious, balanced snack.
3. Zero vegetable oil (AKA canola/sunflower/soybean oil):
Although vegetable oil sounds healthy, it’s actually not and unfortunately is commonly found in many packaged crackers with a long shelf life. I could dedicate a whole article to what’s wrong with vegetable oil, but in a nutshell, it can undergo ‘hydrogenation’ (thickening) during food processing, whereby its polyunsaturated fats becoming undesirable trans fats in the process. It’s also high in omega-6 fats, which the typical Western diet is too high in; Although omega-6 fats are essential, when consumed in a higher ratio to omega-3 fats (found in foods like oily fish and linseed), it can encourage inflammatory processes.
Trying to cut down on vegetable oils but don’t want to give up your cracker and brie? There are now crackers on the market that are vegetable oil free; Flats contain only the natural oils inherent in nuts and omega-3 rich linseeds, so no added oil is necessary.
Fine Fettle Flats™ are real veggies and fruit that have been squished flat into tasty snacks. Uniquely, they are dried (rather than baked or fried) – which helps maintain their nutritional goodness. Flats are loaded with fresh Australian produce, and free from added nasties like preservatives, oil and gluten. This handy single serve pack is perfectly portioned and passes Nutrition Australia’s healthy snacking guidelines. www.finefettle.com.au