Sunday, 2 November 2008 | Tags:

An easy snack or the perfect stage for an appetizer, crackers are a handy staple to keep in the cupboard. We take a look at some different types, and check out just how healthy they are.

The Basics

  • There are many types of crackers ranging from savory to sweet, including saltines, crisp breads, cheese-flavoured and graham crackers.

  • To keep up with health trends, many cracker manufacturers have cut out trans fats and use whole grains:

    • If the box doesn’t say trans fat-free, check the ingredient list. Avoid products with hydrogenated oil (trans fats).

    • If it doesn’t say “whole” or “whole grain” on the box, it probably isn’t.

    • If it says “buttery”, “rich” or “flaky” on the box, it’s likely they are high in fat and calories.

  • Look for no more than 2 grams of fat per serving. If you’re at a party and can’t see the box, dab a napkin on the cracker. If it leaves a greasy spot, chances are it’s high in fat.

  • Sodium is usually added on top of the cracker, rather than in the cracker batter.

Other Considerations

  • Flavoured crackers (e.g. cheese, onion, or graham) typically have more calories, fat and sodium than plain crackers.

  • Check the serving size and gauge your intake: one serving is usually only around 4 crackers!

  • Once opened, your crackers start going stale immediately, so it’s important to keep them well-sealed.


For our series The Shopping Bags, we tested two ranges of crackers: some to satisfy the junior palate, and some more sophisticated choices. Our kid testers sampled these brand name crackers and compared to store brands:

  • Premium Plus: $3.60
  • vs. Safeway: $2.00
  • Ritz: $3.00
  • vs. President’s Choice: $2.50
  • Breton: $3.19
  • vs. Safeway’s Thin Wheat: $2.29

Our tests and results include:

Kids’ Taste Test

  • The brand name crackers were preferred unanimously in each category.

Our adult testers sampled these different brands of lower fat crisp breads:

  • Wasa: $3.39
  • Ryvita Multi Grain: $3.25
  • Kavli Whole Grain: $2.70
  • Siljans Whole Rye: $3.49

Our tests and results include:

Adults’ Taste Test

  • The Ryvita was too birdseed-like, and had next to no flavour.
  • Wasa was lowest in fat, and also lowest in flavour.
  • Kavli was everyone’s favourite in flavour and nutrition.


For kids, the brand names won out over the generics. For the adults, the healthier crisp bread favourite was the Kavli Whole Grain for its complementary flavour and nutrition.

Thanks to Our Experts

Jonathan Chovancek, chef

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