Good tasting crackers that offer health benefits

Posted at 6:31 PM, May 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-06 18:31:34-04

Cruise the cracker aisle these days, and you’ll see that competition is really heating up for your snack dollars. Sure the old favorites remain, but now there are lower-fat siblings and store-brand twins—not to mention newer flavors. Consumer Reports can tell you which are worth trying.

Experts at Consumer Reports crunched the nutrition numbers for 30 crackers and found that some healthier-sounding ones may not be. Keebler Club Multi-Grain and Milton’s Original Multi-Grain scored just fair for nutrition and have no fiber at all.

But don’t despair, a healthier cracker doesn’t have to taste like sawdust. Among five newer crackers that offer better nutrition, three tasted very good. The best of the bunch? Kashi Original Seven Grain Sea Salt Pita crisps. They scored best for nutrition, and sensory panelists found they were tasty, with a definite crunch.

The two other very tasty crackers offer pretty good nutrition. The Original Multi-Seed from Crunchmaster is a gluten-free rice cracker with a little crunch. And the Pepperidge Farm Jingos! Lime and Sweet Chili have a unique seasoning mix that packs a little heat.

Prefer old favorites such as Triscuits, Ritz, and Saltines? Know that most less-expensive store brands held their own in the tests. Most were not only less expensive but also tasted almost the same.

The exception was Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value Organic wheat squares. They couldn’t pass for Wheat Thins. But all in all, there are plenty of good cracker choices to dip into.

Consumer Reports also says don’t hesitate to try reduced-fat versions of oldies but goodies, such as Ritz, Triscuits, and Wheat Thins. Testers found that they often tasted similar to their full-fat siblings.