Which Of These Popular Crispbreads Is The Healthiest?

23/02/2016 6:16 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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HuffPost Australia

Walk into the biscuit aisle of the supermarket and you're bound to see an endless stream of colourful crackers and crispbreads, many claiming to be 'healthy' and 'natural'.

But which one of these crispbreads is the healthiest, and what should we be searching for when shopping?

“Looking for the word 'wholegrain' is a good start,” accredited practising dietitian Sanchia Parker told The Huffington Post Australia.

“Any cracker made with wholegrains is going to be lower GI, higher in fibre and therefore more filling -- meaning we need less to keep us full,” Parker said.

To tell if a crispbread product has enough fibre, Parker advises to look at the nutritional information panel and aim for fibre content that is more than six grams per 100 grams.

When it comes to what we should be avoiding in crispbreads, Parker recommends steering clear of those with a high fat content -- and in particular, saturated fat.

“Some crackers are made with butter or lots of oil, making them high in fat and saturated fat -- so avoid anything that contains more than 2.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams,” Parker said.

There is, however, an exception to this fat content rule.

“Bear in mind that some crackers that contain grains may appear to be higher in fat, but because these are our good, heart healthy fats, we want these in our diet,” Parker said. “Go by checking the saturated fat, as this is the one we want to have less of.”

Salt content is also something we should be wary of when choosing a healthy crispbread.

“Also avoid anything that's too high in sodium -- look for something ideally less than 120 milligrams per 100 grams.”

Now that we know all the important constituents of healthy crispbreads -- out of these seven popular crispbreads and crackers, which one is best and worst?

The top three crispbreads according to Parker:

  1. Arnott's Vita-Weat 100% Natural 9 Grains
  2. Ryvita Multi-Grain Wholegrain Rye Crispbread
  3. Sun Rice Original Thick Rice Cakes -- "If eaten with a source of protein as they are a higher GI, so paired with a protein food will help sustain energy levels," Parker said.

The three unhealthiest crispbreads according to Parker:

  1. Arnott's Cruskits Original
  2. Arnott's Sao
  3. Arnott's Salada Original



1. Arnott’s Vita-Weat 100% Natural 9 Grains

vitaweat

First three ingredients: Wholegrain wheat, oil, salt.

Pros: "Low in saturated fat, very high in fibre and contain a variety of grains (so more nutrients)," Parker said.

Cons: “It’s a good option, so no cons,” Parker said.



2. Ryvita Multi-Grain Wholegrain Rye Crispbread

ryvita

First three ingredients: Wholegrain rye flour, toasted seeds and grains, salt.

Pros: "They are wholegrain, high in fibre, low in fat and low in saturated fat," Parker said.

Cons: “Again, it’s a pretty good option, so no cons!”



3. Sun Rice Original Thick Rice Cakes

rice cakes

First three ingredients: 100% Wholegrain brown rice.

Pros: "They are 100% wholegrain, low in saturated fat and low in sodium," Parker said.

Cons: “Rice cakes can have a high GI (that is, they are broken down quickly), so eat these with protein to sustain energy levels,” Parker said.



4. Real Foods Corn Thins Original

corn thins

First three ingredients: Maize, sunflower oil, salt.

Pros: "These are low in saturated fat and high in fibre," Parker said.

Cons: “However, they are made with white/refined flour, are high GI and don't have as much nutrition as some of the other crackers-- so eat with a protein to keep you full,” Parker said.



5. Arnott’s Salada Original

salada

First three ingredients: Wheat flour, vegetable oil, salt.

Pros: "Salada is low in saturated fat and high in fibre, "Parker said.

Cons: "However, they're high in sodium and made with white/refined flour."



6. Arnott’s Sao

sao

First three ingredients: Wheat flour, vegetable oil, salt.

Pros: “No pros that I can see,” Parker said.

Cons: “They are high in fat, saturated fat and sodium, and lower in fibre than the other crackers so they're not as filling,” Parker said.



7. Arnott’s Cruskits Original

cruskits

First three ingredients: Wheat flour, rye flour, butter.

Pros: “Again, no pros that I can see!” Parker said.

Cons: “Very high in fat (due to the butter) and high in sodium.”



popular crispbreads

Now we know which crispbreads to eat and avoid, the next question you’re probably thinking is how many is considered one serving for a snack -- followed by some healthy, delicious toppings ideas.

“Three crispbreads is considered one serve of grain food -- the average adult needs between four and six serves of grain a day -- and this is an ideal amount for a snack,” Parker said.

Toppings

“You want to have protein with the higher GI crispbreads as otherwise they will break down really quickly and you’ll get hungry again -- eventually meaning that you will eat more crispbreads in the end,” Parker told HuffPost Australia.

Protein sources include tuna, chicken breast, boiled egg, tinned chicken, hummus and low-fat cheese.

“My favourite toppings at the moment are the sweet ones,” Parker said. “You often think savoury for crackers, so I like adding sweet toppings for a change.”

“Low fat ricotta, sliced strawberries/kiwis/mango, topped with walnuts and cinnamon is a favourite,” Parker said.

“Two other great sweet toppings are almond butter, banana coins and a sprinkle of mixed spice, or tahini, a drizzle of honey and thinly sliced apple.”

For those who don’t have a sweet tooth, try these tasty toppings recommended by Parker:

  • Avocado, sliced tomato and cracked pepper
  • Small tin of tuna
  • Low fat hummus, sliced cucumbers and a slice of lean protein like chicken
  • Salsa, sliced red onion and a sprinkle of feta

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