Having a couple of crackers with cheese or dips may seem innocent enough.
But these moreish savouries can add hundreds of calories as well as a substantial amount of fat and salt to your diet.
There are now many ‘healthy’ versions on the market but do they offer any real nutritional benefit?
Here, dietitian Kajsa Ernestam of healthy lifestyle app Lifesum assesses 12 popular options. We then rated them.
A little dry, lifted by herby onion notes
Rakusen's 99% Herb and Onion Crackers
150g, 75p, ocado.com
Per 100g: Calories, 360; saturated fat, 0.2g; sugar, 2.5g; salt, 1.4g; fibre, 3.9g
EXPERT VERDICT: Made of wheat flour, water, herbs, onion powder and salt, these have an exceptionally low saturated fat content — just 0.2g per 100g.
They also contain just 18 calories per cracker biscuit. However, they have the highest carbohydrate content of all those tested — 82.6g per 100g — gram for gram, almost double that of sliced white bread, which, as carbohydrates digest down to sugar, is of note if you are keeping an eye on blood sugar levels. Three crackers also provide just 2 per cent of your daily fibre needs.
TASTE: A little dry, lifted by herby onion notes.
Rude Health Buckwheat and Chia Crackers
Gluten-free, these are just 96 per cent buckwheat
150g, £2.49, waitrose.com
Per 100g: Calories, 388; saturated fat, 1.2g; sugar, 2.5g; salt, 0.04g; fibre, 15g
EXPERT VERDICT: Gluten-free, these are just 96 per cent buckwheat — which has been ‘puffed’ to a rice cake-like texture — and chia seeds.
Buckwheat is a good source of manganese, important for enzyme production and metabolism. Chia seeds are a source of heart-friendly omega 3 fatty acids. High in fibre, just three of these provide over a tenth of your recommended daily intake, almost a third more than you’d get in a medium slice of wholemeal bread.
TASTE: A slightly bland, nutty rice cake.
Raw Health Flax Pumpkin Crackers
The saturated fat level and calories are quite high
90g, £4.99, ocado.com
Per 100g: Calories, 553; saturated fat, 5g; sugar, 3g; salt, 1.9g; fibre, 25g
EXPERT VERDICT: The ingredients here haven’t been heated over 42c, which the maker says ‘ensures the health giving nutrients and enzymes stay alive’.
While more nutrients are preserved if foods are eaten raw, these ingredients would still be nutritious if they were baked. Flax seeds are a good source of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to heart health. Pumpkin seeds provide iron and bone-building calcium. One cracker has 5.6g fibre, almost a fifth of your daily needs.
But the saturated fat level and calories are quite high.
TASTE: A strong onion flavour.
Jacob's High Fibre Cream Crackers
Made with white rather than wholegrain flour
200g, £1.19, most supermarkets.
Per 100g: Calories, 463; saturated fat, 6.1g; sugar, 1.6g; salt, 1.7g; fibre, 7.4g
EXPERT VERDICT: Made with white rather than wholegrain flour. The fibre has been added in the form of inulin, a vegetable fibre that encourages healthy gut and bowel function, pea fibre and wheat bran.
Three crackers give you 5 per cent of your recommended daily intake of fibre: many of the other products here offer substantially more. High in saturated fat, three crackers will give you 1.2g, the amount in around half a teaspoon of butter. There’s also a moderate amount of salt — three crackers provide 5 per cent of the RDA.
TASTE: A flavoursome, albeit salty, cream cracker.
Genius Carb Cutter Bread Crisps
Pack of five, £2, sainsburys.co.uk
Per 100g: Calories, 514; saturated fat, 3.4g; sugar 1.7g; salt, 0.8g; fibre, 19g
There’s 2g of fibre in one crispbread — 6.5 per cent of the recommended daily intake
EXPERT VERDICT: These contain chicory root inulin, a vegetable fibre that encourages healthy gut and bowel function.
There’s 2g of fibre in one crispbread — 6.5 per cent of the recommended daily intake. The addition of protein-rich sunflower seeds, linseeds and sesame seeds give these crispbreads half the carbohydrates of similar products and 3.9g protein in each slice — almost that of a boiled egg — to keep you feeling fuller for longer. The seeds and rapeseed oil provide heart healthy fats. Bigger than other crackers — one provides 123 calories.
TASTE: Heavily seeded with a biscuity texture.
Thomas Fudge's Chickpea and Sesame Flatbreads
These contain chickpea and lentil flours
140g, £1.39, tesco.com
Per 100g: Calories, 439; saturated fat, 1.3g; sugar, 2.7g; salt, 1.2g; fibre, 7g
EXPERT VERDICT: These contain chickpea and lentil flours, both good sources of iron, needed to