If anyone sees a crazy looking women in the shops taking photos of labels, well that’s me! Slowly over the course of the summer I’ve had to challenge all my assumptions about particular shops, particular brands and particular foods! I’ve learn that shopping well really does come down to one thing – reading the label. I do quite a bit of work with food companies and food producers and I am continually working to improve the food choices available to people who are interested in health. This week its crackers!
Crackers can be such a quick and easy way of adding carbohydrates to a meal or snack. However, like every premade product, it is important to read the label. The more labels I read, the more I start to realise the ones with the fewest ingredients tend to be healthier.
There were three key things that I looked at with crackers, their fat content and the type of fat being used, their salt content and their fibre content. When looking for a cracker to keep you fuller for longer, go for higher fibre and wholegrain crackers, such as Ryvitas and Oatackes.
I was very surprised at the levels of fat, and poor quality vegetable oil in many crackers. TUC biscuits, Mc Vities Butter Puffs, Ritz all had a fat content of over 24g of fat per 100g which meant that a quarter of the biscuit was just plain fat!
The highest salt levels (by a mile) were in Ritz (3.3g per 100g) and Jacobs Olive Crackers but most crackers had salt levels of around 1-1.5 g per 100g. This suggests that when eating crackers, we keep them to a minimum. If having crackers with a meal of snack I would consider two crackers to be the correct portion.
So the crackers that topped the charts were rice cakes, Rye crispbreads and Oatcakes (although some of the oatcakes did have high levels of fat so please always read the label!).
- 4 oatcakes or ryvitas
- 1 small mango
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 50 g hard goats cheese (e.g. feta cheese )
- ½ large red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
- Cut the mango and the goats cheese in the similar shaped small cubes. Mix with the other ingredients to form the topping.
- Place on top of the cracker for a perfect light lunch or mid afternoon snack.