Product Review: Rice Crackers
Rice crackers, at face value, are a great snack food and are a regular staple in many a kitchen pantry. The salty crunch they provide seems a perfect swap for crisps and other higher fat savoury snacks. This product review takes a closer look at rice crackers and whether they are a help or hindrance following weight loss surgery.
You only have to stroll past the cracker section to see the huge range of brands and flavours of rice crackers available, so for the purpose of this review, we used an ‘average’ nutritional profile.
What’s in them?
Based on rice flour, they add sugar, salt, various flavours (and in some products flavour enhancers such as MSG) and vegetable oils.
How do they stack up nutritionally?
Rice crackers are around 7% protein and in each ‘suggested’ serve (a quarter of a packet) there is 1.7g. They are low in fat and sugar (at around 3.5% of each) with each serve only providing around 100 calories. They are rich in carbohydrate at 85%. Each suggested serve (a quarter of a packet) gives you as much carbohydrate as a slice of bread.
Where the problem arises
The key problem with rice crackers is that it is very easy to over eat them – they chew down well, rarely pose any tolerance issues and looking at the image below, it is easy to see why you can eat so many – if you pop them in the blender, a full packet only takes up just over a cup of space. If you do nibble away at the whole packet, it is the equivalent of eating 4 slices of bread, something we know you would think twice about, or simply couldn’t do.
The second issue with rice crackers is that they are high glycemic index, or high GI. This means they don’t do much to keep you full and can send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride, leaving you more vulnerable to sugar cravings and over eating later in the day.
It is so important to look beyond the fat, sugar and calorie content of the foods you choose to eat – you only have a precious space to fill, so make sure you do it with food that packs a nutritional punch and helps keep you feeling satisfied.
If you love a crunchy, savoury snack, look for crackers that are packed with grains like Vitaweat, Wholegrain Salada and Ryvita. Watch your portion and top with protein.
Use the following ideas to get you started:
- cheese & gherkin
- cheese and pickled onion
- cottage cheese and tomato
- nut paste – try almond for a change from peanut
- tuna – blend with a little mayo or cottage cheese if you find it too dry
- boiled egg – again, with a little mayo or cottage cheese if you find it too dry
- avocado and feta.
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