Saltine crackers are a very popular snack in the United States and abroad. There are many brand names on the market and even generic versions. Saltine crackers are made from white flour, fat, water, yeast and baking soda. It is a thin, dry, light and usually square baked product sprinkled with coarse salt. Although crackers can be eaten alone as a snack, they are usually accompanied with a variety of “toppings” such as cheese, peanut butter and different fruit jams and preserves.
Saltine Cracker Nutrition Facts
A serving size of saltines is made of 5 crackers (15 grams). Each package has about 30 servings of the product. One serving of the product will give you 60 calories if consumed alone.
The major component of saltine crackers is carbohydrates, mainly in the form of starch (coming from wheat flour). Each serving of saltine crackers has 11 grams of carbohydrate. No dietary fiber is present is saltine crackers.
There is only 1 gram of protein in each serving of this product, and 1.5 gram of fat. This fat comes from the vegetable shortening used during its manufacture. There is no saturated fat nor cholesterol in saltine crackers.
Regarding micronutrients, sodium is the one with the highest concentration. There is 190 milligrams of sodium per serving. Also, iron is about 4 percent of daily recommended values. No calcium nor vitamin C or A is present in a serving of this product.
Are Saltine Crackers a Healthy Product?
Although popular, saltine crackers can hardly classify as healthy. The product is almost 75 percent carbohydrates of which none of them are of the complex type or healthy type (there is no dietary fiber on crackers). Protein is too low (only 6 percent), and it has 10 percent fat. The fat used, although of vegetable origin, does not classify as healthy fat.
In addition to the poor balance of macronutrients (carbs, fat, and protein), saltines are deficient in micronutrients. They will not give a person any calcium and just a little iron (only 4 percent of daily recommended values). What saltines have in high proportion is sodium (coming from the salt) which is implicated in the development of high blood pressure. By just eating 5 crackers, a person will ingest almost 200 milligrams of sodium. For a patient with borderline hypertension and even for healthy individuals, this is not the kind of product they want to depend on.
There are some saltine crackers available that are geared towards the healthy crowd. They are low-sodium, multigrain or whole grain. However, there is not a big difference between the traditional saltine crackers and the “healthy” versions. For example, a multigrain saltine cracker serving (14 grams) still has 60 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 170 milligrams of sodium.
NUTRIENT DATA LABORATORY. USDA Database (https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/)
Nabisco Saltine Crackers (original) Nutrition facts (https://www.nabiscoworld.com/./Brands/ProductInformation.aspx?BrandKey=premium&Site=1&Product=4400000057)
Image is author's own work (Rafael)