Oh, for an HFCS-free cracker...

>> Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ok, so the there are actually plenty of HFCS-free crackers out there, but they're swimming in an ocean of crackers containing HFCS. (High fructose corn syrup might seem like a strange ingredient for crackers, but it serves the same purpose in crackers as it does in bread. Two big advantages to using HFCS in crackers are increased shelf life and cost.) Go look in any supermarket at the cracker aisle, and you'll find cracker after cracker with HFCS in it. Hidden among those HFCS-containing crackers are several good ones that are free of the offending ingredient. I'm not going to even try to tell you all of the crackers that don't have HFCS in them, but I am going to try to give some pointers to finding HFCS-free crackers in the different cracker categories - and maybe point out a few crackers that contain HFCS that surprised me.

Let's start with saltines. The situation with saltines really isn't as bad as it first seems. I'm going to use Nabisco brand as an example, but I would guess that other brands are similar to Nabisco. Nabisco Original Premium Saltine Cracker has HFCS as an ingredient. Strike them off of your list! Sadly, I wasn't able to find a regular saltine that didn't have HFCS in any of the brands that our grocery store carries - and there were several brands to look at. The good news is that as far as I can tell, every other permutation of saltine (low-salt, fat free, multigrain, toasted onion, etc.) from Nabisco is HFCS-free! We've been using the Nabisco Fat Free Premium Saltine Crackers for years now. I'll admit that they don't taste quite as good as the original - they're not as tender for one thing - but after using them for a while, I find that they taste just fine. And the ingredient list is pretty innocuous too. If you don't want to go fat free, try the other options. Maybe multigrain? But remember, what's true for Nabisco might not be true for other brands, so look before you buy!BUTTER CRACKERS
There are a few butter cracker options out there. Toasteds Buttercrisp is a good one. All of the Toasteds crackers are HFCS free. Wild Harvest Natural - a very reasonably priced organic food line - also has a reasonable priced HFCS-free butter cracker. The biggies - Townhouse Original (and Reduced Fat) and Ritz have HFCS in them.

I was a bit surprised by how many wheat crackers had HFCS in them. Wheat Thins was one that surprised me - it has HFCS in it. Wheatables also contains HFCS. So, where to turn? Townhouse Wheat is HFCS-free (though it does contain corn syrup, but we're not going to quibble about that right now)! Toasteds Wheat, again, is HFCS free. Good ole Triscuits is HFCS free (at least the original - I didn't check the different flavors for HFCS). And, again, Wild Harvest Natural wheat crackers are HFCS free.

Cheese crackers are a particular favorite in my house. What kid doesn't like munching on goldfish? (We won't discuss how healthy they are - or are not - here.) Happily, Goldfish (at least the original flavor, I didn't check other flavors) are HFCS free! No kid mutiny here! Reduced Fat Cheese-its, another household favorite and good addition to trail mix, is also HFCS-free. Reduced Fat Cheese Nips are also HFCS free. (Regular Cheese-its and Cheese Nips both contain HFCS.) Better Cheddars are also HFCS free.

Then there are the specialty crackers. Keebler Graham Crackers - another favorite around here - thankfully is HFCS free. These are so useful for graham cracker crusts, snacks, and other desserts! I hate to admit it, but I love Chicken in a Biskit crackers as a sometimes snack, and happily, they're HFCS free! And I have yet to see a Pepperidge Farm cracker with HFCS in it. We love their Pretzel Thins here. Sadly, I'm still looking for a vanilla wafer that doesn't have HFCS in it. Banana pudding is not in our diet for the immediate future! And if you want those snack packs that have peanut butter or fake cheese spread between two crackers (often a weird shade of orange), those have HFCS in them. Maybe that's not such a bad thing...

And there are so many more! Crackers that tout being multigrain or organic generally seem to be HFCS-free (but check those labels to be sure!).

Did I miss a cracker that you're interested in? Let me know if the comments!


Mark Salinas September 4, 2008 at 11:55 AM  

Cheeto's and Bugles? J/k! I am printing this one out....another keeper. Thanks!

laura September 4, 2008 at 2:01 PM  

What a great roundup. Thank you. Late July makes a good butter cracker that I think is HFCS-free. I have been collecting cracker recipes for over a year--just not something that is easy to move from buying a box to making from scratch.

Choofy Mama September 4, 2008 at 10:30 PM  

oooh my goodness yes you need to check out late july. we are OBSESSED with them. my current fave preggo craving is their mini cracker sandwiches with cheese ( they have them with PB too)

I LIVED on their saltines this past first trimester, and i am addicted to them, they are like a bajillion times more delish than any normal saltine, it's crazy!

they have cheese crackers, triscuit crackers, wheat thin crackers, ritz, you name it. plus the cookies, don't get me started.


and there are organic cheetos-TINGS, they are soo delish too. http://www.robscape.com/files/prod-tings.php

fatfighter September 5, 2008 at 6:57 AM  

Yay for Triscuits and Goldfish!!! My personal favorites lately are the new Kashi crackers - I pretty much love anything Kashi and the crackers are tasty!

Debbie September 5, 2008 at 8:45 AM  

Hi Cathy. Thanks for stopping by Blog Around the World. I may need to have a party since someone from Wyoming stopped by!!! Woo hoo. You are all linked up. Check daily to see who and what states we are headed to. I also have guest bloggers on Fridays.

This post was very interesting. We are a saltine, gold fish and cheezit family. Who doesn't love cheez its. This info was very interesting...thanks!

Rachel September 5, 2008 at 1:48 PM  

vI think the Costco brand of crackers (lots of wheat, and a few other variety crackers) are HFCS-free. Those are lovely crackers. I will reconfirm this and check back.

Rachel September 5, 2008 at 7:33 PM  

Oh, on a totally seperate tangent, is fructooligosaccharides related to HFCS? Or is it related to saccharine? Or...in layman's terms, what IS it?

Anya September 7, 2008 at 3:50 PM  

Arrrgg, Wheat Thins are a favorite of mine! Sigh, oh well, I eat too many crackers anyway. I'll definitely have to go check out these Late July crackers.

Jehnie September 7, 2008 at 6:32 PM  

Thanks for the cracker round-up. Unfortunately Nilla wafers are a favorite treat and peanut butter sandwiches have long been a staple. Sigh... But you've listed some great alternatives considering that my youngest would live on crackers alone given a choice.

Katherine September 8, 2008 at 5:20 AM  

While you're removing HFCS from your diet, are you considering other less-than-idea ingredients such as cottonseed oil or MSG? Also, many crackers list their oil content as, for example, "soybean oil or partially hydrogenated soybean oil" - I think that they are able to calculate their trans fat content based on the first option.

(FYI: Here's Dr Weil's commentary on cottonseed oil: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400361/Is-Cottonseed-Oil-Okay.html)

Keep up the good work - as food processing companies realize that consumers are, in fact, aware, perhaps the quality of our food supply will improve.

Anonymous September 8, 2008 at 2:23 PM  

Thanks for the list! I haven't gotten so hardcore that I totally avoid HFCS yet but I will be heading in that direction eventually. I do purchase a good butter cracker by Back To Nature. I saw the review here and tried them when I saw them at Whole Foods. Since then, I've found them at Target and my local grocery store in the organic section. They run about $2.99.


cathy September 10, 2008 at 3:20 PM  

Choofy Mama - thanks for the suggestions - keep em coming!

Fatfighter - I like Kashi crackers too, but sometimes I want something just a little lighter (though my alternative is probably not lighter in calories!). Still, Kashi is always a good alternative - and HFCS free!

Rachel - great question. Look for your answer in a post soon! ;-)

Jehnie - there's bound to be a HFCS free vanilla cracker out there. We'll keep looking!

Katherine - Slowly, slowly. We are slowly transforming our diet. Right now I'm focusing on reducing the amount of processed foods we eat in general (with varying amount of success). Eliminating HFCS is just the first step, really. Thanks for the info on the oils!

Determinedtobefit - I've seen that brand before somewhere around here. Thanks for recommending it!

Marci September 11, 2008 at 7:11 PM  

I know that you said you are moving in baby steps, but I know that at the time we cut out HFCS I also eliminated partially hydrogenated oils. I am thrilled to see your blog as I am on a mission to help educate the masses. I did notice however, that several of the crackers you are using to avoid HFCS still contain partially hydrogenated oils, just as processed and offensive as HFCS. If you want more info on them you can visit my blog http://freeinfofriday.blogspot.com

dolph November 30, 2009 at 6:06 PM  

Wheat Thins now contain sugar, not HFCS. They must have changed the recipe! I used to buy these in Canada all the time (where almost nothing has HFCS), but here in the states, I've been sadly avoiding these crackers due to the HFCS.

Well, they've changed the recipe, and now I can enjoy them again!

viagra April 18, 2011 at 10:02 AM  

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