Crackers and Snack Foods

  • For meals or snacks, consider the growing array of crackers, including those with "less fat," "0 grams trans fat," or "less sodium." Typically low in fat, or even fat-free: packaged bread sticks, graham crackers, melba toast, rice crackers, matzos, rusk, saltines, and zwieback. For more fiber, look for whole-wheat crackers, too!
  • Many snack foods are made with oil—but what kind of oil? Check the ingredient list and the Nutrition Facts. Those made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils have more trans fats.
  • For a low-fat, crunchy snack food, buy pretzels or plain popcorn. They have less fat than potato chips, corn chips, bagel chips, or buttered popcorn. To eat less salt, look for unsalted snack foods such as unsalted pretzels. For a lower-fat option, look for oven-baked tortilla and potato chips; 1 ounce of baked tortilla chips has about 1 fat gram compared with about 7 fat grams in the same amount of regular tortilla chips. And check the label on microwave popcorn. Some contain high-fat flavorings.
  • When it comes to cookies, explore the growing variety of reduced-fat, fat-free, and "0 grams trans fat" varieties. If calories are your challenge, read the label for calorie content, too, to see if the calories really are less. Even fairly small calorie and fat savings can be significant if you eat these cookies frequently. On the other hand, bigger helpings may "spend" any calorie or fat savings! Some types of commercial cookies are typically lower in fat: animal crackers, fig bars, gin-gersnaps, and vanilla wafers.
  • If you buy candy and other snacks, look for small, portion-controlled packages (perhaps 100-calorie packs). In that way, it's not as easy to overindulge. To check the calories, read the Nutrition Facts. Some sugar-free candies have calories. And remember, candy bars may have fat, too.
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