Is it Okay to Buy Crackers at the Store?

image by markn3tel

"Cracka" was my first word. Supposedly even before "mama" and "dada." These crunchy guys and I go way back: my mom still jokes about how I used to hold one in each hand and munch away, kind like this:

image by Joe Shlabotnik

Are Crackers Healthy?

I still love crackers, especially with some nice nutty grass-fed cheddar or a shmear of almond butter. But most crackers from the store, even a health food store, are not Plus Other Good Stuff approved. (Don't get me wrong: I gladly partake of any cracker at a party if there are delicious toppings to be had.) What's so bad about them?

The grains are either refined or whole but not soaked or sprouted which makes them hard to digest. The oils are usually either hydrogenated or rancid vegetable oils like soybean, cottonseed, or sunflower. They often contain high fructose corn syrup or "evaporated cane juice," AKA sugar.

Homemade Sourdough Crackers with Garlic Scape White Bean Dip

Some Solutions to the Cracker Dilemma

To avoid those unfortunate ingredients, I like to make my own crackers.  It's easier than you would think, and certainly gets some "ooh's" and "aah's" at a party. But in this busy and often overwhelming season of motherhood, I confess: I buy crackers from the store. I bake most of our bread and granola, and cook meals from scratch seven days a week. I ferment kombucha and make my own yogurt. All in a teeny tiny kitchen. But most of the time, I don't have time to make crackers. (I often don't even have time to take a shower!)

So here you have it: my favorite store bought crackers.

Why I Love Ak-Mak Crackers

1. No junk. Check out these ingredients:

Simple, clean, short list of ingredients. Can't beat that! I'm not worried about the sesame oil in small amounts, especially because it is not GMO.

2. Made with butter!
You know me, I love me some butter. Their butter may not be organic, but I'd rather have conventional butter than organic soybean oil! Also, their website states that some of their ingredients might be organic without being listed as such. So one can hope that it's even better than it looks!

3. Stone ground flour.
More nutrients are preserved when flour is stone ground, as opposed to steel ground. And I hold out a little hope that maybe they grind it themselves right before baking, which means it retains even more nutrients. No, it is not soaked or sprouted, but as an occasional snack I'm not too worried about it.

4. Cheap!
I get Ak-mak at Trader Joe's for less than $2 a box. I'm sure it's still cheaper to make my own crackers, but this is about as good as you can do for store-bought crackers. (We in West Michigan are still waiting and hoping for Trader Joe's to get with the program and open stores near us, but in the mean time our family stocks up whenever we visit relatives in the Chicago area.)

5. Delicious.
They really do taste great. How could they not, with those ingredients? I love the crunch of the sesame seeds and the very subtle sweetness of the honey. Delicious with hummus, cheese, nut butter, or even by themselves.

Do you buy crackers from the store? Have you found anything with ingredients you can be happy with?

This is part of Real Food Wednesday, Healthy2Day Wednesday, Whole Foods WednesdayFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday

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  1. I don't have a trader Joes near me either. I have tried my hand at crackers, but boy! Time consuming. We mostly go without. The kids miss goldfish crackers, however, so sometimes I will splurge on Annie's organic cheddar bunnies...just for a treat.

    1. yeah, we've bought cheddar bunnies a couple times, too. For special occasions. :) Crackers aren't THAT time consuming once you are used to it, and it helps to make double batches if you can fit them all in your oven. But I still don't usually have time lately!

  2. I'm trying to get my family off all processed foods. Crackers is one of the hardest ones to ditch. They think they can't live without them. Can't wait to try your recipe suggestion for making our own crackers. I found you on Thank Your Body Thursdays. My link is for Choc Chip Cookie Dough Brownies - Gluten Free & Vegan. Check it out here: http://noskinnies.com/blog/2013/5/13/chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-brownies-vegan-gluten-free