Are Animal Crackers Healthy?

Kids love animal crackers and they are an easy snack, but are animal crackers healthy? Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to consider what the alternatives to animal crackers are.

Animal crackers make a great snack from a parent’s point of view. They are quick, easy, and almost every kid loves them. That makes them a popular choice as a snack, a school lunch, or whenever a parent hears “I’m hungry”. What’s more, these fun crackers don’t spoil easily and travel well. Let’s take a closer look at the typical nutritional value of animal crackers.

An individual serving, like a small 2 ounce box, of animal crackers will cost you 250 calories. That is a reasonable size for a snack, especially a kid who is always on the move. In addition to those calories animal crackers contain sugar and carbohydrate, though not an overwhelming amount of either. In fact, animal crackers are a much better choice than sweets such as cookies or potato chips if you are making a comparison.

There is little in animal crackers that would be considered nutritious, so if you are looking to improve nutrition in your child this will not do the trick. Vitamins and minerals are not abundant. However, a better way to think about it is by comparing to what your other options are for a cracker-like snack.

For example, 2 ounces of cheddar cheese tortilla chips will cost another 50 calories or so, and the same amount of potato chips will add a few calories more. That is not a big deal in one meal, but if this is a routine those calories will add up. What you really gain here by sticking with animal crackers is the lower fat as compared to so many other crackers and chips. For example, those tortilla chips will nearly double the fat and the potato chips will nearly triple it. That is something to pay attention to.

Before you get discouraged in thinking that animal crackers don’t have enough to offer consider this. Sometimes a kids just needs a snack. In moderation this is OK, and as we have seen, animal crackers are not the worst choice. There are healthier options, however, if you are looking for animal crackers with a kick. Some natural or organic choices include Annie’s Homegrown crackers or Healthy Helpings animal crackers. We love the bunnies from Annie’s and the natural ingredients in Healthy Helpings.

It is clear that animal crackers are not what you would consider healthy. They offer little in the way of vitamins and nutrition. However, making meals for kids sometimes just requires the addition of crackers for an afternoon snack or a long car ride, and when that is the case animal crackers are not a bad choice.

Are animal crackers healthy? Not really, but you could do much worse, so go ahead and let the kids enjoy them in moderation.

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