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Are Graham Crackers Good for a Low-Carb Diet?

by
author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Are Graham Crackers Good for a Low-Carb Diet?
Graham crackers: one example of a high-carb food. Photo Credit delmonte1977/iStock/Getty Images

A low-carb diet limits your daily carbohydrate consumption to fewer than 150 grams. Some very low-carb plans limit you to fewer than 30 grams per day. Usually, starchy and sweet foods, such as graham crackers, are off the menu. Foods good for low-carb diets include proteins, healthy fats and watery, fibrous vegetables.

The Carbs in Graham Crackers

One graham cracker -- a whole sheet or all four rectangles -- contains about 11 grams of carbohydrates. Compare this to a medium banana with 27 grams of carbs or a slice of wheat bread with 14 grams.

On a moderate low-carb diet that includes 50 to 150 grams of carbs daily, you could afford one or two graham crackers as part of your daily carb servings. However, if you're reducing your intake to between 20 and 50 grams per day, you may not want to use up to half of your daily allotment of carb grams for a single graham cracker.

Graham Crackers Aren't the Best Carb Choice

When you're limiting carbohydrates, it's best to choose those of the highest nutritional quality. Look for options high in fiber and naturally-occurring vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Think vegetables, fresh fruit and whole grains. Most graham crackers are stripped of fiber and contain added sugar and refined oils. A standard graham cracker contains almost 4 grams of sugar and just 1 percent of the daily value for calcium and 3 percent for iron -- with no other substantial nutrients.

Typical Low-Carb Diet Meals

A graham cracker doesn't naturally fit into most low-carb meals, either. For example, at breakfast you might have cheesy eggs with spinach, at lunch a chicken Caesar salad without croutons and, for dinner, a large vegetable and beef stir-fry with 1/2 cup of rice. Snacks include mixed nuts, string cheese or hard-boiled eggs.

Graham crackers tend to be an ingredient in carb-laden desserts such as s'mores and pie crust. If you're craving a slightly sweet dessert or snack on your low-carb plan, choose lower-carb, more nutritious alternatives. Opt for ricotta cheese whipped with stevia and cinnamon for just 4 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup; an ounce of honey-roasted almonds for 8 grams of carbs; or 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries with whipped cream for 6 grams of carbs.

Healthy Carb Options

You're better off spending your carb allotment on whole, unprocessed foods. One cup of cubed acorn squash provides almost 15 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber and, in the daily value category, 10 percent for vitamin A, 5 percent for calcium and iron and a quarter of your DV for vitamin C. Enjoy a cup of fresh raspberries with almost 15 grams of carbs, 8 grams of fiber, multiple antioxidants and more than half of your daily vitamin C. Or, if your plan allows, add 1/2 cup of brown rice to your dinner to get 22 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, almost 3 grams of protein and 5 percent of the DV for iron.

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