Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Graham Crackers

Mayny people think that Graham crackers are a healthy snack. Many moms even give Graham crackers to their babies since they are easy to hold and eat as a first food. However there is sadly absolutely NOTHING nutritious about modern-day Graham crackers!

I did a search so I could post the exact ingredients and I found some interesting information. The man who originally created Graham crackers - Sylvester Graham - was a minister, vegetarian and health nut. He felt very strongly about the health benefits of whole wheat flour vs. refined, white flour.

Graham flour is a special type of whole wheat flour where the components of the wheat berry - the germ, bran and endosperm - are ground seperately. The endosperm (what a name LOL) is finely ground and resembles white flour and the bran and germ are coarsly ground, then they are all mixed together for a healthy, more coarse flour that bakes and keeps well.

Mr. Graham marketed his Graham crackers as a health food and encourage all homemakers to bake with whole wheat instead of white, refined flour. (a majority of wheats nutritional benefits are lost 1-2days after it is ground) The original graham crackers were lightly sweetened with honey and sugar.

Mr. Graham would be shocked and angered to pick up a box of "Graham" crackers today and find they are not only made with enriched, bleached, white flour instead of whole wheat, but hydrogenated soybean oil (aka Trans Fat aka Heart Attack) and tons of white sugar as well. Blech!

Mr. Graham may have been a little nutty (more about him) but he was definitely right that whole wheat is healthier than white flour. Graham crackers epitomize the failing nutrition of America today - not good for any of us, much less our little ones!

Throw them away with the Goldfish and Ritz crackers and go for something whole wheat instead! (there are several different options at stores like Whole Foods and even at Target - make sure to read the label carefully!)

Rachel :)


Alli said...

Hmmmm, interesting. Graham crackers are a staple snack in this house. I'll have to check my ingredients, but I'm pretty sure I started buying the kind I do because it has whole grain flour and no hydrogenated oils. I'm gonna check again.

chewymama said...

well I should have mentioned that there are, of course, "real" graham crackers that are actually healthy. But none of the varieties WalMart or Albertsons carries fall in this category (last time I checked). The brand name HoneyMaid definitely uses trans fat - I only know because Ive checked all the labels for soy!

Will you share who makes yours? :)

Alli said...

Ok, I must've been dreaming, because mine aren't made with whole grain (although, graham flour is one of the ingredients, but probably the fifth one). BUT, hydrogenated oils aren't used. I guess that's a good thing. Probably why I started buying them. If I had to pick I'd rather used the refined flours than the hydrogenated oils.

I saw graham flour at my Walmart the other day. I wonder if there is a good, tasty recipe out there for making your own graham crackers?

Anyway, they're the Walmart Brand.

I do all my shopping between WM and Kroger. Kroger has a great natural foods section, but they're much more expensive. Got any ideas on how to skimp on some things so that poor folks like me can afford some of the other better foods? If so, maybe that's an idea for a post?

chewymama said...

Alli - I let the kids eat pretzels all the time because the brand names dont have soy and our options are so otherwise limited. Its white flour but of course they survive ;) and it some of the only white flour they have.I think its more important to cut out the trans fat. Good job! :)

ginafer said...

I buy Annies Bunny Grahams and Cheddar Bunnies. They aren't like the orignal but I'm sure they are better than some stuff out there. We also buy Annies mac and cheese, I just bought a case at Costco for the same price as Kraft! But really we try to feed our children fresh fruits or veggies for snacks while at home and only snack on the Annies products while we're out and about.