Last week I shared my thoughts on Costco crackers, but I scope-creeped my way into also talking about some of the chips and other crispy treats in comparison. Then over the weekend my inbox filled up with questions and pictures of ones I’d missed. “What about Aussie Bites?” “Do you like the Diva crisps?”
Is Costco a cult?
If so, I’m in. Just for the fruit of course. Haha if only.
So this week I’m going to comment briefly on four more Costco snacks, plus a few words about cost. Here is the updated spreadsheet, if you’re curious, or just skim the highlights below.
Whole grain crackers (er… cookies)
With all those organic ingredients, these have got to be heart-healthy, right? Well, it turns out that there’s little evidence that eating organic foods can improve your health, cardiovascular or otherwise. But the rolled oats at the top of the ingredient list make this a whole grain food, which is helpful.
Trouble is that the sugar, despite being organic, makes this more like a cookie than a cracker. Don’t get me wrong, cookies are fine! Sugar is fine! But in moderation, right?
I just worry find that when something is labeled with “organic,” “flax,” “chia,” and “quinoa” on the label people tend to think it’s more nutritious than it probably is and power through four or five of them while making dinner.
Think of this as a healthy-ish cookie. If you need some extra calories for a hike or something different for energetic kids’ lunch bags, go for it. If you like them, pop one in your lunch for a treat.
Just for (nutrition geek alert) fun, I added the Presidents Choice oatmeal raisin cookies to my spreadsheet to compare, and the Aussie Bites do come out ahead: (A bit) less sugar, more fibre, and more healthy fats. But quite similar otherwise. Oh yes, and they cost 65% more. You could always just have a few peanuts with your oatmeal cookie.
Not whole grain
I see these at parties often, and I quite enjoy them with a schmear of goat cheese. But I have to be fair and say this isn’t a whole grain, with the first three ingredients being buttermilk, white flour, and sugar.
Six of them have about as much sugar as one Aussie Bite — about 2 teaspoons worth — (that’s the 30g serving I’ve been using to compare). With guidelines typically recommending no more than 6 to 12 teaspoons of free or added sugar a day, this is okay, but like the Aussie Bites, don’t let that “baked,” “trans fat free,” “low saturated fat,” “cholesterol free” health halo trick you into having 27 of these for lunch.
(Note: I included the “Cranberryliscious” flavour in my analysis, but they’re almost all the same.)
How fun is this? I saw them when hunting down the Diva crisps and I had to try them, despite several drawbacks. (I had three. Can you guess them? See below.)
They’re… pretty good. Very crunchy and crispy, but they do taste overly seasoned to me. And I like salty. But between the yeast extract, the salt, and the sugar, it’s just overdone.
But what a neat idea – shiitake mushrooms?! Look at that fibre. Keep in mind we’re comparing 30g serving sizes, so compared to the crackers, we’ll call it 8 grams of fibre, but still. We have nothing else even close to that much. And hello, iron!
Drawbacks? Sugar again, about 2 teaspoons worth again, plus palm oil, which is a not so healthy fat and also terrible for the environment. And it’s a tie between these and the Whisps (parmesan crisps) for most expensive, at about three times the price of the typical cracker.
So, interesting, but they wouldn’t be a regular in my Costco cart.
No. No no no no no. Just no.
Okay, if you really, really love them, but is that possible? I have to think everyone buying these is doing so because they think veggies = healthy, right?
I’m just going to put the ingredients and nutrition facts here and you can see for yourself.
This is no more “veggie” than classic potato chips, but at least with the potato chips you get a little bit of vitamin C. Sheesh.
Yes, you read that right. Veggie Straws offer less nutrition than potato chips. Veggie Straws are my pet peeve. That’s about the most misleading marketing out there. “Now with sweet potatoes.” Really. Eye roll.
Just a few observations about cost that I haven’t already made.
First of all, the whole grain crackers go on sale periodically, so keep an eye out. And don’t assume that because something is at Costco it’s less expensive, especially the unique products.
Finally, if you’re stocking up for a big party, the regular (Kirkland Que Pasa) tortilla chips are among the lowest for unit cost, have as much fibre as most of the whole grain crackers, and are very low in sodium.
If you like the Mary’s, Crunchmaster Multigrain, and (not at Costco) Low-Sodium Triscuits, those are some of your go-to everyday whole grain crackers.
The Aussie Bites, Diva crisps, and Shiitake Mushroom are fun for a change and offer some additional nutrition over a plain old wheat or rice cracker, just like the RW Garcia Sweet Potato or Lentil with Turmeric or the Food Should Taste Good Multigrain chips I talked about in Part 1.
And if you’re looking for a nutritious snack, you could always pick up roasted pumpkin seeds, mandarin oranges, and individually wrapped servings of cheese at Costco while you’re at it. The healthiest snacks aren’t always found in the “snack” aisle.