Are Graham Crackers Healthy? Nutrition, Benefits, Downsides

Graham crackers probably conjure memories of campfires and s’mores — or of simple, easy snacks you might hand to the children in your life.

They’re a sweet and crunchy snack enjoyed by kids and adults alike, of course, but you may be wondering if they’re a healthy choice.

This article breaks down the nutritional value of graham crackers and reviews whether they are a good snack for heart health, diabetes concerns, and kids’ eating patterns.

Graham crackers are made from enriched wheat flour, whole grain wheat flour, sugar, canola or palm oil, a leavening agent like baking soda, and salt.

Depending on the brand, graham crackers may include other ingredients like molasses, honey, cinnamon, chocolate, or soy lecithin.

Graham crackers are not gluten-free since they are made from wheat flour. However, graham crackers are vegan, unless they contain honey. Some vegans consume honey and some do not.

About an ounce (28 grams) or graham crackers — about two full cracker sheets — contains (1):

  • Calories: 122
  • Total fat: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 22 grams
  • Fiber:
  • Sugar: 7 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 146 mg
  • Magnesium: 9% recommended daily value (DV)
  • Selenium: 11% DV
  • Niacin: 27% DV

The exact amounts of nutrients, including fiber, may vary based on brand and whole grain content.

In general, though, graham crackers are relatively low in calories, but since they’re mainly carbs, they’re also low in fat, fiber, and protein.

Graham crackers don’t contain any cholesterol and have a moderate amount of sodium.

However, their added sugar content is a bit high, meaning they’re probably not ideal for regular snacking in high quantities.

Although graham crackers contain whole grain wheat flour (i.e. whole grains), they offer less than one gram of fiber per serving.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, kids between 2–18 years old should consume 14–31 grams of fiber per day, depending on their age (2).

In addition to being low in fiber, a serving of graham crackers provides 6–8 grams of added sugar, depending on the brand.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises not that children under 2 years old should avoid added sugar, and added sugar levels should remain below 25 grams per day for older children (3).

Like most commercial snack foods, graham crackers are OK in moderation for toddlers and kids.

To make them healthier, add fruit alongside to boost fiber and spread nut butter on top for healthy fat and protein. Graham crackers with peanut butter and raisins are a fan favorite amongst many kids.

High fiber, low sugar foods are the healthiest for your heart, along with a variety of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. But this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy graham crackers. Just be mindful of how many added sugars are in your overall diet.

Two full graham cracker sheets contain about 7 grams of added sugar, which is about one-third of the recommended daily value (DV) for women.

The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day and men consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day (4).

To best support a healthy heart, enjoy graham crackers in moderation and pair them with foods high in fiber, protein, and healthy fat like fruit, nut butters, and Greek yogurt.

People with diabetes can certainly enjoy graham crackers, keeping in mind that one serving contains about 22 grams of total carbs and 6–8 grams of total sugar. Stick to one serving for a snack and pair with foods high in fiber and protein for balance.

Pairing graham crackers with protein, fiber, and fat may slow the spike of blood sugar and insulin. Try crushing one graham cracker sheet and sprinkling over plain Greek yogurt with berries.

Opting for 1 cracker sheet instead of 2 will reduce the carbs and sugar to 11 grams and 3–6 grams, respectively.

The main downside to graham crackers is that one serving contains about 7 grams of added sugar. Health authorities recommend that women consume 25 grams of added sugar per day at most, and men consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day (4).

It is also recommended that children over the age of 2 consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day, while children 2 years old and under avoid it altogether (3).

Enjoy graham crackers in moderation. Instead of buying them every time you grocery shop, try buying them every once in a while as a sweet treat.

To make graham crackers a healthier snack when you do eat them, pair them with sources of high quality fiber, protein, and healthy fat. That will slow the rise of blood sugar and keep you fuller longer.

For example, consider using two graham cracker squares to make a peanut butter and jelly “sandwich” with berries.

Or, mix cinnamon and raspberries into plain Greek yogurt and sprinkle crushed graham crackers on top for a sweet, protein-packed yogurt parfait.

Graham crackers can be healthy if you pair them with high quality sources of protein, fat, and fiber. They can also be high in sugar and low in fiber despite their high carb count, so it may be best to eat them in moderation.

That’s especially true for people living with diabetes.

These packaged snacks don’t pack too many calories, fat, or sodium for most people, but it’s important to be mindful if you eat them often. Consider reserving them for treats rather than adding them to your daily snack rotation.

By Percy