Are Animal Crackers Healthy? The Truth About Your Favorite Snack

Animal crackers are popular bite-sized snacks typically shaped like various animals. These are favorites among children and are often enjoyed as a fun and nostalgic treat.

However, have you ever wondered if Animal crackers are a healthy choice?

Short answer: Animal crackers are not healthy because they are made up of enriched flour, contain added sugar and are low in protein and fiber. Additionally, they contain high fructose corn syrup and are loaded with artificial colors.

In this post, I’ll take a closer look at the ingredients and nutritional information of various animal crackers to see whether or not they are good for you.

So let’s start.

Also read: The Truth About Popcorners: Are They Really Healthy?

Nutritional value of Animal Crackers

The nutritional value of Animal crackers can vary based on the brand.

Animal crackers generally have added sugar while being relatively low in protein and fiber. They also tend to be low in calories and sodium.

Here is the table showing the nutritional value of some of the most popular brands of Animal crackers.


What are Animal crackers made of?

The exact ingredients in Animal crackers can vary based on the brand.

In general, Animal crackers are made up of enriched flour, sugar, and vegetable oil as the based ingredients.

Some of the other common ingredients you may find include:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Dextrose and/or fructose
  • Corn flour
  • Salt
  • Cocoa and chocolate (in chocolate flavor)
  • Baking soda
  • Emulsifier(soy lecithin)
  • Natural and artificial flavor
  • Spice
  • Artificial colors
  • Preservatives (sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate)

5 Reasons Animal Crackers are not healthy

1. Low in nutrients 

Animal crackers seem like a healthy option due to labels such as ‘low fat,’ ‘zero trans fat,’ and ‘zero cholesterol’ on the packaging.

But in reality, they are low in nutrition.

For example, Stauffer (original) and Barnum’s animal crackers have just 2g of protein per serving, which is relatively low.

In addition, they are also low in fiber, with just 1g in Stauffer and zero in Barnum’s animal crackers.

But why are animal crackers low in protein and fiber? The reason behind this lies in the ingredients used. Animal crackers are typically made with enriched or unbleached enriched flour, which inherently lacks significant amounts of protein and fiber.

However, while animal crackers may contain some minerals such as iron and potassium, they are present in very small amounts (not even 10% of the daily value).

If you want crackers packed with nutrition, it’s best to consider alternatives like Triscuits. These are made with whole grains and are a decent source of protein and fiber.

2. Made from processed flour

If you look at the ingredients label of most animal crackers, you’ll notice that they commonly contain enriched or unbleached enriched flour.

Enriched flour is processed wheat flour made solely from the endosperm of the wheat kernel. As a result, it is primarily composed of carbohydrates. 

To make it nutritious, food companies fortify the flour with nutrients, mainly B vitamins, and promote it as Enriched wheat flour.

However, despite this fortification, enriched flour is still low in major nutrients like protein and fiber.

If consumed in excess, this type of wheat flour can result in weight gain, inflammation, insulin resistance, and other health problems.

3. Contains added sugar 

Animal crackers often come with added sugar that provides a sweet taste but can harm your health.

A single serving of animal crackers can contain up to 7g to 15g of sugar, depending on the brand.

That’s about 26% of the daily sugar limit for adults and 33% for children, per the American Heart Association.

And since animal crackers are addictive, it’s easy to see how they can quickly add up.

In the long run, consuming too much added sugar may result in weight, obesity, diabetes, and other serious health issues.

4. Use of high fructose corn syrup

Some animal crackers brand, such as Stauffer’s, use High fructose corn syrup as one of the ingredients.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener made from corn starch and is usually used in processed food to preserve and enhance the flavor.

Evidence suggests that high fructose corn syrup(HFCS) can contribute to the development of metabolic disorders [1].

Additionally, some studies have also reported that excessive consumption of food containing HFCS can result in weight gain and increased risk of fatty liver disease[2][3].

5. Use of artificial colors

Some brands of animal crackers, such as Stauffer’s, use various artificial colors in their products, which can potentially be harmful to health.

These artificial colors include FD&C Blue, and FD&C Yellow.

As per studies, FD&C Blue, also known as Brilliant blue, has been known to cause hypersensitivity reactions[4]

Whereas FD&C Yellow, also known as Tartrazine, has been found to be contaminated with carcinogens. [5]

Although not all animal crackers may contain these artificial colors, checking the ingredients label before making a purchase is important.

Are Animal Crackers good for diabetics?

Animals Crackers are not good for diabetics as they are made from processed flour and contain added sugar and sweeteners, which can affect blood sugar levels.

Even if you go with whole grain-based animal crackers, it is important to check for other ingredients that might increase the risk.

Are Animal Crackers healthier than chips?

When compared nutritionally, animal crackers typically contain fewer calories, fat, and sodium than most chips. However, they also tend to have more sugar.

So while animal crackers may be slightly healthier than chips, they are not necessarily healthy for you.

Here is the nutrition comparison of animal crackers to some of the most popular chips.

Animal crackers(Stauffer)(30g)12072105<1
Per serving

Are Animal crackers gluten-free?

Animal crackers are not gluten-free as they are made up of wheat.

However, there are gluten-free crackers also available in the market.

But the Stauffer’s, Barnum’s and zoo animal crackers are not gluten-free.

Are Animal crackers vegan?

Generally, animal crackers are vegan as they don’t contain any animal-based ingredients.

However, it’s worth noting that animal crackers contain sugar which is not normally labelled as organic.

This raises the possibility that the sugar may have been processed using animal bone char, which is sometimes used in the refining process.

The use of animal bone char in sugar production is a controversial topic within the vegan community. 

While some vegans consider it non-vegan, others do not strictly adhere to it.

Final words

Despite their cute and cuddly appearance, it’s important to note that animal crackers are not a healthy snack option.

They are made using processed flour and often contain added sugar, which, if consumed excessively, can contribute to weight gain, obesity, and other health problems.

In addition, they are low in protein and fiber and sometimes packed with unhealthy ingredients.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them in moderation.

However, it’s best to look for animal crackers made with whole grain, low in sugar, and containing natural ingredients.

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Yatender is the founder of Investohealth! He provides thoroughly researched, unbiased reviews analyzing packaged foods' ingredients, nutrition, and health impacts. Join him on a quest for healthier, more informed eating habits.

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