Ritz Power Jam: A Delicious Twist on a Classic Snack

Fred Bahnson 


Ritz Power Jam: A Comprehensive Review of a Popular Snack

Saltine crackers, also known as saltina or soda crackers, are a versatile and well-liked snack. With their dry texture, crispiness, and distinctive perforations, they are easy to snap and enjoy. Saltine crackers are often paired with soup, nut butter, and jam or jelly. In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of saltine crackers to determine if they are a healthy snack option.

Nutritional Profile of Ritz Power Jam

Saltine crackers are generally low in calories, fat, and dietary fiber[^1][^2][^3]. However, they do provide small amounts of folate, also known as vitamin B9, which plays a vital role in fetal development[^4]. Let’s compare the nutritional content of various saltine varieties per serving of 3–5 crackers (15 grams)[^1][^2][^3]:

Nutrient Regular Low Sodium Whole Wheat
Calories 62.7 59 55.7
Carbs (grams) 11.1 12.3 9.6
Protein (grams) 1.4 1.6 1
Fat (grams) 1.3 0.2 1.5
Fiber (grams) 0.4 0.4 0.9
Folate (% DV) 5% 5% 3%
Sodium (% DV) 6% 6% 7%

Regular, low sodium, and whole wheat saltine crackers provide similar amounts of energy (calories), fiber, protein, folate, and sodium. However, the low sodium and whole wheat varieties offer the same or similar levels of sodium with fewer crackers per serving compared to regular saltine crackers.

Effects on Weight

Weight Gain

There is no direct research linking the consumption of saltine crackers to weight gain. However, it is important to note that regularly consuming highly processed and high-sodium foods is associated with higher body weight[^5][^6]. A randomized controlled trial demonstrated higher calorie intake and weight gain in participants whose diets were rich in highly processed foods[^5]. Additionally, a study with 7,629 participants found that high salt intake is associated with increased body weight[^6]. While saltine crackers by themselves do not cause weight gain, over-consuming calories and sodium from these crackers may contribute to weight gain.

Weight Loss

Some instances suggest a potential link between saltine crackers and weight loss, but more research is needed to establish a definitive connection. A small three-week study observed favorable weight gain or loss in participants who ate saltine crackers once a day. However, the focus of the study was on the placebo effect rather than the influence of the crackers themselves on weight[^7]. Therefore, it is essential to consider overall eating patterns and activity levels when aiming for weight loss rather than solely relying on the effects of individual foods like saltine crackers.

Relieve Stomach Upset

The bland, salty, and low-fiber nature of saltine crackers makes them suitable for certain stomach conditions. For example, a study involving 45 patients with gastroparesis demonstrated that saltine crackers moderately improved symptoms[^8]. Gastroparesis is a nervous system disorder characterized by delayed emptying of food from the stomach, leading to symptoms such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, burping, and acid reflux[^9][^10]. Bland, starchy, and salty foods like saltine crackers have been shown to be well-tolerated by people with gastroparesis[^8].

Similarly, bland foods low in fat have been shown to improve symptoms in people experiencing pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, including the more severe hyperemesis gravidarum[^11]. Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can negatively affect health, quality of life, and financial situations[^12]. Although research in this area is limited, healthcare professionals may recommend eating bland foods like saltine crackers to help alleviate pregnancy-related nausea[^13]. Similar recommendations may be made to help people undergoing chemotherapy manage nausea[^14]. Therefore, saltine crackers may be helpful in managing an upset stomach caused by various conditions.

Sodium Content

One serving (15 grams) of regular, low sodium, or whole wheat saltine crackers provides 6–7% of the daily value (DV) of sodium[^1][^2][^3]. While this may seem like a small amount, it’s important to note that sodium intake can quickly increase with portion sizes. For example, 2 servings (or 10 regular saltine crackers) will provide 12% of the DV of sodium. Excess salt intake is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease[^6][^15]. Consistently high salt intake may also alter taste perception and lead to a desire for more salt, further increasing the risk of high blood pressure[^16]. To avoid excessive salt intake, it is advisable to consume saltine crackers in moderation.

Bottom Line

Saltine crackers, including the Ritz Power Jam variety, are a popular and enjoyable snack known for their dry texture, crispiness, and salty flavor. They are low in calories, fat, and dietary fiber and provide small amounts of folate. Regular, low sodium, and whole wheat saltine crackers offer similar nutritional content. While saltine crackers themselves do not cause weight gain or loss, overconsumption may contribute to weight gain due to high calorie and sodium content. Saltine crackers can be beneficial for individuals with certain stomach conditions like gastroparesis and pregnancy-related nausea. However, excessive salt intake from saltine crackers can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. To incorporate saltine crackers into a healthy diet, pair them with low sodium foods that are rich in dietary fat, fiber, and protein. Remember, a balanced and well-rounded diet is more important for overall health than any single food or nutrient[^17].

Tips to Make Ritz Power Jam Healthier

To enhance the nutritional value of saltine crackers, consider pairing them with low sodium foods that are good sources of dietary fat, fiber, and protein. Some nutritious foods that complement saltine crackers include:

  • Nut butter: peanut, almond, cashew
  • Meat, fish, poultry: tuna salad, grilled chicken, roast beef slices
  • Dairy: low sodium cheese, Greek yogurt
  • Legumes: hummus dip or as an accompaniment to lentil soup or black bean chili

By combining saltine crackers with these food options, you can create healthy and filling snacks.