The snack that smiles back-with little nutritional value or appeal

Each Goldfish cracker is 2.5 calories. If you ate all of the Goldfish in this picture, you would be consuming 110 calories. (Photo Courtesy: WhatsInMyFood.com)

As high schoolers, we are still choosing Goldfish crackers over more adult snacks, such as fruit or granola. Ultimately, this is a choice between convenience and health. The fish-shaped crackers are addicting and I don’t know why. Nutritionally, the crackers provide nothing to their consumers, but parents are still buying Goldfish in bulk.

There are thirty kinds of Goldfish sold in stores. Each one artificially flavored in its own way, calling itself “cheese.” I would consider Goldfish as more of a cheese product than as cheese itself.

I reviewed the nutrition label of the original Goldfish cracker. The ingredients are as follows:

MADE WITH SMILES AND UNBLEACHED ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR [FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID], CHEDDAR CHEESE [(PASTEURIZED CULTURED MILK, SALT, ENZYMES), ANNATTO], VEGETABLE OILS (SUNFLOWER, CANOLA AND/OR SOYBEAN), CONTAINS 2 PERCENT OR LESS OF: SALT, YEAST, SUGAR, SPICES, AUTOLYZED YEAST, LEAVENING (MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE, AMMONIUM BICARBONATE, BAKING SODA) AND ONION POWDER.

Note the purposefully vague ingredient: vegetable oils. This type of oil contains GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Many countries have banned GMOs, however, the US allows GMOs in food despite the potential toxicity and allergenic concerns. In addition to the genetically modified organisms that make up the Goldfish cracker, autolyzed yeast is also an ingredient that needs attention. This form of yeast is a type of MSG, which is commonly found in highly processed foods. This ingredient can cause cellular brain damage and induce processing disabilities.

Parents should be cautious of the food they give their children. Although convenient, Goldfish should not be bought for children or teens if the individual cannot eat the addicting crackers in moderation. One serving size of Goldfish is 55 pieces. This is what 55 pieces looks like:

Kreis_healthyfood

This group of 55 crackers provides the consumer with 140 calories, 45 from fat, 250mg of sodium, along with 0% vitamin A and 0% vitamin C.

Compare this to one serving size (one cup) of strawberries. The yummy, nutritional snack contains 50 calories, 0g of fat, 0mg of sodium and 160% vitamin C.

Although kids are not necessarily worried about their calorie intake, it is important to provide children with healthy alternatives, in hopes of breaking them from the unhealthy habit.

Americans choose quantity over quality, sacrificing their health to save a dollar. It is no secret that healthy food, such as organic options, are far more expensive than the bargain brand 24-pack of canned peaches. Not everyone is financially able to shop at Whole Foods, however, it is possible to choose healthy, GMO and MSG free snack options.

A bite into a Goldfish is anything but satisfying, nutritionally speaking. Goldfish only contain one “cheese” ingredient, and it is not even one of the main ingredients. A bite into a Nacho Cheese Dorito is much more satisfying than a Goldfish, and, at 140 calories per serving, is actually healthier, too. The Dorito also contains more than one cheese type: cheddar and romano. I can only speak for myself when I say that Goldfish do not have much flavor and definitely not a strikingly cheesy flavor. You know when you put into a juicy peach and it is just so…refreshing? Well, in addition to the satisfying taste, a peach, and other fruits and vegetables, are also healthier for you than a boring, old Goldfish.

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