Are Whole Grain Goldfish Healthier Than Regular Goldfish?

February 14, 2012   22 Comments

Have you checked out your local cracker aisle? At last count, there were ELEVEN different bags of Goldfish!

Whole Grain Goldfish Healthy

Wow! That is crazy, no? baby, cheddar, colors, pretzel,......

A very sweet high school student and reader of Snack Girl sent me a question on these funny crackers. From Chelsea:

so me and a lot of my friends love Goldfish...the snack that smiles back even pleases high school seniors :) So I was wondering if you would do a review on them. Especially the whole grain ones, are they truly healthier? Thanks, Snack Girl!

What? Whole grain? Even baked and shaped snack crackers are becoming whole grain. The world is changing. So, I thought this was a good question and went out and purchased these crackers (and my kids love them).

If you blindfolded me and fed me these two different species of Goldfish - I would not be able to tell you that they were different. To me, they tasted exactly the same. And, I found out that they are "soup crackers" - isn't that cute? Fish to swim in your soup!

Here is the label for the "regular" Goldfish. There is 150 calories for 55 Goldfish (4 Points+).


Here is the label for the Whole Grain Goldfish. There is 140 calories for 55 Goldfish (4 Points+).


The most important thing to remember about "Whole Grain" marketing is that just because it says it is whole grain - it does NOT mean that it is 100% whole grain. So, the Whole Grain Goldfish has both WHOLE wheat flour and regular wheat flour.

When I did my own cracker making experiments (see: DIY Whole Wheat Crackers), I found that using 100% whole wheat flour created crackers that had the consistency and taste of cardboard. Yuck.

I do not believe Pepperidge Farm is trying to trick you. I just think crackers are hard to make 100% whole grain because there is no yeast (like in bread) to lighten them up.

My analysis is that the "Whole Grain" is a bit better - it has fewer calories, more fiber, more protein and more iron per serving. They are both high in sodium so you want to stick to your one ounce portion or meticulously count out 55 fish (just kidding).

The ingredients are what you would expect in a packaged cracker (no big surprises) and they are quite a bit better for you than potato chips because they are not soaked in oil.

I think these would be a great replacement for Doritos, too - those bad boys have 35 ingredients, MSG, and artificial colors.

Still, I would add a piece of fresh fruit to my after school Goldfish snack. I'm not sure these would do the job all on their own.

What do you think of the Whole Grain Goldfish?

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Are Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers Healthy?

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Since this site is called "Snack Girl", I get a bunch of questions about crackers. Frankly, I am pretty lost in the cracker aisle myself...

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 22 )

We love Goldfish, so much so that we visit a Pepperidge Farm outlet store a few times a month. For my 4 year old it is mecca and she calls it the Goldfish Store. :) But with 3 kids in school and 1 at home they are a snack staple in my house and are so much better than some of the other snacks (like Doritos) my kids are always clamoring for me to buy. We experiment with the different flavors - have you tried the chocolate graham ones? Yummy! They also can swim in a nice bowl of soup. :)

Their chocolate and cinnamon varieties are made with whole grain too it's just not as marketed as much.

I only buy the whole grains ones. Not because I think they are that much healthier but because I want to send a message to brands that I am interested in more whole grain products. I hope brands will catch on, stop making 2 versions of things and simply default to using as much whole grain as possible.

It may be a futile attempt but it makes me feel good. :)

The problem with whole grain right now is for the company it is a marketing gimmick, and not to make a better product. I've seen different reports of the whole grain item actually having more bad stuff than the regular.

Thanks for the snack review! :) I'm pretty happy to hear the whole grain ones are atleast a little better choice...I like to scoop up natural applesauce with them for a snack

I made my own crackers using a combination of whole wheat flour and white whole wheat flour. That's the trick to making them not so dense. The recipe is here:… (and it's super easy!). You can even cut out little shapes if you have the cutters.

I like the whole grain chocolate and graham varieties. There's even a cupcake flavored whole grain one that's good too. I like to mix them up in some nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt and maybe a few slivered almonds to make it a filling treat. It's a great fix for a cookies and cream craving but a little better choice.

Not a big fan of gold fish crackers, I'd rather make my own, then I know whats in it. I think the recipe is like 5 ingredients, cheese, butter, flour, salt and water.

I grab a handful of gold fish crackers every so often and enjoy them. Moderation, even with gold fish. :) I don't like them enough have them every day. I'd rather have some deliciously sweet strawberries. ;)

My 3yo daughter gets a little cup of goldfish in her lunch everyday (very little, I don't even fill it up all the way). She loves them. I would like to try to make my own since I'm trying to steer away from processed foods (New Year's resolution). It would be great if you could share your recipe @Jennifer.

Also, @SnackGirl, I've really started to pay attention to sodium in processed foods and I'm wondering if you could answer a question. What is considered a "normal" sodium content? Is there a percentage of the Daily Value that we should look at or is it the milligram content? Thanks

@Janet - I have struggled with the sodium values. So, we are to have 2500 mg of sodium per day unless we are older - then the number goes to 1500 mg. I think it is important to keep in mind if the sodium source is nutrient rich or poor - Doritos vs. Vegetables with soy sauce. An RD friend of mine explained that what matters is to try not to eat too much processed food with sodium that contains zero nutrients. Does that make sense?

I never knew there was a whole grain version as I have never purchased these for my family. The Graham Cracker one sounds like a winner. I will have to remember to check them out!!! Thanks for this one Lisa :-)

I really like Goldfish Crackers & started buying them because they are made with unbleached flour and no corn (many cheese crackers have corn). They are a nice alternative to chips or can be combined with almonds or other goodies for a crunchy snack mix. The whole grain ones are a marketing gimmick, but I do usually opt for them.

@SnackGirl It does make sense (at least I think I got it). Sort of like empty calorie sodium vs. nutritious sodium. As long as there are good things included, a higher sodium is okay.

I recently purchased Green Giant frozen Rice Pilaf and was completely horrified by how much sodium was in it. 1290mg in one serving!! Even though there was rice and veggies in the product, the sodium content of the sauce was outrageous. I contacted the company to complain but got no response. Oh well.

so glad i read the comments.. i didn't know the chocolate were whole grain also, i've been only buying the whole grain ones in the picture because i thought the rest were not. my kids will be SO HAPPY they're always begging me to buy the other flavors!

We cook with fresh ingredients for the most part. Canned soup, stove top stuffing, rice a roni, boxed meal kits, frozen dinners, processed cheese products, packaged baked goods etc. are banned from our house. So we do a pretty good job of staying away from processed foods. I, however, love Goldfish. I don't buy them but once every couple of months and that isn't going to stop. I'm not even going to feel bad that I forego dinner once every couple of months to eat a double serving of these. Sure, I'll pick up the whole grain option from now on(didn't know about them) but, honestly, I would continue to eat the regular ones too. I don't eat a lot of junk so I'm not losing sleep over eating these.

The other comments, however, convince me to try the chocolate ones. I never would have considered it before!

Love this! I've been wondering the same thing!

My kids absolutely love Goldfish and I agree they are better than a lot of the snacks and crackers out there. We have tried the whole grain, but don't see much difference. I'm curious, have you checked out the colored ones or the pizza ones?

@Julia - I haven't checked them out - I bet they are all pretty similar. Thanks for your question!

Speaking of the colored ones -they are naturally colored-red ones with beet juice.Great idea unless you are highly allergic to beets like my family! I have learned a lot from having to read the laels more carefully.

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