I love Ryvita. They’ve been a staple part of my diet for many years and I know they’re super low in calories – but, are Ryvita healthy? I’ve always kind of assumed they are but then someone else asked me and I decided to find out for sure… so here’s the answer to the question is Ryvita good for you.
What are Ryvita?
They’re crackers, that’s probably not a big surprise, but do you know what they are actually made from?
The answer is a grain called rye. When it’s growing it looks a lot like a grass, but it’s actually a member of the wheat family. Naturally rye is a darker grain than wheat, which is what gives Ryvita its dark brown colour (yep, that’s all natural).
Rye and wheat are related, but, if you compare the two, rye is digested more slowly by the body and therefore causes a slower release of insulin and keeps you fuller for longer than the same size wheat cracker might.
The only other ingredient in the original Ryvita cracker (now handily called The Original) is salt. Anything with just a few ingredients usually scores well in the ‘is it healthy?’ scale – and this is no exception!
Admittedly, salt is something we should be limiting, but at just 58mg of sodium per two crackers, you’re not going to exceed the amount 2400g of sodium allowed a day.
Ryvita also has no saturated fat.
So far, yes it’s looking like Ryvita is healthy… so, let’s look at some more specific questions.
How Many Calories Are In Ryvita?
In the UK at least, Ryvita is associated with weight loss and so you might be wondering how many calories Ryvita contains. One of the facts cluttering up my brain is this answer. I know it without even having to look it up – and the answer is there are 35 calories per slice in The Original Ryvita.
Of course, most of us don’t just eat dry Ryvita – we add things to it and that’s when the calories go up.
A Ryvita with 1 teaspoon of butter will go up to 68 calories
Add 1 teaspoon of peanut butter and you’re looking at 100 calories
25g of cheese and a Ryvita has 135 calories
1 teaspoon of Mayonnaise on top of a Ryvita (guilty as charged your Honour) has 65
If you are watching your calories and wondering if Ryvita is good for weight loss, then the answer is it can be – if you don’t load it with high-fat, high-sugar or high-calorie toppings.
What About Points and Syns™?
If you’re on another type of weight loss plan this might be more important than calories and according to the two calculators I tried, The Original Ryvita contains one Weight Watchers Smart Point™.
The only truly accurate way to find out how many Slimming World Syns™ in a product is to use the online calculator you have access to via your group, but, if you don’t have that according to the rough calculation that 1 Slimming World Syn™ equals 20 calories, there would be 1.5 Slimming World Syns™ in a Ryvita. This also works if you use the other suggested way to estimate a Syn which is fat content plus carb content divided by three.
Is Ryvita a High-Fibre Food?
Ryvita uses wholegrain rye flour. That means it uses all of the grain rather than stripping off the fibre-filled outer husk.
According to the British Dietetic Association, to be called a High Fibre Food, an item must contain 6g of fibre per 100g of food – Ryvita smashes this with 15.2g of fibre per 100g in the Original Variety (and a bit more in some other types) so yes, without a doubt, you can class Ryvita as a high fibre foods.
Most of us won’t eat 100g of Ryvita though – that would be 10 slices which is a bit excessive (one serving is 2 slices), so, just remember that each slice has 1.5g of fibre- and you need about 30g a day for health. One serving of Ryvita will therefore provide a tenth of your daily fibre needs.
Is Ryvita Gluten-Free?
No – because rye is a member of the wheat family it does contain gluten and so it’s not suitable for anyone on a gluten-free diet.
However, rye is not wheat and so, if you have issues with wheat rather than gluten, you can eat it. Ryvita does point out that their product is made in a factory that also makes wheat products.
Ryvita is also dairy free.
Is Ryvita Low-Carb?
Compared to an egg or some chicken, no… but, I guess you know that.
There is one gram of protein in each Original Ryvita, but they are still mostly carbohydrates – each slice as 6.6g of carbs.
They do contain fewer carbs than a slice of bread however – 1 slice of rye bread has 15g of carb – and so, one for one it would make a lower carb swap. And, they could fit into a low-carb diet if you only eat a few of them.
If you’re counting net carbs, one Ryvita contains 5.1g of net carbs.
As you’ll see below, some of the newer varieties of Ryvita do contain a higher protein percentage.
Is Ryvita Filling?
Any high-fibre food is going to be filling – but, as carb-based food it’s also important to consider the GI rating of a food to determine if it’s going to fill you up or not.
GI stands for glycemic index and it measures how fast (compared to normal table sugar) a food turns to the sugar glucose in the body – the lower the number the better.
Ryvita has a GI of 64 – this makes it a moderate GI food. However, as you don’t usually eat Ryvita alone, you could lower the GI of the meal itself, by adding a little fat or protein which will slow down how fast it’s absorbed even further.
Some of the newer Ryvita varieties also include seeds – this automatically adds more protein and fat and that would further slow down the speed at which they turn to sugar – but, remember, they’ll also have slightly more calories. One slice of Ryvita with Pumpkin Seeds and Oats, for example, has 44 calories.
The Verdict – Is Ryvita Healthy?
Looking at all of the above, you can come to the conclusion that, yes, Ryvita is healthy which means you might be wondering…
Should You Swap Bread for Ryvita?
It will help you cut calories. A slice of normal brown bread has around 90 calories, a slice of white bread has around 67 calories – you can have two Original Ryvita for that which psychologically will feel more filling (and, will probably be physically more filling than the white bread).
It’s also going to be higher in fibre than a white bread – a slice of this only has around 0.6g of fibre.
However, saying that, it’s also important to keep your diet as varied as possible. It’s now suggested that we should be eating at least 30 different plant-based foods a week – and yes, things made from grains count as plant-based – and so it’s a bad idea to focus all your intake on one food even if it is as healthy as Ryvita.
Mix up Ryvita and other wholegrain types of breads and cracker.
Are Ryvita and Rye Crispbreads the Same Thing?
Pretty much yes – Ryvita is the brand name, but you’ll also find similar products called rye crispbreads, rye crackers or rye crisps. Even Ryvita themselves refer to themselves as Crunchy Rye Breads!
While they might not be exactly the same, if other crispbreads are made from wholegrain rye – and just one or two other ingredients, you’re also looking at a healthy cracker. I’m pretty sure the ones above aren’t Ryvita but they look almost the same.
Wholewheat crackers made from whole grain flour are also good for you. Less healthy crackers don’t use wholegrain flour or add ingredients like vegetable or palm oil which obviously ups the calories and the fat intake.
Which Ryvita is Healthiest?
While they haven’t made it to every country yet, there are now a whole load of different Ryvita crispbreads in the UK – and so you might be wondering which is best to pick. Health aside, I think my favourite from when I used to live in the UK is the Sweet Onion ones – they’re amazing with hummus (a bit too amazing possibly!). But, here’s how the range stacks up…
The Lowest in Calories is the Dark Rye Variety which has 34 calories a slice
The Highest in Calories is the Pumpkin Seed and Oat which has 45 calories a slice. If you have a sweet tooth, the Fruit Crunch with Currant, Seed and Oat is also 45 calories a slice.
The Highest in Fibre is the Pumpkin Seed and Oat which has 2.1g a slice. All the varieties count as high fibre though.
The Highest in Protein is a tie! The new Protein boosted range sees the rye flour boosted with pea protein and the Chia Seed and Buckwheat and the Red Quinoa and Sesame now contain 2.2g of protein – twice as much as the Original Rye.
The Highest in Fat is the Chia Seed and Buckwheat variety which has 0.4g of fat – although, because this comes from the chia seeds it’s most healthy unsaturated fats and so, you shouldn’t worry too much about that.
The Lowest in Carbs are two of the products in the protein boosted range. Pick the Red Quinoa and Sesame or the Linseed and Nigella Seed and there’s just 5g of carbs a slice – compared to the 6.7g in The Original.
How Many Ryvita For Lunch?
So, now you’ve decided that Ryvita is good for you, you might be wondering how many you should eat in one go – well, a standard serving is 2 crackers – but, considering Public Health England say we should be aiming for lunch of around 600 calories, you’re either going to need to increase that number or, serve something else with it.
Let’s assume you’re adding 50-100 calories worth of topping to the cracker you’d be looking at 4-5 crackers – add a big salad to that and you’ve got a pretty healthy lunch.
Or, have 3-4 crackers with topping and add some vegetable soup – ideally homemade as canned tends to be very high in salt.
If you’re cutting calories, you might need to drop that amount down a bit – on a 1400 calorie a day diet, you might want to aim for 400 calories for lunch and make it 2-3 crackers with salad.
If I’m having a Ryvita-based lunch, I’ll normally have 2-3 topped crackers – making sure the topping is something high protein to help keep me fuller – and some olives, cherry tomatoes or crunchy carrot sticks on the side.
10 Interesting & Healthy Toppings for Ryvita
I will eat Ryvita ‘naked’ – but normally. it’s served with toppings – and if you’re looking for some ideas of things to add to yours, it’s time to think outside the box.
Some interesting ideas for Ryvita toppings see you using fruit, herbs, spices, sauces and clever taste combinations and while we tend to think about Ryvita toppings being savoury, you can also go sweet – especially if you want to use them as a healthy afternoon snack (stick to 1-2 crackers if you do this).
Basically, if you can put it into a sandwich, you can also put it on a Ryvita – you’ll just need to watch how many layers you’re adding as, obviously, you can’t squash down the crackers like you can a bread roll.
Here’s 10 interesting and/or healthy toppings to consider…
Crabsticks and Apple
Get some crabsticks or small cooked prawns and mix these with small pieces of chopped apple and 1 tsp of Light Mayonnaise or creme fraiche. It also works with celery, cucumber or pears.
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
It’s a classic for a reason. Smoked salmon is a source of omega-3 fats that we should all be eating more of. Add some light cream cheese and you’ll have a very filling lunch – just watch the sodium as smoked salmon can be high in this.
Spicy Chicken and Mango
Use leftover roast or grilled chicken breast. Chop this into small cubes and then add some small cubes of mango. Mix with a little sweet chilli sauce or Siracha. This also works well with roast beef.
Why should toast have all the fun! Smash some avocado in a bowl, then spread it on top of the Ryvita (squashing the avocado directly onto the crispbread can lead to cracking and crumbs!) then add some feta or sundried tomatoes. Or, a dash of salsa or coriander gives it a nachos kind of feel.
Add 1 tablespoon of Greek yoghurt and top with some sliced strawberries or 1 teaspoon of low-sugar jam.
You can also spread the Ryvita with jam and add a blob of cottage cheese. Or, if you’re not worried about fat content, try coconut yoghurt or even real cream!
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Why keep it for sandwiches? 1 teaspoon of sugar-free peanut butter and top with low-sugar jelly or jam. You can also add slices of banana.
Slice some mozarella into flat pieces, then add tomato – and if you want to really zhush it up, some fresh basil and a tiny drizzle of olive oil .
Peanut Butter and Chicken
Don’t mock it until you’ve tried it! Spread the Ryvita with low-sugar peanut butter and add sliced chicken on the top. Sprinkle with some chopped coriander. You can also add some sliced cucumber.
Okay, it’s only a fraction of the ingredients of a good Bahn Mi, but you can’t get all of that on a cracker so…
Spread the Ryvita with some pate, then add some grated carrot, fresh coriander and a tiny dash of Maggi sauce
Sardines and Rocket
We should aim to eat 2 servings of oily fish a week, and this is a great way to do it. Just get a can of sardines in tomato sauce and mash them (it’s okay to eat the soft bones in sardines, they’re a great source of calcium). Top the Ryvita with the fish mix, then add rocket to provide a little spice.
If you’re looking for more topping ideas, then check out Ryvita.co.uk who have heaps.
5 Other Ways to Use Ryvita
While the most common way to use Ryvita is to add toppings to it, you can also use it in a few other ways.
Use it instead of tortilla chips to scoop up dip – just break it into chunks.
Use it instead of bread for croutons in soup on on salads.
Use it instead of toast – it speeds up cooking things like cheese on toast as you already have a crunchy base. You can also dip them into boiled eggs if you snap them into strips.
Pop a Ryvita or two into a bag and roll over them with a rolling pin. This will create crumbs that you can use to create a crispy coat on foods like salmon or lamb chops.
There’s even a recipe for Ferrero Rocher style chocolates made with Nutella on the Ryvita website. It just sees you crushing five Ryvita (as per the above or in a food processor) and mixing it with 2 tablespoons of slightly warm Nutella. Form them into balls, pop them into cases and chill until they turn solid.
Yeh, I’m not sure that last one comes into the healthy category, but it sounds too good for me to care! If you’ll excuse me, I need to go buy some chocolate spread! Oh, and if you did want to make it healthier, have a look at this review of the healthier chocolate spread from Diablo which I think would work just as well in the recipe above, but has less sugar.
But, before I go – if I haven’t answered all your questions about whether Ryvita is healthy and good for you please drop your question below and I’ll try and get the answer for you.