Do bears you-know-what
in the woods? Zig is no exception to the rule: he loves
crackers. Unfortunately, virtually all name-brand crackers are made
with partly hydrogenated oils as well as a plethora of salt. Food made
with partly hydrogenated oil can hardly be considered fit for human
consumption, let alone parrot consumption--notwithstanding the fact that the
FDA has allowed it to be foisted upon us all these years. Thankfully, the
FDA has finally mandated that artificial trans-fats be eliminated from
processed foods, but that won't be effective until 2018.
Until recently, if you
wanted a cracker without such oils, you had to go to a "health" food
stores or a large supermarket with a "health" food department. Even
Wal-Mart® carries a few healthier items, like Kashi® brand crackers (about $2
for an 8 ounce box.) Kashi products are decently low in fat, have at
least some whole grain, and have no partly hydrogenated fat. If you get
the cheese-flavored Kashi crackers, hide them from your bird! They are
addictive. Triscuits®, surprisingly enough, now come in a whole grain
version without hydrogenated oils. Check out the Center for Science
in the Public Interest website on the trans-fat issue (visit the CSPI at http://www.cspinet.org/).
When it comes to such
foods, we have to be concerned about salt content, fat content itself, the type
of fat, as well as the presence or absence of phytonutrients in the product.
Whole-grain products will possess more phytonutrients. My advice, if you insist
on consuming crackers, chips, or related products, is to buy something that is,
if not “healthy” per se, is at least “less unhealthy,” and keep that on hand to
give your bird while you are feasting on whatever your bird can’t have. For
instance, I keep some no-salt-added Garden of Eatin’ blue corn chips on hand so
that my bird can be psychologically pleased by communal eating of our “flock.” Those
chips do contain too much oil, but, at least, the grain is not only whole-grain,
it is blue corn, which contains phytonutrients I like having in my diet. And,
of course, the only sodium in the product is whatever was naturally present in
the corn. And, there’s no trans-fat. http://www.gardenofeatin.com/product/?product=1037&category=695
crackers--like those available at Whole Foods--have too much fat in them.
Look at the picture [below] of crackers on green paper; they are Whole Foods'
own branded crackers given a few hours for the oil to leach out. The
fact that it is not trans-fat in this case does not take away from the fact
that it IS fat, and we don’t want extra fat in our diets. You can't deny
your bird an occasional snack; I don’t see this on the corn chips, but
crackers, if you can find some decent ones, will leach a lot of their fat out
if you store them in a paper towel, so keep a few handy inside a paper towel if
you insist on letting your bird have a nibble.
Regarding sodium intake,
you have to be careful about reading labels, because food makers select an
arbitrary "serving size" for nutritional information, and,
to make the sodium content appear lower, they often select an
unrealistically small serving size. What is important is the amount of
sodium per ounce, not per serving. A good example is Vinta crackers, made
by Dare Foods. The label states only 110 mg per serving, but a
closer examination reveals that their serving size is only 13
gm. Who among us has enough willpower to eat only 2
crackers? Examine the chart above, and you will be shocked to discover
that the least salty crackers in the list are Triscuits®.
Kashi has made additions
to their TLC line ("Tasty Little Crackers"). The fire-roasted
vegetable flavor--small crackers in a 9 ounce box (upc 0 18627 61005 2)--and the roasted garlic
and thyme flavor--a larger cracker in a 6 ounce box (upc 0 18627 61008 3)--are both delicious.
The large crackers are especially addictive but, alas, more
expensive per ounce. Another alas: they seem to get stale more
quickly. [Most of Kashi's other products are 100% whole grain.]