Are Japanese Rice Crackers Healthy? (See kcal & Net Carbs)

Japanese rice crackers are one of the most commonly consumed snacks in the world and although there is no doubt that they are one of the tastiest snacks around, have you ever wondered if they are as healthy as they taste?

We love Japanese rice crackers as much as you do and we wanted to find out everything there is to know about how healthy they are. Know the right information can make our rice cracker snacking sessions free of any guilt. So here we are, sharing our findings with you!

In general, Japanese rice crackers are a healthy snack alternative. They are low in calories, provide carbohydrates and have a small amount of protein. Rice crackers often come in flavors such as seaweed, sesame seeds, and seafood to provide additional health benefits.

They are also packaged in smaller portions, which works as an incentive to help people with portion control. 

The easiest way to have an idea of the nutritional value of a food is to know its ingredients.

For Japanese rice crackers, the most basic ingredients are rice flour, salt, and oil. Beyond this, the contents can vary widely as there are so many types, shapes, and sizes of rice crackers.

This provides an opportunity for you to choose the type that best fits your healthy eating plan and it is also the key secret to enjoying Japanese rice crackers in the healthiest possible way.

Read along to have a clear idea of the nutritional contents of Japanese rice crackers and some very useful insider knowledge on Japanese rice crackers that will help you to make the healthiest choices.

 

Rice Crackers - Nutritional Content and Comparison:

 

Calories

Protein

Fat

Carbohydrate

Sugars

Thin Rice crackers (Baked)

(1 piece) (5g)

 

 

19 kcal

 

 

0.1 g

 

 

0.1 g

 

 

4.2 g

 

 

4.2 g

Thick Rice crackers

(Baked)

(1 piece) (15g)

 

 

56 kcal

 

 

1.2 g

 

 

0.2 g

 

 

12.5 g

 

 

12.4 g

Deep-fried rice crackers

(1 piece) (10g)

 

47 kcal

 

0.6 g

 

1.8 g

 

7.1 g

 

7.0 g

Recommended Daily Intake

 

 

 

 

 

Male

2650 kcal

60.0 g

73.6 g

364.0 g

344 g

Female

2000 kcal

50.0 g

54.8 g

271.0 g

253 g

 

As we have mentioned before, popular store-bought Japanese rice crackers are usually packed as one or two slices. Therefore, it is better to have an idea of the contents of one slice or piece of rice cracker.

As thin rice crackers have less dough, they are low in calories, whereas deep-fried rice crackers have a higher fat content than the baked ones and consequently, more calories.

As you can see, the calories and carbohydrates in a slice of rice cracker are not that high, so as long as you eat them mindfully, they have no harmful effects on your health.

The three most common types of Japanese rice crackers are Senbei, Okaki, and Arare.

Let’s take a quick look at how they differ in terms of nutritional value.

 

Rice Cracker Type Calories Net Carbs
Senbei (100 g) 190 kcal 40.3 g
Okaki (100 g) 283 kcal 42.7 g
Arare (100 g) 292 kcal 44.3 g

  

  • Senbei is made from non-glutinous rice (Uruchi rice), whereas Okaki and Arare are made from glutinous rice (Mochi rice).

  • Glutinous rice and non-glutinous rice do not have a significant difference in their non-cooked form but, what’s interesting, is that glutinous rice has significantly higher calories and carbohydrates per 100g after they have been cooked.

  • Moreover, Senbei is usually made by baking or grilling, whereas Okaki and Arare are made by deep-frying which also brings about a difference in their calorie and fat contents - making Senbei the healthier option.

 

Nutritional contents of rice crackers based on Flavour: 

Rice Cracker Flavour Calories Net Carbs
Shoyu (soy sauce) 56 kcal 12.4 g
Shio (salt) 56 kcal 8.0 g
Nori (seaweed) 64 kcal 1.0 g
Zarame (sugar) 91 kcal 7.0 g
Sesame 56 kcal 0.0 g 
Curry 43 kcal 1.0 g
Cheese 50 kcal 2.0 g
Shrimp 47 kcal 5.6 g

 All calories and carbohydrates per piece (10-15g)

 

As you can see, there is not much of a difference in terms of calories and Net Carbs depending on the flavor, except for the type that is sprinkled with sugar granules and is a very popular type of rice cracker in Japan called "Zarame”.

One important factor to keep in mind when choosing the flavor of rice crackers is the Salt or Sodium content.

Most Japanese rice crackers have a savory taste and some of them might have a higher Sodium content than the others. If you are worried about the salt content, it is best to look for labels that say “low salt (Usu shio, うす塩)”.

Another thing to consider is the additional ingredients such as seaweed, sesame seeds, and seafood.

The inclusion of these ingredients in the rice crackers means they are often replacing the carbohydrate content, which makes them lower in calories and carbs.

Moreover, the additional ingredients make them a good source of varied nutritional elements.

For example, seaweed is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and protective antioxidants.

Sesame seeds are a good source of fiber, plant proteins, and B vitamins. You get the idea!

 

Japanese Rice Crackers Compared To Other Snacks

Rice Cracker Flavour Calories Net Carbs
Senbei (1 piece) 40 kcal 8.7 g
Cake (1 slice) 327 kcal 43.0 g
Cookie (1 slice) 93 kcal 8.0 g
Chocolate (1 piece) 122 kcal 11.4 g

 

Japanese rice crackers, especially baked Senbei with additional healthy ingredients and lightly flavored ones are lower in calories and sugars compared to other snacks.


Pairing beverages with Japanese Rice Crackers

Another interesting thing to note is what kind of drink these snacks are often paired with.

Japanese rice crackers usually go well with beverages such as green tea whereas cakes and cookies go well with tea and coffee. Japanese green tea is rich in antioxidants, contains healthy bioactive compounds, increases the burning of fat, and is enjoyed without milk or sugar.

Therefore Japanese rice crackers indirectly work as an incentive to make your daily tea-time or snack-time healthier.

 

Japanese Rice Crackers Serving Size

Another less-obvious factor that makes Japanese rice crackers a healthier snack choice is the way they are packaged.

Japanese cuisine is known for consisting of small portions and it is reflected in the manufacturing of Japanese snacks. When you sit with a bag of chips, you do not eat just one potato chip.

Who wants the rest of the bag to go stale!

But Japanese rice crackers come in one or two slices packaged in singular packets. This means when you open one packet and have 1 - 2 crackers, and it is easier to control yourself from reaching for a new packet.

...Most of the time.

Even the smaller rice crackers such as Okaki and Arare are packaged in smaller portions compared to snacks outside of Japan.

You might be wondering if there are Japanese rice crackers that are made specially to be a healthy snack?

The answer is yes! Below, we introduce you to a few of them.

 

Healthy Japanese rice cracker products and Brands

1. Arimoto Organic Brown Rice Plus Mekabu Rice Crackers

These rice crackers are made with 100% organic brown rice and Japanese seaweed (Mekabu). Brown rice is rich in dietary fiber and Magnesium and is healthier than white rice.

 

Buy Arimoto Organic Brown Rice Crackers with Worldwide Shipping here!

 

2. LOHACO Reset Body Millet Rice Cracker Seaweed & Salt Flavor

The dough of this Senbei has been made with multiple nutrient-dense grains such as germinated brown rice, barley, black rice, black sesame, black beans, etc., and has been baked instead of being fried.

It is impressively low in calories (5kcal per slice) and contains collagen and fiber, which are very good for your skin.

 

Buy Reset Body Rice Cracker Flavor with Worldwide Shipping here!

 

3. SANKO Parinko Rice Crackers Low Salt version

Sanko Confectionary’s Parinko rice crackers are one of the most popular rice cracker products in Japan and this is their low-salt version.

In addition to having 25% less salt than the original version, it has Potassium which helps to balance the Sodium level in the body.

Perfect for people especially those with high blood pressure who might be worried about the salt content of rice crackers.

 

Buy SANKO Rice Crackers Low Salt with Worldwide Shipping here!

 

4. Daishin-Foods Kcaleat Konjac Rice crackers

Konjac (Konnyaku in Japanese) is a starch derived from the Konjac plant and it contains almost no calories but is rich in fiber.

This rice cracker has been made with 10% Konjac and hence is extremely low in calories, but still retaining the crispy texture of rice crackers. It also comes in many exciting flavors such as Dashi, Wasabi, Plum, and Seaweed.

 

Buy Konjac Rice crackers with Worldwide Shipping here!

 

5. DHC Healthy Rice Cracker with Okara

Okara is pulp from soy or tofu dredge consisting of the insoluble parts of soybean.

It is low in fat and high in protein, calcium, and dietary fiber. These thin rice crackers are baked instead of fried and made with glutinous Uruchi rice (low in calories) and okara.

Also, when consumed with an ample amount of water, the dietary fiber in the Okara of these crackers absorb moisture and keeps you full for a longer period.

 

Buy DHC Healthy Rice Cracker with Worldwide Shipping here!

 

The takeaway:

Japanese rice crackers are healthier than many other snacks and even more so if you choose the right type and consume the right amount.

If you want to go the extra mile and buy the special types of Japanese rice crackers with added health benefits, that option is available too! 

 


There are many Japanese snacks out there in the world, and it's hard to keep track of them all.

We want you to be able to try every flavor that Japan has to offer! That is why we have created a subscription box service for our favorite treats from Japan.

Every month, your ZenPop Sweets Pack will bring you an assortment of everything from popular treats like KitKat, Pocky, and gummies - to new trends such as Dorayaki pancakes or Matcha flavored candies. Every month we handpick an amazing variety of sweet snacks that are hard to find outside Japan so that every month is a surprise!

Article| 15/04/2021 | Japanese food