Are Goldfish Crackers Good Or Bad For Kids? Are They A Healthy Snack? 

Goldfish crackers

Looking for a yummy, but a wholesome snack for your munchkins? Need ready information on whether Goldfish crackers are nutritious or high in calories and sugar? 

You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will decode all aspects of Goldfish crackers. You may question if Goldfish crackers are good for your kids. 

We say they are just passable. They aren’t the healthiest food you can feed them. At most, they are a little better than some other snacks. They don’t use artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. There are also Goldfish varieties with added vegetable extracts.

A non-GMO range is also available. This could be more beneficial.  Most flavors also have added vitamins and minerals. 

But at the end of the day, Goldfish crackers are still junk food. They aren’t natural or organic. The processed ingredients, oils, sodium, and taste enhancers are unwholesome. They can be fattening and lead to lifestyle diseases in the long term.

Stick to fruits, vegetables, and other fresh, balanced meals. Sometimes your little one does crave a treat. Goldfish can be a fairly decent option at such times. Read on to get a better idea of the pros and cons of this snack. 

Goldfish crackers ingredients

There are a dizzying variety of cracker flavors and types. The ingredients below are common to all.  

Enriched wheat flour 

The base ingredient is fortified with minerals and vitamins. 

Vegetable oils 

Sunflower, soybean, or canola oils are binding agents. 


Natural taste enhancers like paprika, cheese, molasses, and chocolate. 


Plant-derived colorants like beetroots, watermelon, carrots, and turmeric. 

Goldfish nutrition facts

These are the average dietary facts across ranges, per serving. 


Content ranges from 2.5- 5.0 mg.  


Salt content is between 230-240 mg. 

Vitamins and Minerals 

Goldfish crackers are enriched with Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B9. They also contain iron, calcium, and potassium. 

How many calories are in Goldfish crackers? 

Goldfish crackers contain 130-150 calories per serving. Each serving is about 30-60 pieces. And each packet offers 5-6 servings. This means the total calories in one bag are about 600-750 calories.

The average person’s daily calorie requirement is about 2500-3000 calories depending on gender and occupation. For toddlers, the average daily calorie intake is around 1000-1400 calories. So, one serving of Goldfish crackers can make up as high as 10%-15% of the daily calorie needs.

It may be a good idea to restrict your serving to toddlers to maybe half a serving a day so that they get the rest of their nutrition from more natural sources like fruits and vegetables.

How many carbs are in Goldfish crackers?

Goldfish crackers come in several pack sizes (2 ounces, 0.9 ounces, and 6.6-ounce packs). The 6.6-ounce pack contains about 20 grams of carbohydrates while the 2-ounce pack contains about 38 grams of carbs.

Why are Goldfish crackers so addicting? 

Goldfish crackers can be addictive for many reasons. It is very moreish, with a range of yummy, kid-friendly flavors. These bite-sized treats are available in pizza, s’more, and pretzel flavors. They are easy to eat and don’t need any preparation. This makes it convenient for moms and kids. 

The scientific processes that make processed food addicting apply to Goldfish crackers as well.  They increase blood glucose levels in the body. This makes you hungry more frequently. They trigger biochemical reactions in the brain. These reactions lead to a habit-forming tendency. 

Eating them becomes compulsive especially if they are easily accessible. The additives, particularly sodium, increase cravings.  

Does Goldfish crackers have dairy? 

Yes, Goldfish crackers have dairy or dairy derivatives in them. There are always one or more milk products in each cracker variant. They contain milk, either fat or non-fat. They also contain various kinds of cheese like Monterey jack, cheddar, and Parmesan. 

Most cheese-flavored Goldfish also contain cultured milk. This is fermented milk. The bacteria in this milk break down the lactose. This way people with milk or dairy allergies are not affected. But Goldfish also have other dairy products in combination with cultured milk. 

So they are not recommended for people with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. 

Do Goldfish crackers have fiber? 

Yes, Goldfish crackers do contain a small amount of fiber. Most varieties have less than 1 gram of fiber. Some veggie crackers may have 1-2 grams of dietary fiber. This is a minuscule portion of the 20 grams of carbohydrates. It is negligible when we consider the entire content.  

Goldfish has no added value in terms of nutritional fiber. It is best to opt for fruits, vegetables, or carbohydrates. These have much higher and healthier fiber content. 

Do Goldfish crackers have sugar? 

Yes, most Goldfish cracker varieties have sugar in them. Some have added sugars. Total sugars make up less than 2% of the entire content. This is about 0-2 g on average. Some varieties contain dextrose. This artificial sweetener is extracted from wheat or corn.  

Other ranges also contain corn syrup solids. This is dehydrated glucose. Customers have been misled by zero sugar or zero added sugar on the labels. In fact, these varieties also contain sugar. Even without added sugars, wheat flour contains natural sugar. 

Do Goldfish crackers have gluten?

Yes, all Goldfish crackers have gluten. They are all made from an enriched wheat base. This could be processed or whole wheat. Wheat is one of the largest sources of gluten. Don’t mistake the Goldfish Puffs for the Goldfish Crackers. The Puffs may be gluten-free. 

Goldfish crackers are not recommended for someone with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. It could trigger allergies like rashes, hives, or swelling. In severe cases, it can cause an immune response like anaphylactic shock. This could be life-threatening. 

Do Goldfish crackers have eggs? 

No, mostly Goldfish crackers do not contain eggs. Eggs are not a primary or active ingredient in production. They are also unlikely to be present in the coating or flavor powders. If they are present as allergens, they will be indicated on the label. 

There may be cross-contamination with other products containing eggs. Other Pepperidge Farm products use eggs. These include their biscuits, buns, and cakes. Using the same processing facilities could leave traces in the crackers as well. But it is not likely to be a considerable amount. 

Do Goldfish crackers contain soy? 

Some Goldfish cracker varieties do contain soy and others don’t. If there is soy, it will be explicitly mentioned along with nutrient information. For example, the Graham S’mores crackers have soy mentioned as an allergen. But most crackers don’t contain soy. 

Most varieties contain soybean oil or soy lecithin. This is not technically considered soy. Soybean oil may or may not contain soy protein. This depends on how much it has been processed. Highly refined soybean oil does not have soy protein. So it doesn’t affect those with a soy allergy. 

Neither does soy lecithin which is also a soy extract. But all traces of soy are removed in the end product. So it is no longer a sensitizing ingredient. 

Pepperidge Farm removed soy as an ingredient from most ranges some years ago. Some cracker types still continue to retain it. There is a lot of seesawing on this matter. So make sure you check the label carefully before purchasing. 

Do Goldfish crackers contain nuts?

No, Goldfish crackers do not contain nuts. None of the crackers use nuts as ingredients. These include both peanuts and tree nuts like walnut, cashews, or pecans. All Goldfish crackers are processed on a dedicated nut-free line. 

None of the Pepperidge products use peanuts. This makes excluding this allergen easier. But some products like cookies and cakes use tree nuts. There may be minimal adulteration because of the use of common facilities.  

The label may mention that the allergen is present in trace amounts. But mostly, the equipment is sanitized and thoroughly cleaned. They separate facilities as far as possible. This minimizes possible sources of contamination.  

Do Goldfish crackers contain MSG? 

No, Goldfish Crackers do not contain MSG. But they do contain hidden MSG or autolyzed yeast extract. Autolyzed yeast extract is made by breaking down yeast particles. These contain glutamates or glutamic acid. Glutamates are the building blocks of MSG (Monosodium glutamate). 

Autolyzed yeast is a cheaper alternative to MSG. They have different functions. MSG enhances taste whereas yeast extract has an independent flavor. As per U.S. regulations, products containing yeast extract cannot be labeled MSG-free. 

While technically MSG-free, Goldfish are classified as using MSG-like substances. 

Do Goldfish crackers contain sesame? 

Yes, some Goldfish varieties do contain sesame. Some of the veggie crackers contain sesame seeds as an ingredient. But sesame is not mentioned on all the packets, though some explicitly label it. 

This ambiguity stems from U.S. regulations that don’t mandate mentioning compounds other than the top eight allergens.  The manufacturing plants may have remnants of sesame. These may find their way into the Goldfish crackers.

To be 100% safe, choose the original Goldfish cracker without sesame.  

Do Goldfish crackers contain red dye? 

Yes, some Goldfish crackers do contain a red dye. But it is 100% natural. No artificial dyes are used. The red pigment is derived from vegetables like beetroots and bell peppers. Paprika is also added to bring out a rich red hue.

Goldfish crackers used to contain Red Dye 40. Red 40 was feared to be polluted with potential carcinogens. Similar doubts were raised over Yellow-3 and 4 dyes. But Pepperidge Farm phased out artificial dyes in 2010. Since then all colorants are extracted from natural sources.  

Do Goldfish crackers cause cavities? 

Yes, Goldfish crackers can cause cavities. These crackers are made of wheat flour. This is a sticky starch. It melts in the mouth and sticks to the roof of your teeth. These gooey remains also lodge themselves between your teeth and in cracks. 

This causes bacteria to accumulate and breed. 

These starches easily break down into sugars. Sugars cause bacteria to create acid. These acids are responsible for enamel erosion and tooth decay. While comparatively low in added sugars, carbs or starches can cause serious dental damage. 

Do Goldfish crackers cause gas, constipation, heartburn and acid reflux? 

Yes, Goldfish crackers can cause all these stomach problems. These digestive issues and their consequences are all interrelated. Goldfish are made of wheat flour. Grains and grain flours are hard to digest. 

This puts extra pressure on the stomach processes. This difficulty in digestion and absorption leads to constipation. Extra stress on the intestines and stomach leads to excess gas and stomach acid.  The excess acid will be regurgitated and cause heartburn and reflux.

Gassiness can also cause abdominal cramps, chest pains, and general discomfort. 

Can Goldfish crackers cause headaches? 

Yes, Goldfish crackers may cause headaches. This is mainly due to the additives like autolyzed yeast extract. This extract may cause other side effects like nausea, flushed skin, and difficulty breathing.

This is very rare and unlikely unless you have an allergy. Or it could be due to extreme hypersensitivity. The amount of yeast used is very small. So risks are also minimal. But they are not non-existent. 

The added cheese and chocolate flavors also worsen headaches. Most cheeses have a chemical called tyramine which intensifies migraines. High sodium content may also be the culprit behind severe, recurrent headaches.

Do Goldfish crackers cause cancer? 

No, Goldfish crackers are unlikely to cause cancer. There are concerns that Goldfish crackers may heighten the risk of cancer.  But there is no evidence to back this claim. These crackers may cause other health concerns. It does contain unhealthy ingredients. 

Some ingredients like milk or soybean oil may contain GMO elements (genetically modified ingredients/organisms). These may include antibiotics as well. Their presence remains unconfirmed. 

But if added, they may contribute to IBS, migraines, inflammation, and obesity. 

These health concerns may be potential risk factors for cancer. But they don’t cause it. The risk is just as much or little as with other meats, processed and fried foods. There is no specific disproportional toxicity. 

You may use the non-GMO range to minimize potential exposure to artificial ingredients.  

Is it safe to eat expired Goldfish crackers? 

Yes, Goldfish crackers are safe to eat after expiry. But within certain limits. It won’t be particularly pleasant. They become soggy and stale after a while. You can restore the crispness and crunchiness by baking or microwaving them. 

They should last 1-3 months after the expiry date once opened. The vegetable oils can turn rank and make you sick. Discard them if they smell rancid or taste funny. Throw them away if they fall apart in your hands. 

Is it ok for dogs to eat Goldfish crackers?

No, it is not safe for dogs to eat Goldfish crackers. Most ingredients are not toxic. But they aren’t healthy for your pooch either. Wheat is difficult for them to digest. The cheese, vegetable dyes like annatto, and oils can also cause sickness.

The most dangerous are the flavorings like onion powder, garlic, and salt. These are quite lethal for dogs. It can cause diarrhea, lethargy, and even seizures. So make sure you sweep it off the floor. Don’t use Goldfish as dog treats. Stick to commercial, vetted brands when pampering your pet.

We hope this article has been informative and helpful. If you think Goldfish have passed the litmus test for an occasional nibble, go get a pack! It’s great for a movie night with the kids! 


Anand Srinivasan
Latest posts by Anand Srinivasan (see all)