For decades, parents have been trying to get their kids to eat the crust of their sandwiches. Eventually, someone comes along and makes Uncrustables—premade sandwiches without crust. Now the question is: Are they healthy?
Uncrustables are not the healthiest way to eat a sandwich. They have processed flour, vegetable oil, and at least 5 grams of added sugar per sandwich. It would be considerably healthier to make your own sandwich with 100% whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, and a spread made of 100% real fruit.
Below, I’ll look at 3 popular Uncrustables flavors in detail, including an “On Wheat Bread” flavor and the Nutella-like flavor. I’ll explore whether Uncrustables count as “processed food,” if they’re good for weight loss, and more!
Are Uncrustables Bad for You?
Here are the six specific questions I’ll be answering about Uncrustables nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Ingredients Are in Uncrustables?
- Are Uncrustables Processed?
- Are Uncrustables Good For Weight Loss?
- Are Uncrustables Keto Friendly?
- Are Whole Wheat Uncrustables Healthy?
- Are Uncrustables Vegan?
1. What Ingredients Are in Uncrustables?
Let’s start by looking at some actual Uncrustables ingredients. Do they have any ingredients you should be avoiding? How processed are these sandwiches, really?
Below are the ingredients for 3 flavors of Uncrustables. I’ll share my takeaway points below the table:
|Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly Sandwich||Bread: Enriched Unbleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Unbleached Whole Wheat Flour, Sugar, Yeast, Soybean Oil, Contains 2% or Less of: Salt, Dough Conditioners (Distilled Mono and Diglycerides, DATEM, Enzymes [with Wheat Starch, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Peroxide]). Peanut Butter: Peanuts, Sugar, Contains 2% or Less of: Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed and Soybean), Mono and Diglycerides, Salt. Grape Jelly: Sugar, Grape Juice, Contains 2% or Less of: Pectin, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).|
|Peanut Butter & Strawberry Spread Sandwich (Reduced Sugar, on Wheat Bread)||Bread: Unbleached Whole Wheat Flour, Enriched Unbleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Sugar, Yeast, Contains 2% or Less of: Wheat Gluten, Soybean Oil, Salt, Dough Conditioners (Distilled Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, DATEM, Enzymes [with Wheat Starch, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Peroxide]). Peanut Butter: Peanuts, Contains 2% or Less of: Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed and Soybean), Sugar, Mono and Diglycerides, Salt, Molasses. Strawberry Spread: Sugar, Strawberries, Water, Contains 2% or Less of: Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Locust Bean Gum, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Calcium Chloride.|
|Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread Sandwich||Bread: Enriched Unbleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Unbleached Whole Wheat Flour, Sugar, Yeast, Soybean Oil, Contains 2% or Less of: Salt, Dough Conditioners (Distilled Mono and Diglycerides, DATEM, Enzymes [with Wheat Starch, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Peroxide]). Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread: Sugar, Vegetable Oils (Palm and Canola), Hazelnuts, Cocoa Processed with Alkali and Cocoa, Skim Milk, Whey, Sunflower Lecithin, Vanillin (Artificial Flavor).|
Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:
- Uncrustables have added sugar. Even in the “Reduced Sugar” flavor, there’s still sugar in the bread, peanut butter, and the fruit spread. If you made your own whole-wheat sandwich with natural peanut butter and jam, you could make it free of added sugar.
- Uncrustables have processed white flour. In most flavors, “enriched unbleached flour” is the first ingredient in the bread. This flour is more processed and lacking fiber compared to whole grain flour. Even if you get an “On Wheat Bread” flavor, it still has this processed flour as the second ingredient.
- Uncrustables have some processed vegetable oil. The bread contains soybean oil, and the fillings have various vegetable oils, too. Vegetable oils are notorious for being highly processed and high in calories.
- Uncrustables have real nuts, peanuts, and fruit. You’re getting real peanuts in the peanut butter, real strawberries in the strawberry spread, and so on. Of course, you’re also getting sugar and other ingredients with them. But the fruits and nuts are still healthy ingredients.
- “On Wheat Bread” Uncrustables have whole wheat flour as the first ingredient. Whole wheat bread tends to be a bit healthier, as it has more fiber that can slow the digestion of the carbs in the bread.
Overall, Uncrustables fall into the same traps as most processed food. They have processed flour, oil, and sugar. Even though there are some healthy ingredients here and there, I’m not impressed by the overall picture.
- Do Uncrustables Have Red Dye? Uncrustables do not appear to contain any food dyes, whether natural or artificial. The Grape Jelly flavor and Strawberry Spread flavor both seem to be free of food coloring.
- What Peanut Butter Is Used in Uncrustables? Different peanut butter is used in “Reduced Sugar” Uncrustables compared to regular Uncrustables flavors. In each case, the peanut butter has added sugar, oil, molasses, salt, and mono and diglycerides—but the order of ingredients is different.
- Does Uncrustables Have High Fructose Corn Syrup? Uncrustables do not contain high fructose corn syrup. However, sugar is added to every flavor of Uncrustables.
2. Are Uncrustables Processed?
Uncrustables would generally be considered processed food. All flavors that I checked contain processed sugar, oil, and flour.
In order for a food to be considered “whole” or “unprocessed,” the sugars, fats, and carbs should come from foods close their natural state. The sugars should be mostly or solely in the form of fruit, the flours should be mostly whole grain, and so on.
That is generally not the case with Uncrustables. There are a few whole food ingredients, but in all cases, they are accompanied by processed sugar, flour, and oil.
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3. Are Uncrustables Good For Weight Loss?
Uncrustables are not the most optimal food for weight loss. This is because they have high-calorie ingredients such as refined sugar, processed white flour, vegetable oil, and peanut butter. However, Uncrustables can still be eaten in moderation on a weight loss diet.
One of the most important principles for weight loss is calorie density. Foods with a low calorie density fill up your stomach more with fewer calories. This makes it easier to eat fewer calories and still be satisfied. And that can lead to weight loss. (source)
The foods with the lowest calorie density are non-starchy vegetables, including greens. Other foods with low calorie density include fruits, beans, whole grains, and most whole plant foods in general.
Some of the foods with the highest calorie density are refined oils. And refined sugars have high calorie density, too. These foods are concentrated sources of calories, as much of the fiber and bulk have been removed in processing.
Since Uncrustables have ingredients with a high calorie density—processed flour, sugar, and others—there is a risk that you will overeat Uncrustables without feeling fully satisfied. Compare that to green vegetables, where there is no real risk of overeating on calories—even if you stuff yourself.
By itself, a few servings of Uncrustables will not make or break your weight loss diet, though. Weight loss depends on your overall diet and lifestyle.
If you’re burning more calories than you’re eating each day/week, you should lose weight. Eating some Uncrustables or other “processed foods” on occasion will not automatically ruin your diet as long as that larger pattern remains in tact.
For more help with weight loss, check out this post with 18 tips for weight loss without counting calories.
- Why Do Uncrustables Have So Many Calories? Uncrustables have several ingredients with high caloric density. These include added sugars, vegetable oil, and peanut butter. Such ingredients make it possible to eat quite a few calories even in small servings.
4. Are Uncrustables Keto Friendly?
Uncrustables are not keto-friendly. They contain about 23 grams to 28 grams of total carbohydrates per sandwich. About half of the calories in Uncrustables come from carbohydrates.
If you want a keto sandwich, you’d likely need to swap in something else for the bread and the fruit spreads in Uncrustables. It’s too much sugar and wheat flour at once for a keto diet.
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5. Are Whole Wheat Uncrustables Healthy?
There is a version of Uncrustables called “On Wheat Bread.” These flavors are also branded as “Reduced Sugar.” Together, that sounds like two healthy modifications—added whole grains and less sugar. But is it actually healthy? Well… Somewhat.
“On Wheat Bread” Uncrustables are more healthy than regular Uncrustables. But they still have at least 5 grams of added sugar per sandwich. They also still contain processed flour and vegetable oils, too.
The way I see it, the “On Wheat Bread” Uncrustables are a half-measure toward a more healthy sandwich. They have a couple grams less sugar and a couple grams more fiber per sandwich. But… they’re still not that healthy overall.
6. Are Uncrustables Vegan?
Most flavors of Uncrustables would be considered vegan. However, the “Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread Sandwich” flavor is not vegan, as it has skim milk and whey in the chocolate filling. The “Peanut Butter and Honey” flavor also has honey, which is generally not considered vegan.
Some vegans might nit-pick about the sugar in Uncrustables, too. Non-organic cane sugar is often filtered with animal bone char, so some vegans would argue it’s not vegan. But most vegans don’t worry about that.
Side Note: Interestingly, the Uncrustables website has an FAQ section that simply states, “Uncrustables products are not considered vegan.” This is quite strange, as they could easily remain ambiguous or even claim vegan status for many of their products and get away with it. But they seem to not place any value on the vegan market, as they’ve chosen to unnecessarily turn them away.
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