Healthiest biscuits: Best and worst biscuits for your diet revealed

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  • Our guide to the healthiest biscuits – and the biscuits that are the worst for your diet revealed…

    It’s no secret that us Brits love biscuits with research revealing our national biscuit consumption as higher than America and all other major European countries.

    27 million UK households buy biscuits, with 61 per cent of the country admitting to owning a ‘biscuit tin’. But how well do we know whats in our sweet treats and the impact they have on our waistlines?

    Whilst we know biscuits aren’t exactly healthy snacks, some of our favourites carry high fat and lots of hidden sugar. And these refined carbs can seriously cause havoc to our diet if we’re not conscious of our choices.

    Because a world without biscuits is not an option, we decided to investigate the healthiest biscuits out there for you to make mindful choices when next craving an afternoon treat.

    Whether your a digestives devotee, a shortbread addict or a chocolate biscuits fan, we’ve compiled all the need-to-know nutritional info and asked an expert to weigh on the best and worst biscuits for your diet.

    We won’t spoil the surprise, but let’s just say that our healthiest biscuit guide will definitely give you food for thought.

    Healthiest biscuits at a glance:

    The healthiest biscuit overall is the mighty Mcvitie’s Rich Tea. Each one of these classic British biccies has just 38 calories and boasts 0.1g saturated fat – making it the best biscuit for saturated fat content too. A low calorie snack that is low sugar and low in saturated fat, we can safely say that Rich Teas are a triple-threat in the biscuit world…

    • Healthiest biscuit overall: Mcvitie’s Rich Tea
    • Best biscuit for sugar content: Tesco Malted Milk biscuits
    • Best biscuit for saturated fat content: Mcvitie’s Rich Tea
    a close-up of a biscuit jar with biscuits inside

    Credit: Getty

    While the worst biscuit overall is the beloved Kit Kat, which sadly hides a huge helping of sugar and calories. Each (delicious) wafer biscuit bar contains 104 calories and has 10.2g of sugar. This equates to a third of the NHS’s daily allowance on sugar. So it’s definitely not one to tuck into if you are dieting.

    • Worst biscuit overall: Kit Kat
    • Worst biscuit for sugar content: Kit Kat
    • Worst biscuit for saturated fat content: Walkers Shortbread Rounds

    “It is very tempting to raid the biscuit barrel whilst at home,” Jane Clarke, dietitian and founder of Nourish tells us. “However, it is worth knowing some biscuit choices are slightly better than others.”

    Knowing which ones are better nutrition wise is always good information to have in your back pocket. Especially if you’re making a conscious effort to improve your diet. 

    People can unknowingly meet their daily sugar or saturated fats limit by simply nibbling on two or more treats at teatime. So it’s always good to be mindful of this whilst still allowing yourself to indulge from time to time.

    “Before you reach for the biscuit tin, try to remember they do usually contain a large amount of empty calories, unhealthy fats and highly processed carbohydrates,” adds Jane. “What’s more, they’re mostly low in fibre and whole grains. So it’s best to enjoy in moderation as a treat.”

    With this in mind, we consulted the calorie, sugar and saturated fat content of Britain’s favourite brands to rank the healthiest biscuits from best to worst.

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    Healthiest biscuits ranked from best to worst:

    Overall healthiest biscuit: Mcvitie’s Rich Tea

    Mcvitie's rich teas are the healthiest biscuits overall

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 38
    Fat: 1.3g
    Saturated fat: 0.1g
    Sugar: 1.5g
    Salt: 0.06g
    Price: £1.29 at Tesco

    Verdict: We’ve given the healthiest biscuit crown to the humble Rich Tea. Made from vegetable oil, Rich Teas are lowest in saturated fat and additionally low in calories. Dietitian Jane Clarke deems Rich Teas as the best amongst our biscuit bunch: “These are made up of 1.3g fat, 1.5g sugar and 0.06g salt which ranks high up in terms of nutrition.”

    View at Tesco

     

    Healthiest chocolate biscuit: Mcvitie’s Digestive Thins

    One of our healthiest biscuits - Mcvitie's chocolate digestive thins

    Credit: Oreo

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 31
    Fat: 1.5g
    Saturated fat: 0.8g
    Sugar: 1.9g
    Salt: 0.06g
    Price: £1.59 at Ocado

    Verdict: These slimmed-down digestives ranked the highest in our healthiest biscuits list. “One milk chocolate digestive thins contains 31 calories, which is great for a biscuit,” says dietitian Clarke. “They are also made up of 1.5g fat, 1.9g sugar and 0.06g salt meaning they can be ranked very high in terms of nutritional value.” It’s good to know that you can enjoy two of these thins and they’ll still contain less calories than a normal-sized biscuit.

    View at Ocado

     

    Lowest in sugar: Tesco Malted Milk Biscuits

    Tesco malted milk biscuits are one of the healthiest biscuits

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 43
    Fat: 1.9g
    Saturated Fat: 0.9g
    Sugar: 1.5g
    Salt: 0.1g
    Price: 45p at Tesco

    Verdict: You can tuck into these Tesco malted milk biscuits guilt-free with these ranked the lowest for sugar content. Jane Clarke also notes malted milk’s low sugar and low saturate fat content. Overall, these biscuits are win win.

    View at Tesco

     

    Lowest calorie biscuit: Party Rings

    Fox's party rings are one of the healthiest biscuits with the lowest calorie rating

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 25
    Fat: 0.8g
    Saturated Fat: 0.4g
    Sugar: 2.0g
    Salt: 0.04g
    Price: 50p at Tesco

    Verdict: These biscuits are worth celebrating. The sweet party treats rank well in our healthiest biscuits test, topping the charts as the lowest calorie biscuits available. Jane also rates their low fat, sugar and salt content.

    View at Tesco

    Oreo Thins

    Oreo Thins are the lowest calorie biscuits on our list

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 29
    Fat: 1.2g
    Saturated fat: 0.5g
    Sugar: 2.3g
    Salt: 0.05g
    Price: £1.00 at Tesco

    Verdict: Oreo Thins are delicious AND ranks as the second best biscuit in terms of calories. “An Oreo thins box comes as little packets of 4 biscuits. This contains 119 calories for 4 biscuits meaning each one is approximately 29 calories which is great,” says Jane. Just be aware though that too many of these will significantly bump up your sugar intake.

    View at Tesco

     

    Tesco Ginger Nuts

    A packet of Tesco ginger nut biscuits

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 46
    Fat: 1.5g
    Saturated fat: 0.7g
    Sugar: 2.6g
    Salt: 0.1g
    Price: 45p at Tesco

    Verdict: With 46 calories per biscuit, Jane ranks these biscuits fairly high on the healthiest biscuits chart. Ginger nuts are also good to choose because of the iron-rich molasses content. Three biscuits will provide about a tenth of the recommended daily allowance of iron which is good for your blood.

    View at Tesco

    Mcvitie’s Jaffa cakes

    A packet of Jaffa cakes

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 46
    Fat: 1.0g
    Saturated fat: 0.5g
    Sugar: 6.1g
    Salt: 0.03g
    Price: £1.00 at Tesco

    Verdict: Jaffa cakes are another healthier chocolate biscuit option. With 1g of fat and 46 calories per biscuit (or is it a cake?) dietitian Jane Clarke deems them good nutrition wise. She just warns of the high sugar content, which could cause a sugar spike and have you reaching back in the biscuit jar sooner rather than later.

    View at Tesco

     

    Mcvitie’s Digestive

    A pack of Mcvitie's Digestive biscuits

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 71
    Fat: 3.1g
    Saturated fat: 1.5g
    Sugar: 2.2g
    Salt: 0.2g
    Price: £1.29 at Tesco

    Verdict: As Jane simply states: “Nutrition wise they aren’t awful, but they’re not the best biscuit.” Digestives carry nearly twice as many calories as their Rich Tea relative. Yet, their high wholewheat content makes digestives a good source of fibre which helps provide healthy digestion.

    View at Tesco

     

    Maryland Cookies

    A packet of Maryland cookies

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 52
    Fat: 2.35g
    Saturated fat: 1.2g
    Sugar: 3.65g
    Salt: 0.06g
    Price: £1.30 at Tesco

    Verdict: Not bad for a biscuit with chocolate chips – these cookies have less saturated fat than many other chocolatey options. Just beware of these sweet cookies’ sugar content. Take a leaf out of Jane’s book and enjoy in moderation.

    View at Tesco

    Tesco Custard Creams

    A pack of Tesco custard cream biscuits

    Credit: Caletoni

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 59
    Fat: 2.5g
    Saturated fat: 1.5g
    Sugar: 3.4g
    Salt: 0.1g
    Price: 45p at Tesco

    Verdict: Creamy, crunchy and an all-out classic – it’s tempting to tuck into a Custard Cream at tea-time. But is that wise? Jane says one or two won’t necessarily do much harm, with worse biscuits out there. Just note that the sugar and fat content of these biccies aren’t the best.

    View at Tesco

    Tesco Bourbon Creams

    Tesco Bourbon creams rank middle of the table in our healthiest biscuits edit

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 68
    Fat: 3.0g
    Saturated fat: 1.7g
    Sugar: 3.5g
    Salt: 0.1g
    Price: 45p at Tesco

    Verdict: We like our bourbons dunked in a hot cup of tea but be wary of this particular biccie’s sat fat content. These aren’t the best biscuits for your heart as the cream centre in just one has nearly 10% of your daily intake of saturated fat.

    View at Tesco

     

    Fox’s Viennese Biscuits

    Fox's milk chocolate viennese biscuits aren't the healthiest.

    Credit: Tesco

     

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 64
    Fat: 3.4g
    Saturated fat: 1.8g
    Sugar: 4.2g
    Salt: 0.07g
    Price: £1.50 at Tesco

    Verdict: Though incredibly moreish, Fox’s milk chocolate viennese biscuits are high in saturated fat. They also contain hydrogenated vegetable oil which is bad for your health. “You can enjoy a few of these in moderation if you are watching your weight,” advises dietitian Jane Clarke.

    View at Tesco

    Jammie Dodgers

     A pack of raspberry Jammie Dodgers

    Credit: Ocado

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 74
    Fat: 2.5g
    Saturated fat: 1.2g
    Sugar: 5.3g
    Salt: 0.11g
    Price: 69p at Ocado

    Verdict: Jammie Dodgers contain almost a heaped teaspoon of sugar in each one and there’s no real raspberry in the fruity centre. As Jane states: “One jammie dodger is 74 calories, which again is quite high for just one biscuit.” We wouldn’t rule these childhood favourites out altogether though – one or two now and again works well.

    View at Ocado

     

    Mcvitie’s Chocolate Digestives

    A pack of Mcvitie's branded chocolate digestives

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 83
    Fat: 3.9g
    Saturated fat: 2.1g
    Sugar: 4.8g
    Salt: 0.16g
    Price: £1.30 at Tesco

    Verdict: Jane’s got some bad news about these biscuits, which were voted Britain’s favourite biscuit in 2020. “Each digestive contains 83 calories which is high. They are also made up of 3.9g fat, 4.8g sugar and 0.16g salt, so these would would be rated low nutrition-wise.” Because of this, we wouldn’t recommend a couple a day, saving them for a special treat every now and again.

    View at Tesco

    Mcvitie’s Chocolate Hobnobs

    Chocolate hobnobs are not the healthiest of biscuits

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 93
    Fat: 4.4g
    Saturated fat: 2.2g
    Sugar: 6.1g
    Salt: 0.14g
    Price: £1.35 at Tesco

    Verdict: Mcvitie’s introduced these beloved chocolate oaty, nobbly biscuits two years after their original hobnobs. And they’ve been a staple in our biscuit tin ever since. But according to Jane these rank low in nutritional value. Each hobnob is 93 calories and carries 4.4g fat and 6.1g sugar.

    View at Tesco

     

    Fox’s Golden Crunch Creams

    A packet of Fox's Golden Crunch Creams

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 78
    Fat: 3.7g
    Saturated fat: 2.1g
    Sugar: 6.4g
    Salt: 0.10g
    Price: £1.00 at Tesco

    Verdict: Though these biscuits contain less calories than chocolate hobnobs – they contain more sugar. Each one amounts to a heaped teaspoon of sugar. Whilst two of these biccies equates to almost a quarter of your daily saturated fat limit. As these aren’t the healthiest of biscuits, we’d recommend enjoying in moderation.

    View at Tesco

     

    Worst biscuit for saturated fat: Walkers Shortbread

    A packet of Walkers shortbread round biscuits

    Credit: Ocado

    Per biscuit –
    Cals: 93
    Fat: 5.0g
    Saturated fat: 2.9g
    Sugar: 2.4g
    Salt: 0.1g
    Price: £3.00 at Ocado

    Verdict: Unfortunately, lovers of these tasty pure butter shortbreads from Walkers will want to avoid these if they’re watching their waistline. Walkers Shortbread rounds takes the title for worst biscuit for saturated fat in our healthiest biscuits round-up. Plus it’s high in calories and fat overall. Jane adds: “As one biscuit is 93 calories, if you are dieting these aren’t the best option as you would probably could only have one.” Consider yourself warned.

    View at Ocado

     

    Worst biscuit overall and worst biscuit for sugar content: Kit Kat

    Kit Kats are the worst biscuits for your diet

    Credit: Tesco

    Per biscuit bar (two fingers) –
    Cals: 104
    Fat: 5.1g
    Saturated fat: 2.8g
    Sugar: 10.2g
    Salt: 0.05g
    Price: £1.50 at Tesco

    Verdict: Whilst we’ve been told to “have a break, have a kit kat” you might want to check the nutritional information before reaching for these around teatime. These wafer chocolate biscuits takes the crown for the worst biscuit overall AND the worst biscuit for sugar content.  “This is based on what it is made out of, which rates quite bad in terms of nutritional value,” says Jane. With 104 calories in each bar and 10.2g of sugar, these chocolate treats aren’t diet-friendly, but can be enjoyed now and again as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

    View at Tesco