Healthiest biscuits: Expert advice reveals the best and worst biscuits for your diet

Even if you're on a health kick, we all deserve a treat every so often. Here's our guide to the healthiest biscuits - and those you might want to avoid if you're watching your diet.

A pile of biscuits including Bourbons, Custard Creams and Jammie Dodgers
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We've taken a look at Britain's most popular biscuits and ranked them according to which is the healthiest biscuit - and which are the worst for your diet too.

It's no secret that Brits love biscuits. 27 million UK households buy biscuits, with 61 per cent of the country admitting to owning a 'biscuit tin'. But even though we love them, they aren't exactly healthy snacks, and some of our favourites carry high fat and lots of hidden sugar

Nutritionist Isaac Robertson explains that while biscuits lowest in sugar, saturated fat and calories will be best for your diet, "portion control is key". He says, "Even the healthiest biscuit can become unhealthy if consumed in excess. Be mindful of serving sizes and try to resist the urge to eat the whole packet in one go."

But whether you're watching your diet or not, everyone deserves a treat once in a while, so we decided to take a look at the nation's favourite biscuits and find out which are the healthiest options, so you can make mindful choices when next craving an afternoon snack. 

Whether you're a digestives devotee, a shortbread addict or a chocolate biscuits fan, we've compiled all the need-to-know nutritional info of Britain's favourite brands to rank the healthiest biscuits from best to worst.

Healthiest biscuits from best to worst, at a glance

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

Healthy biscuits are a bit of a contradiction, but if you're watching your diet and still want to allow yourself a sweet treat every so often, biscuits with a lower saturated fat content and less hidden sugar are best to look out for.

Isaac explains, "Look for biscuits with low sugar content or ones that use natural sweeteners like honey or dates, as these can provide a satisfying sweetness without the drawbacks of refined sugars."

He adds, "Biscuits made with healthier fats like unsaturated fats, such as those from nuts or seeds, are better choices. These fats can provide essential nutrients and promote overall well-being."

In addition, there's calories to think about, and Isaac says that if you're on a strict diet "selecting biscuits with lower calorie content allows you to indulge without derailing your daily calorie goals."

In addition to sugar, fat, and calorie content, it's wise to inspect the ingredient list. Look for biscuits made with whole grains and natural, wholesome ingredients. Avoid biscuits that contain artificial additives, preservatives, or hydrogenated oils, as these can have adverse effects on your health.

Of the popular biscuits we looked at, we ranked the mighty Mcvitie's Rich Tea as the healthiest. 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 in sugar and low in saturated fat too, we can safely say that Rich Teas are a triple-threat in the biscuit world...

Healthiest biscuits ranked from best to worst:

Mcvitie's rich teas are the healthiest biscuits overall

Credit: Tesco

1. Mcvitie's Rich Tea

Overall healthiest biscuit

Specifications

Calories: 38kcal
Fat: 1.3g
Saturated fat: 0.6g
Sugar: 1.5g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in saturated fat
+
Low in calories

Reasons to avoid

-
Might not fix your sugar craving!

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 Clarkedeems 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."


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

Credit: Oreo

2. Mcvitie's Digestive Thins

Healthiest chocolate biscuit

Specifications

Calories: 31kcal
Fat: 1.5g
Saturated fat: 0.8g
Sugar: 1.9g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in calories
+
Low in saturated fat

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 Jane. “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.


Tesco malted milk biscuits are one of the healthiest biscuits

Credit: Tesco

3. Tesco Malted Milk Biscuits

Lowest in sugar

Specifications

Calories: 43kcal
Fat: 1.9g
Saturated fat: 0.9g
Sugar: 1.5g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in sugar
+
Low in saturated fat

Verdict: You can tuck into these Tesco malted milk biscuits guilt-free, because these tasty snacks rank the lowest for sugar content - great news for biscuit lovers across the UK, as this snack ranked ninth on the list of the nation's favourites. Jane Clarke also notes malted milk's low sugar, as well as their low saturated fat content, meaning these biscuits are win if you're watching your diet.


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

Credit: Tesco

4. Party Rings

Lowest calorie biscuit

Specifications

Calories: 28kcal
Fat: 0.7g
Saturated fat: 0.3g
Sugar: 2.7g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in calories
+
Low in saturated fat

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, which is good news because they are one of the nation's favourites - research from online retailer IWOOT revealed Party Rings to be Britain's seventh favourite biscuit. 


Oreo Thins are the lowest calorie biscuits on our list

Credit: Tesco

5. Oreo Thins

Specifications

Calories: 29kcal
Fat: 1.5g
Saturated fat: 0.8g
Sugar: 1.9g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in calories
+
Low in sugar per biscuit

Verdict: Oreo Thins are delicious AND rank 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.


A packet of Tesco ginger nut biscuits

Credit: Tesco

6. Tesco Ginger Nuts

Specifications

Calories: 46kcal
Fat: 1.5g
Saturated fat: 0.7g
Sugar: 2.6g

Reasons to buy

+
Rich in iron
+
Low in saturated fat

Reasons to avoid

-
High sugar content compared to alternatives

Verdict: With 46 calories per biscuit, Jane ranks this snack fairly high on the healthiest biscuits chart. Ginger nuts are also a good choice 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.


A packet of Jaffa cakes

Credit: Tesco

7. Mcvitie's Jaffa cakes

Specifications

Calories: 46kcal
Fat: 1g
Saturated fat: 0.5g
Sugar: 6.1g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in calories
+
Low in fat

Reasons to avoid

-
High in sugar

Verdict: Jaffa cakes are another healthier chocolate biscuit option, and it's good news for biscuit fans because they were voted as the nation's fourth favourite. 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.


A pack of Mcvitie's Digestive biscuits

Credit: Tesco

8. Mcvitie's Digestives

Specifications

Calories : 71kcal
Fat: 3.1g
Saturated fat: 1.5g
Sugar: 2.2g

Reasons to buy

+
Good source of fibre compared to other biscuits

Reasons to avoid

-
High in calories compared to alternatives

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, which is good news for many, as they also made IWOOT's list of the nation's favourite biscuits.


A packet of Maryland cookies

Credit: Tesco

9. Maryland Cookies

Specifications

Calories: 52kcal
Fat: 2.2g
Saturated fat: 1.1g
Sugar: 3.1g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in saturated fat compared to alternatives

Reasons to avoid

-
High in sugar compared to other biscuits

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 them in moderation.


A pack of Tesco custard cream biscuits

Credit: Caletoni

10. Custard Creams

Specifications

Calories: 59kcal
Fat: 2.4g
Saturated fat: 1.2g
Sugar: 3.3g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in calories compared to other biscuits

Reasons to avoid

-
High in sugar compared to alternatives
-
High in fat compared to some other biscuits

Verdict: Another contender on the list of the nation's favourite biscuits - this one comes in at sixth place - Custard Creams are creamy, crunchy and an all-out classic, making it 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.


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

Credit: Tesco

11. Bourbon Creams

Specifications

Calories : 68kcal
Fat: 3g
Saturated fat: 1.7g
Sugar: 3.5g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in calories compared to other chocolate biscuits

Reasons to avoid

-
High in saturated fat

Verdict: Ranking third on the list of the nation's top biscuits, Bourbons are a popular choice - we like ours dunked in a hot cup of tea. But be wary of this particular biccie's saturated 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.


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

Credit: Tesco

12. Fox's Viennese Biscuits

Specifications

Calories: 64kcal
Fat: 3.4g
Saturated fat: 1.8g
Sugar: 1.2g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in sugar compared to other biscuits

Reasons to avoid

-
High in saturated fat
-
Contain hydrogenated vegetable oil

Verdict: Though incredibly moreish, Fox's milk chocolate Viennese biscuits are high in saturated fat. They also contain hydrogenated vegetable oil which has been linked to type 2 diabetes by a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. "You can enjoy a few of these in moderation if you are watching your weight," advises dietitian Jane Clarke.


A pack of raspberry Jammie Dodgers

Credit: Ocado

13. Jammie Dodgers

Specifications

Calories: 74kcal
Fat: 2.5g
Saturated fat: 1.2g
Sugar: 5.3g

Reasons to avoid

-
High in sugar
-
High in calories

Verdict: Jammie Dodgers contain almost a heaped teaspoon of sugar in each one and there's no real raspberry in the fruity centre - bad news for the many that love them, as these biscuits are at number five on the list of the nation's favourites. One Jammie Dodger is 74 calories, which again is quite high for just one biscuit, but we wouldn't rule these childhood favourites out altogether though - one or two now and again works well.


A pack of Mcvitie's branded chocolate digestives

Credit: Tesco

14. Mcvitie's Chocolate Digestives

Specifications

Calories: 83kcal
Fat: 3.9g
Saturated fat: 2.1g
Sugar: 4.8g

Reasons to avoid

-
High in calories
-
High in fat
-
High in sugar

Verdict: Jane's got some bad news about these classic biccies, 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 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.


Chocolate hobnobs are not the healthiest of biscuits

Credit: Tesco

15. Mcvitie's Chocolate Hobnobs

Specifications

Calories: 93kcal
Fat: 4.4g
Saturated fat: 2.2g
Sugar: 6.1g

Reasons to avoid

-
High in calories
-
High in fat
-
High in sugar

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.