Which biscuit is best?
I meet a lot of clients in my clinic who are tea drinkers. Their cups of tea are usually at morning and afternoon tea and always include some sort of snack, most of the time these snacks are usually a sweet biscuit. When I suggest other such snacks to have such as a piece of fruit, low fat yoghurt or a small handful of dried fruit or nuts I usually receive a few funny looks and comments such as ‘I can’t have that with my cup of tea’. Take a look at my previous post ‘Should we be snacking’ back in December. In this post it was all about having a nutritious snack, something that is ‘nutrient dense’ not ‘energy dense’, that is, something that is going to give you essential nutrients such as fibre, calcium, antioxidants for your body but not fill your body with wasted kilojoules from unessential fats and sugars which may lead to weight gain. So does a sweet biscuit fit this ‘nutrient dense’ criteria?
Many sweet biscuits may be high in sugars, saturated and trans fats and lack the fibre. In simple terms, these foods will not fill you up, will not provide you with many essential nutrients and may harm your heart. So does this mean no sweet biscuits at all? Not quite. When making a choice as to what sweet biscuit to pair with your cup of tea look for a sweet biscuit made on wholemeal flour and includes dried fruit, bran or oats, check to see if your biscuit includes this by reading the ingredients list. You also still want to check the nutrition panel to ensure the fats, sodium and fibre content is right, take a look back at my previous blog about label reading for more information, but here is also a quick summary.
- Aim for total fats to be less than 10g/100g
- Saturated to be less than 2g/100g
- Ensure there is no palm oil, coconut oil and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetables oils in the ingredients list.
- Aim for sodium to be less than 400mg/100g
- Aim for fibre content to be greater than 3g/100g
So if your sweet biscuit doesn’t fall into these guidelines, have this biscuit as a ‘treat’ food and not an ‘every day’ food. No matter what biscuit you have, always keep to only two biscuits at a serve.
What about savoury biscuits? Perhaps not something you may have with your cup of tea but maybe something you could have at lunch if you are getting sick of a sandwich every day. Try having crackers topped with low fat cottage cheese and tomato or tinned salmon and a small spread of avocado. Remember if it is a main meal always pair your crackers with a side mixed salad to fill yourself up and make sure you are meeting your five serves of daily vegetables. Savoury biscuits are a great way to add variety to your diet but also a great way to get more wholegrains in your diet which is protective against some chronic diseases such as diabetes. Always looks for crackers which have ‘wholegrain’ in the ingredients list. Again label read using the above guidelines about fats, sodium and fibre and be careful of the crackers that say baked, ‘baked not fried’ may be meaningless and still may be very high in fats.
So biscuits are not all bad. Always label read to ensure your choice is the best choice possible. Keep your other favourite biscuits which may not fall within the best choice as a ‘treat’ food and keep to the mantra ‘everything in moderation’.
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