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Biscuits

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The teatime classic

Most of us enjoy dunking a biscuit or two into a hot cup of coffee or tea, and there's always an ongoing debate between family members, colleagues and friends as to which biscuit is the best for the job!

Traditional biscuits such as custard creams and bourbons are enjoyed by all generations, with market research suggesting each household spends just shy of £100 a year on a whopping 94 packets.

Whether you go wild for a wafer or are a firm digestive devotee, we all have a favourite.

To dunk or not to dunk...

Whether living with diabetes or not, we can all enjoy the odd biscuit as an occasional treat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

However, it can be all too easy to fall into the twin traps of:

  • Eating more biscuits than you intended to
  • Eating biscuits more regularly than you should.

And, we're all aware that price promotions tend be focused around those food and drink products which contain higher amounts of fat and sugar – therefore they become one of the more affordable choices, but not one of the healthier ones.

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Tips to avoid less healthy snacks

Instead of reaching for the tin:

  • Fill up on wholegrains, fruit and veg, and beans and pulses at main meals to increase satiety
  • Try to have healthier snacks with you such as nuts, seeds, low-fat hummus and veg sticks, fruit and wholegrain crackers
  • Could you be thirsty? Have a glass of water or a cup of tea or coffee instead
  • Try going for a walk and distracting yourself from the tempting treats.

Alternative sweet treats

Why not try some of our snack recipes so you’re prepared for that afternoon treat...?


Popular biscuit varieties

We chose a range of different biscuits – and tried to cover all your favourites – to help you compare calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar at a glance...

Although we have included a range of Essential Waitrose biscuits, the cost and nutritional composition are similar to other value ranges such as Tesco Value, Asda SmartPrice and Sainsbury’s Basics. The biscuits were included due to availability at the time.

*These nutritional values were accurate at the time of publication, but some of these values may have changed. Please check the food labels for the latest nutritional information.

Maryland Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Per biscuit (7.5g)Per 100g
Calories53487
Carbs6.9g63.8g
Sugar3.6g33.5g
Fat2.4g22.6g
Saturated fat1.1g10.2g
Salttrace0.2g
Protein0.6g5.4g
Fibre0.4g3.5g

 


McVitie's Milk Chocolate Digestives

 Per biscuit (16.7g)Per 100g
Calories83495
Carbs10.4g62.2g
Sugar4.9g29.5g
Fat3.9g23.6g
Saturated fat2.1g12.4g
Salt0.2g1g
Protein1.1g6.7g
Fibre0.5g3g

 


McVitie's Rich Tea Classic

 Per biscuit (8.3g)Per 100g
Calories36436
Carbs6.3g75.5g
Sugar1.7g20.3g
Fat0.9g10.8g
Saturated fat0.1g1.2g
Salt0.1g0.9g
Protein0.6g7.6g
Fibre0.3g3.1g

 


McVitie's Rich Tea Lights

 Per biscuit (8.3g)Per 100g
Calories38459
Carbs5.9g71.3g
Sugar1.7g20.2g
Fat1.3g15.5g
Saturated fat0.1g1.5g
Salt0.1g0.8g
Protein0.6g7g
Fibre0.2g2.9g

 


Waitrose All Butter Vanilla Viennese Sandwich Fingers

 Per biscuit (15g)Per 100g
Calories80531
Carbs9.1g60.9g
Sugar4.4g29.5g
Fat4.3g28.6g
Saturated fat2.6g17.4g
Salt0.1g0.5g
Protein1g6.7g
Fibre0.3g1.8g

 


Essential Waitrose Garibaldi Biscuits

 Per biscuit (11g)Per 100g
Calories39378
Carbs6.9g67.6g
Sugar3.8g36.9g
Fat0.9g9.2g
Saturated fat0.4g4.2g
Salt0.03g0.3g
Protein0.5g4.6g
Fibre0.3g3.3g

 


McVitie's Hobnobs

 Per biscuit (15.2g)Per 100g
Calories71470
Carbs9.3g61.4g
Sugar3.9g25.5g
Fat3.1g20.3g
Saturated fat1.3g8.9g
Salt0.1g0.8g
Protein1.1g7.3g
Fibre0.9g6.1g

 


Essential Waitrose Bourbon Creams

 Per biscuit (13g)Per 100g
Calories68487
Carbs9.3g66.1g
Sugar4.2g30.3g
Fat3g21.6g
Saturated fat1.8g13.1g
Salt0.04g0.3g
Protein0.8g5.4g
Fibre0.5g3.4g

 


Jammie Dodgers – Raspberry

 Per biscuit (18g)Per 100g
Calories77432
Carbs12.6g70.9g
Sugar4.9g27.4g
Fat2.5g13.8g
Saturated fat1.2g6.5g
Salt0.1g0.6g
Protein0.9g5g
Fibre0.3g1.9g

 


McVitie's Jaffa Cakes

 Per biscuit (12.2g)Per 100g
Calories46380
Carbs8.6g70.8g
Sugar6.4g52.5g
Fat1g8g
Saturated fat0.5g4.1g
Salttrace0.2g
Protein0.6g4.9g
Fibre0.3g2.2g

 


Essential Waitrose Custard Creams

 Per biscuit (12.5g)Per 100g
Calories62487
Carbs8.5g66.8g
Sugar3.9g30.6g
Fat2.7g21.1g
Saturated fat1.4g11.3g
Salt0.06g0.5g
Protein0.8g6.1g
Fibre0.4g3.1g

 


McVitie's Original Digestives

 Per biscuit (14.8g)Per 100g
Calories71481
Carbs9.3g62.9g
Sugar2.5g16.6g
Fat3.2g21.3g
Saturated fat1.5g10.1g
Salt0.2g1.3g
Protein1.1g7.2g
Fibre0.5g3.6g

 


McVitie's Digestive Lights

 Per biscuit (14.8g)Per 100g
Calories66447
Carbs10.3g69.7g
Sugar3g20.2g
Fat2.1g14.4g
Saturated fat0.2g1.5g
Salt0.2g1.2g
Protein1.1g7.3g
Fibre0.5g3.6g

 


Waitrose All Butter Shortbread Fingers

 Per biscuit (20g)Per 100g
Calories105525
Carbs11.8g59.1g
Sugar3g14.9g
Fat5.8g29.2g
Saturated fat3.7g18.4g
Salt0.1g0.6g
Protein1.1g5.6g
Fibre0.4g1.9g

 


Cadbury Fingers

 Per biscuit (5.3g)Per 100g
Calories27516
Carbs3.2g60g
Sugar1.6g30.5g
Fat1.4g27.1g
Saturated fat0.7g14.8g
Salt0.03g0.4g
Protein0.4g7.3g
Fibre0.1g1.5g

 


 

Tunnock's Milk Chocolate Tea Cakes

 Per tea cake (24g)Per 100g
Calories106440
Carbs14.9g61.9g
Sugar8.6g36g
Fat4.6g19.2g
Saturated fat2.5g10.5g
Salt0.2g0.7g
Protein1.2g4.9g
Fibre0.6g2.4g

 


Crawford's Pink Wafers

 Per biscuit (7.1g)Per 100g
Calories39551
Carbs4.4g61.5g
Sugar2.3g32.4g
Fat2.3g32.1g
Saturated fat1.8g25.3g
Salt0.02g0.25g
Protein0.3g3.6g
Fibre0.1g0.8g

 


Essential Waitrose Nice Biscuits

 Per biscuit (7.8g)Per 100g
Calories40498
Carbs5.1g63.2g
Sugar2g25g
Fat1.9g23.9g
Saturated fat1.1g13.3g
Salt0.02g0.3g
Protein0.5g5.8g
Fibre0.3g3.5g

 


Sugar content of biscuits

Most of us know that we need to cut down on our free sugar intake. Free sugar includes all sugar which is added to anything we eat or drink, and may appear on the ingredients list as many different names such as: glucose, sucrose, maltose, honey, molasses, maple syrup, glucose syrup, hydrolyzed starch, corn syrup, agave nectar, coconut palm sugar, or treacle.

As you can see, they also include honey, syrups and also fruit juice. However, naturally-occurring fructose in fruit, and lactose in milk, are not the types of sugar we need to cut down on, and some biscuits do contain small amounts of dried fruit.

Free sugar is linked to tooth decay, obesity and can lead to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. Read more about how to cut down on sugar.

Where could you make savings on sugar?

  • 2x milk chocolate digestives = 9.8g sugar (just under a 1/3 of daily intake)
    Swap for: 2x plain digestives = save 24kcals and 4.8g sugar
  • 2x jaffa cakes = 12.8g sugar (almost 1/2 of your daily intake)
    Swap for: 2x rich tea lights = save 20kcals and 9.4g sugar
  • 2x custard creams = 7.8g sugar (about 1/4 of your daily intake)
    Swap for: 2x nice biscuits = save 3.8g sugar and 44kcals

Fat content of biscuits

Biscuits are also hiding a fairly high amount of fat. Many of the biscuits we put under the spotlight used either butter or palm oil as the fat of choice. Both are high in saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease.

However, rich tea biscuits are made with sunflower oil, which explains their lower saturated fat content.

Unsaturated fats from plant oils like sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil help maintain levels of good cholesterol (HDL). All fats are high in calories so, if you are trying to maintain or achieve a healthy weight, cutting down on the amount of fat in your diet can really help.

We all need some fat in our diets to provide energy and essential fatty acids, but it’s important to think about how much you're having, and the type of fat.

Type 1 diabetes and biscuits

If you have Type 1 diabetes, in the past your insulin regime may not have been as flexible as the basal bolus regimes we see today. Many people were taking fixed doses of insulin and were therefore advised to eat regular carb-containing snacks such as biscuits.

Newer insulins, and carbohydrate counting courses such as DAFNE, have meant that people with Type 1 diabetes have increased flexibility and may not require snacks. If you find that you need to eat a carb-containing snack to keep blood sugar levels up – but you don't really feel like eating or are trying to manage your weight – speak to your diabetes team for advice.

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