Breakfast is definitely a good idea. It sets you up with energy for the day, and can contribute to good health and nutrition. But it's a meal that can easily fall by the wayside when you're rushing to get out the door in the morning. And we're not just talking about adults – a recent ABS survey found that 15% of school children were skipping breakfast.
There are a range of on-the-go breakfast options that cater to people who can't seem to find time for a sit-down morning meal, but the breakfast biscuit category in particular appears to be growing. Marketed as "a great start to your day" and "energy for the whole morning", breakfast biscuits appear to offer the whole package for busy people – tasty, shelf-stable and portable.
But can a bikkie make a good brekky? We've calculated the Health Star Ratings and listed the nutrition information for 16 different breakfast biscuit products across half a dozen brands in our nutrition table below.
Whole grains appear in the ingredients list of all the breakfast biscuits in our review. And based on the percentage of wholegrain content provided on the label, 13 of the 16 products meet the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council Code of Practice requirements for a claim to be 'very high in' (at least 24g whole grain per serve), be 'high in' (at least 16g per serve) or 'contain' (at least 8g per serve) whole grain.
Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults eat at least four to six serves of grain (cereal) foods – mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties – every day. And Scandinavian research recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that eating more wholegrains was associated with lower mortality rates in a study of over 120,000 people. So the percentage of wholegrains in a food is an important consideration when comparing and choosing products.
Additionally, most of the products we reviewed can – and do – claim to be a 'source of fibre', and contain at least the required minimum of 2g of dietary fibre in a serve. The belVita Fruit & Fibre product contains more than 4g of dietary fibre in a serve, which is a 'good source' according to the food standards code.
Breakfast biscuits are generally high in sugar. Dried fruit ingredients are contributing to the total amount in a few products, but in most cases it's added sugars, which sometimes appear on the ingredients list more than once under a range of names (such as raw sugar, brown sugar, honey and golden syrup – see our article on how to identify added sugars in your food for more sneaky sweeteners).
Butter and coconut also feature high up on the ingredients list in several products, and while they may benefit the taste, their inclusion also bumps up these products' saturated fat content (and subsequently lowers their Health Star Rating).
And where most breakfast cereals are fortified with micronutrients such as folate, iron and B vitamins – which can get you on track to meet your daily requirement of these nutrients – only the Sanitarium biscuits in our review even mention added vitamins and minerals on their label (because Weet-Bix, which is fortified, is an ingredient). And of course, when you opt for a breakfast biscuit you're also missing out on the calcium and additional protein you'd get from the milk you'd be adding to your cereal.
The fact that the belVita packaging suggests that a balanced breakfast consists of a serve of its biscuits in addition to a plain low-fat dairy product (for calcium intake), a piece of fruit (for vitamins) and a tea or a coffee (for hydration) says it all. So much for breakfast on the run!
Breakfast biscuits are convenient, but if you can set aside a few extra minutes to sit down for a bowl of good quality breakfast cereal – perhaps with some fresh fruit and yoghurt – you can be nutritionally better off.
|Product name||Health Star Rating||Price per 100g*||Serve size (g)||kJ per 100g||Sat fat per 100g (g)||Sugars per 100g (g)||Sodium per 100g (mg)||Fibre per 100g (g)||Whole-grain cereals (%)||Country of origin statement|
|247 Cranberry Dark Cherry Vanilla Bean & Quinoa Breakfast Biscuits||1||2.22||45 (1 biscuit)||2020||16||30.8||158||4.6||15||Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients|
|247 Raspberry White Chocolate Coconut & Ancient Grains Breakfast Biscuits||1||2.22||45 (1 biscuit)||2050||17||30.2||161||4.5||15||Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients|
|belVita Breakfast Chocolate Biscuits||2.5||1.33||50 (4 biscuits)||1740||3.4||27.8||181||7||35||Made in France|
|belVita Breakfast Fruit & Fibre Biscuits||4||1.33||50 (4 biscuits)||1680||1.5||22.4||124||8.8||36||Made in Czech Republic|
|belVita Breakfast Honey & Nut with Choc Chips Biscuits||2.5||1.33||50 (4 biscuits)||1620||1.7||26.8||356||4.3||34||Made in Czech Republic|
|belVita Breakfast Milk & Cereals Biscuits||3||1.33||50 (4 biscuits)||1730||1.5||21.3||328||6.8||26||Made in France|
|belVita Breakfast Cranberry Biscuits||3.5||1.33||50 (4 biscuits)||1600||1.4||19.7||302||6.4||58||Made in Czech Republic|
|belVita Breakfast Crunchy Oats Biscuits||2.5||1.33||50 (4 biscuits)||1710||1.4||22.2||519||5.5||52||Made in Czech Republic|
|My Yummy Lunchbox Mixed Berry & Beetroot Breakfast Biscuits||1.5||2||38 (4 biscuits)||1840||10.2||25.3||262||5.6||47||Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients|
|Red Tractor Kids Brekky Bikks Honey Crunch||2||2.84||40 (1 biscuit)||1740||11.1||18||164||5.6||50||Made in Australia from 100% local ingredients|
|Sanitarium Weet-Bix Go Honey & Oat Crunch Breakfast Biscuits||3.5||1.2||50 (4 biscuits)||1830||1.5||15.6||295||7.5||60||Made in Australia|
|Sanitarium Weet-Bix Go Apricot Coconut Fusion Breakfast Biscuits||3||1.2||50 (4 biscuits)||1870||2.9||17.7||325||7.9||49||Made in Australia|
|Sanitarium Weet-Bix Go Wild Berry Burst Breakfast Biscuits||3||1.2||50 (4 biscuits)||1800||1.4||19.2||335||7.5||51||Made in Australia|
|Sanitarium Weet-Bix Go Apple Cinnamon Twist Breakfast Biscuits||3||1.2||50 (4 biscuits)||1810||1.4||22||330||7.4||48||Made in Australia|
|Belmont (Aldi) Brekki Bikkies Fruit & Fibre||2.5||1.00||37.5 (3 biscuits)||1920||3.5||14.5||339||6.5||21||Made in the Netherlands from imported and local ingredients|
|Belmont (Aldi) Brekki Bikkies Milk & Cereal||2.5||1.00||37.5 (3 biscuits)||1790||2.2||13.9||298||3.8||ns||Made in the Netherlands from imported and local ingredients|
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.