According to research, Whether we buy biscuits for midday snacks, filling the kids’ lunch boxes or serving with our afternoon cuppas, the biscuit industry is worth a staggering £2.2billion – and we’ll be the first to admit we might have contributed to that more than a little!
Biscuits are our go-to treat, and we all have our favorites : Hob Nobs, Jaffa Cakes, Oreo, Parle G, Britannia, we don’t know where we’d be without a biscuit or two on the treat menu from time to time. But is our child’s craving for a sweet treat causing harm to our child’s daily regime? And are we putting our child’s health & well-being in danger? We decided to investigate…Are biscuits safe for our child?
Biscuits are everywhere…You can find them in boardroom meetings, sports meet, tea time parties etc…But the question is are they good for health…???
Let’s see what biscuits are made up of and Biscuits are a popular snack for children of all ages. They are delicious and make for quick and easy treats. There are hundreds of unique biscuit brands in the market that you can choose from. Further, it might seem like a good food for your baby as they are soft and can be easily crushed. However, it is not a simple as it seems. This article will explain how biscuits are actually not a nutritious treat for your child.
Reasons you should Avoid Giving Commercial Biscuits to Babies
This might come as a surprise to you, but while biscuits are tasty, they are absolutely worthless from a nutrition standpoint. This can be extremely problematic for a variety of reasons.
1.Refined Wheat flour
This is nothing but maida aka refined wheat flour which is low in fiber. Although now whole wheat flour now is being added but the maida or refined flour is still the main ingredient. Hence can cause blood sugar spikes which in the long term can cause diabetes.
In fact, due to this process, refined wheat flour is actually devoid of anything useful. Further, refined wheat flour takes a much longer time to get digested, overworking the digestive system even in adults. When it comes to babies, their intestines are less developed and will endure a lot more stress when attempting to digest maida
2.Too much Sugar
All biscuits are very high in sugar and hence in calories too. Processed foods like biscuits and sodas have exorbitant amounts of refined sugar added to them to enhance the flavour. This is quite dangerous for a variety of reasons. First, it can cause mild addictions known as sugar rushes, making your baby crave for biscuits even at the expense of a healthy meal. Further, the sugar often used is known as invert sugar, as it is considerably sweeter than glucose. It is employed due to the small size of its crystals, allowing for a more uniform composition. Invert sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it can hold moisture quite well, preventing the biscuit from drying up on contact with air, improving the shelf life of the product. However, it can cause some major problems like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and so on.
Vegetable fats or hydrogenated fats are added in very high quantities and are baked at very high temperatures. So next time you pick up a pack saying trans free, they are fooling you. Biscuits cannot be low fat or fat free. The labels contain partially hydrogenated fats which is similar to hydrogenated.
Fats found in biscuits, cakes and processed foods could have a harmful effect on memory, researchers have warned.
The fats, known as trans fats, are used both in processed food, often to improve the texture, shelf life or flavor.
Be it the Parle G Biscuits that we have all grown up with or the bourbons that we lick only the cream off; the biscuit has long been a part of life.
4. Trans Fats
Trans Fats are a certain kind of fat used in processed food to maintain shape, flavour and consistency. However, not only is it completely lacking in nutrients, it can also cause serious problems, as it causes an imbalance in the good and bad cholesterol levels in the body. In babies, it is known to result in vision problems, nervous disorders, allergic conditions, diabetes and obesity. Many brands might mention that there is no trans fat in their product, but this is often misleading as there is almost always a small amount. Even this can be problematic for your baby.
5. No Nutrition
Simply put, biscuits just have nothing of nutritive value in them. They basically contain refined wheat flour, unhealthy fat, sodium potassium and a host of harmful synthetic substances.
Biscuits have almost no dietary fiber or roughage in them. As you are aware, roughage is important in the efficient passage of stools out of the body. This could cause severe constipation in your baby, which can have serious complications such as anal fissures, vomiting, faecal blood, and so on.
7. Empty Fillers
Biscuits provide nothing of value to your baby while still satiating their hunger. This also applies to other foods like these include sweets, chocolates, cakes, soft drinks, and so on. These items are known as empty calorie foods, as they provide energy for basic body functioning but nothing else. You can technically live off biscuits alone, but it would be a short and unhealthy life.
First let’s glance through what generally most of the biscuits contain…& which biscuits are good for babies ?
What goes into commercial biscuits?
To understand what’s your favorite biscuit actually contain, I’ve done some research on biscuit ingredients. For this purpose, I have selected two of the most common biscuits given to babies in India – Parle G and Milk Bikis.
Generally, the ingredients of any product are listed in order of decreasing quantity, so the first ingredient in the list will have the highest concentration, which means that it is the major ingredient in that product.
The term wheat flour can be misleading as some may think that it refers to whole wheat flour, when in reality, ‘wheat flour’ simply means that it’s refined flour, or maida.
so finally, store-bought biscuit brands are not recommended for all the reasons mentioned above. You can replace biscuits with healthier snacks like fruits, nuts, and so on. There no best biscuits for babies; however, here are some healthy options:
Homemade biscuits. Recipes for healthy biscuits for babies are easily available on the internet. You can use healthy ingredients like oats, ragi, millets, almonds, raisins and so on. However, ensure you avoid raising agents while baking.
Whole wheat biscuits. These don’t have any refined wheat flour in them.
Organic biscuits. These biscuits come without any artificial or synthetic chemicals like preservatives or additives.
Now you know what kind of biscuits you can’t give your baby, so let’s get to the good ones that are safe for babies and kids.
The best option is to bake your own biscuits, of course! To help you, we have a wide range of cookies recipes in the recipes section.
Here’s also our round up of the best and worst biscuits on the supermarket shelves, so you can make a healthier choice next time you find yourself in the biscuit aisle. Now you just have to remember to stick to one. So, let’s see if biscuits are as healthy as the companies claim them to be.
Be smart and stick to one-
Jammy Dodgers: 2/10
Verdict: Jammy Dodgers contain almost a heaped teaspoon of sugar in each one and there’s no real raspberry in the fruity center.
McVitie’s Chocolate Hobnobs: 3/10
Verdict: These have more than 7 times the amount of saturated fats and almost double the amount of sugar compared to plain HobNobs.
Fox’s Moos Malted Milk: 8/10
Verdict: These biscuits have a high malt and milk content as well as having one of the lowest calories amounts per biscuit and a low sugar and sat fat content.
Cals: 30 Lowes Calories
Verdict: Watch your sugar intake, as more than a couple of these could cause it to spike, but who would have thought that a chocolate biscuit could contain less calories.
So think smart and nourish only delicious and yet nutrient dense food to your children. When your baby begins eating solid food, meal options increase drastically. If it gets difficult to decide, you can always choose fresh organic food items like fresh fruits and vegetables. You can prepare a variety of dishes with these ingredients such as salads, smoothies and veggies. However, these can get boring quite fast. You can replace them with healthy homemade biscuits as the occasional snack, while strictly avoiding commercial or processed foods. If you have to use store-bought biscuits, ensure it is during an emergency such as during travel, and so on.Wishing your child a healthy lifestyle forever.
I will be happy to support you on your queries related to healthy eating habits in young children.