It’s been a staple breakfast for hundreds of thousands of people for many years, but is it actually as good for us as we think. We put the tasty breakfast bikkies under the nutritional microscope to decide – is Weetabix healthy, or not?
What is Weetabix?
Weetabix is breakfast cereal made by the company Weetabix Limited. It’s basically a little squoval biscuit that you eat with milk – usually in the morning. But, you might be wondering what’s in it?
Good stuff is the answer!
Weetabix is wheat biscuit is made from wholegrain wheat with a little bit of barley extract to add flavour, a dash of sugar and salt and some added vitamins and minerals to boost its health credentials.
All of these are mixed together, then steamed. And then milled to create wheat flakes. Those flakes are then crushed together into biscuity shapes and toasted to make them the crispy biscuits you know and love.
Benefits of Eating Weetabix
Because the wholewheat is used to make Weetabix, the biscuits are a wholegrain which adds a tick in the the ‘yes they’re healthy box’ and provides many of the health benefits potentially associated with eating Weetabix.
Wholegrains are the best form of starchy carbohydrate that you can eat. Not only do they contain more nutrients than the more refined type of carbohydrate, they also have more fibre and keep you fuller for longer.
If that wasn’t enough of a reason to load your bowl, research from Harvard University Medical School found that people who eat the most wholegrains live the longest – and replacing just one serving a day, of refined carbs with wholegrains – like eating a Weetabix breakfast rather than say, white toast with honey – increased risk of living a longer life by 8 per cent.
And yes, there’s the digestive benefits of fibre to consider. For most people increasing fibre is a good thing and will get things moving. The healthy bacteria in your gut also love plant fibres (and wheat is a plant fibre) and feeding them the fuel they need is not only associated with good digestive health, but all round health – and even better mood!
How Many Calories in Weetabix?
There are two biscuits in a standard serving of Weetabix and that contains 136 calories. If you add 150ml of skimmed milk, that’s another 75 calories and so, you’re looking at around 211 calories a bowl.
The calories in Weetabix mostly come from carbohydrates – there’s very little fat in Weetabix, just 0.8g in total and 0.2g of saturated fat per serving. And while they do use salt and sugar – these are in tiny amounts so, yet again, Weetabix classes as healthy.
Is Weetabix a Healthy Breakfast?
It’s a lot better than what’s in that bowl above!
It provides fibre, the added nutrients boost your daily intake of things like iron and B vitamins and topping it wth dairy (or fortified alt milk) gives a much needed dose of calcium. But, if you want to make it a little more filling and balanced, you might want to add some extras.
It’s suggested that most of us should have around 400 calories for breakfast and so, the 211 calories in a serving of Weetabix is a bit low (yes, even if you’re trying to lose weight) and so, you might want to add some fruit – say a banana and some berries (about another 150 calories).
Or, pack on some extra protein with a small handful of nuts or seeds, some low-sugar nut butter, use some extra yogurt alongside the milk or have a poached, boiled or scrambled egg on the side.
Is Weetabix Good For Weight Loss?
It can be…. although if you eat more calories than you burn, or a higher percentage of carbs that suit your body within those calories, you won’t get optimum results just because you’ve eaten Weetabix!
As you can see, Weetabix is low calorie but, that fibre we keep talking about; the 3.8g per 2 biscuit serving; that is very filling and the fuller you feel, the more likely it is that you’ll stick to your diet plan.
You don’t even need to eat it with breakfast, one Weetabix with some milk can also make a great afternoon snack if you’re slimming.
The big mistake if you’re watching your weight (or simply trying to eat more healthily) is to add more sugar to your Weetabix as that will add extra calories with no nutritional value. A natural sweetener like Stevia can create sweetness with fewer calories, but a better way to add some sweetness is to add a little fruit.
Admittedly, some people don’t do so well on a higher carb diet. This doesn’t mean you need to eliminate them completely, but if you find that you don’t feel full after eating two Weetabix, adding some extra protein, as suggested above might help, or, if you’re in the UK, you could try Weetabix Protein which uses added rice flour to boost the protein content. Two Weetabix Protein biscuits contain 12g of protein – compared to the 4.5g you’ll find in the original biscuits. But they only contain 10 more calories per serving.
Obviously Weetabix is not a low-carb food so, if you’re on a very strict low-carb diet it’s not going to fit into your plan- and sorry, Weetabix is definitely not keto-friendly.
Is Weetabix Gluten-Free?
Unfortunately not as it contains both wheat and barley.
Is Weetabix Vegan?
Yes – not every product make by the Weetabix company is suitable for vegans, but Weetabix Original wheat biscuits, Organic Weetabix and Weetabix Protein are on the list of those suitable for a vegan diet – although, obviously, you’ll need to top it with a dairy-free milk.
So, Is Weetabix Healthy?
Yes. There is no doubt about it, Weetabix is healthy.
There are however a few more questions we need to address before we sign off…
Is Chocolate Weetabix Healthy?
Gone are the days when the only way to ring the changes with your Weetabix breakfast was to have it with hot milk instead of cold – now it comes in flavours. Including a most decadent sounding Chocolate Weetabix which adds chocolate chips to the biscuits (yum)!
It’s not quite as healthy as the original one – if you use the traffic light system, you’ll see that Weetabix Chocolate is amber for three out of the four categories – fat, saturates and sugar – but, even though with the extra chocolate chips to the mix, it’s not like you’ve added a bar of Galaxy to your breakfast bowl!
In comparison to Original Weetabix, Chocolate Weetabix contains slightly more calories – 165 calories for two biscuits compared to 135. Fat goes up to 1.7g a serving – and sugar rises to 7.7g. It’s suggested that we don’t go over 24g of sugar a day so, even that’s not so bad if you don’t have other sugary item throughout the day.
Does this mean you shouldn’t eat it? No – it’s still supplying an important source of fibre and other nutrients, just maybe don’t make it your daily choice and definitely don’t add more sugar on the top.
Can You Eat Too Many Weetabix?
According to the Weetabix website, because the biscuits are fortified with nutrients, you shouldn’t totally overdo your intake. They suggest no more than four Weetabix a day
Is Weet-Bix the Same as Weetabix?
‘Why do you call it Weetabix?’ asked my friend Paula here in Sydney when I told her what I was writing about this week. At this point, I remembered that, the Australian’s call it Weet-Bix – and so I wondered are they actually the same thing?
And, my mind was blown.
Weet-Bix is actually the real name! Weet-Bix is actually an Australian product (now made by the Sanitarium company) but when the inventors launched it the UK, it was decided to call it Weetabix.
So, how does Weet-Bix compare for things like calories etc? It’s very close. It seems that the British biscuits are slightly bigger than the Aussie ones as a suggested serving of 2 biscuits in the UK weighs 37.5g – but in Australia, they weigh 30g,
As such, before milk, the Australian version has 107 calories per serving but is still very low in fat and sugar. So in case you’re wondering yes, Weetbix is just as healthy as Weetabix!
How Do You Stop Weetabix Going Soggy?
Sorry, can’t help you there. Because Weetabix is milled into fine flakes, as soon as anything wet touches it, they’re going to quickly get soaked through. And, while some people do eat dry Weetabix (see below), it can be tough going. There are however some theories as to how to keep the biscuits at least semi solid for longer.
These include putting the milk in first and not using too much at a time so the biscuits don’t get time to soak for too long. There’s also a technique involving breaking the biscuits up and dunking them in the milk biscuit style rather than submerging them! Hot milk might soften them faster than cold.
The only real way to do it – and not end up having to force down dry biscuits – is to top them with yogurt rather than milk.
Why Does Weetabix Make Me Bloat?
There’s a few reasons. While generally the wholegrain fibre in Weetabix is going to help regulate your digestive system, some people do find that high-fibre diets can irritate the bowel.
One common reason for this is swapping from a low-fibre diet to a high one too quickly which confuses the bugs in your system that have to break down the fibre. If you currently eat a fairly low fibre diet, then increase your intake slowly and you’ll avoid bloat.
Chewing. Most people don’t chew food enough, which means your digestive system has to spend longer breaking the food down into the right size particles to extract the nutrients from it – and that delay increases production of gas. This is less likely with Weetabix that some other high fibre cereals due to the soggy issue discussed above, but, if you’re eating dry Weetabix, or nomming it down superfast, try slowing down and chewing.
As the name might suggest Weetabix contains wheat and some people do find this causes bloating. However, reacting to wheat does not mean that you’re intolerant to gluten and must give up everything containing it – that might not be the case.
You could be reacting to sugars found in wheat called FODMAPs and if so, giving up gluten is a step too far. The best thing to do is keep a food diary of your symptoms, try and work out when things flare up and then work with a dietitian or nutritionist to determine exactly what’s triggering your problems -and how to replace that in your diet.
Eight Exciting Ways to Eat Weetabix
When I wrote another piece in this series on whether Ryvita is healthy, I was very excited to find out that you can make a Ferrero Rocher type chocolate ball with crushed Ryvita and so, I wanted to find some ideas to use Weetabix in new ways too… and here’s eight you might like to try. Well, seven – the last one might be more of an acquired taste!
Top it with fruit juice: Why should milk have all the fun? You can top Weetabix with apple or pineapple juice and throw some berries on top.
Eat it with custard: Okay, so I’m not sure this is going to score quite as many health points as eating it with plain milk, but how yummy does it sound. Add some stewed apple or rhubarb and it’ll almost be like crumble!
Add it to smoothies: If you want a more substantial smoothie, with a shot of wholegrain, then add 1 biscuit to a milk and fruit smoothie and blend.
Try it like a biscuit: There are people who eat Weetabix as a plain biscuit with butter on it -although that might not be the lowest fat option. Marmite, honey and low-sugar jam also work.
Or instead of toast: You might need a very mushy avocado to stop the biscuits exploding, but apparently Smashed Avo on Weetabix is a thing. As is cream cheese or cottage cheese – try adding strawberries on the top for an extra something.
Make Bannoffee Cups: This sounds so yummy…. it’s basically crumbled Weetabix mixed in a little butter, the layered with Greek Yogurt and bananas. I won’t tell if you also add a little caramel sauce. Find the recipe here.
Add it to potato: There’s a delicious sounding recipe on the Sanitarium website for a sweet potato rosti with extra Weetbix. That’s brunch sorted then.
Top it with baked beans: When Weetabix suggested this one their twitter feed, they caused a viral sensation with seemingly every other company in the world’s social media teams getting in on the fun. Even if you don’t want to try it, you need to read the twitter thread.
So there you have it – my verdict on whether Weetabix is good for you or not – and some new ways to make the most of these super healthy biscuits. So, how do you eat your Weetabix – or Weetbix? Feel free to add any other suggestions below in the comments.