Our top 5 baked beans

24/02/2016 Canteen Advice, Healthy Eating, Help for Parents, Lunchbox, Product Reviews

Baked beans are a quick, easy and cheap snack for kids and can be eaten hot or cold straight from the can. They are packed full of iron, protein and fibre which are essential for growth, and also help kids feel fuller for longer. With all the different brands and flavours available at the supermarket, deciding which one to buy can be tricky. So we’ve put together our top five baked beans for kids.

We’ve assessed these baked beans against our Better Choice criteria, which help to identify nutritious foods that kids will enjoy eating while being in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines. For baked beans, Better Choice criteria look at:

  • Reduced salt – Look for baked beans that are low in salt. Check the label and choose those that have less than 250mg of sodium per 100g.
  • Added ingredients – baked beans with added extras such as cheese, ham and sausage should be avoided because they contain increased amounts of salt and saturated fat. They aren’t as nutritious as other options.
  • Saturated fat – choose baked beans that are low in total and saturated fat. On the label, look for less than 1g of saturated fat per 100g.

How did we come up with the list?

We looked for baked beans that contained no added fats, were low in saturated fats (less than or equal to 1g per 100g) and low in salt (less than or equal to 250mg of sodium per 100g). We also took into consideration the price and suitability for kids, and last but certainly not least, the all-important taste test. Ideally, it would be great if kids happily ate baked beans with no added salt, however we know (from personal experience) that this is unlikely to happen, so we have left them off this list.

We also calculated the Health Star Rating and our top 5 rate at 4 stars or higher.

The top 5 baked beans

The table at the end of this article provides a more detailed summary of the nutritional content of our top five picks. We compared each product based on 100g.

1. SPC Rich Tomato Sauce – Salt Reduced

SPCThis was an all-round winner, meeting all our selection criteria. It had the lowest sodium content (aside from no added salt varieties), was low in fat (0.5g per 100g) and at just $0.31 per 100g, it was also the cheapest of our top five choices. The lower salt content did not impact on flavour as much as we thought it would – still tasty!

2. Heinz Tomato Sauce – Salt Reduced

Heinz Tomato SauceThese beans were ranked highly by our team in terms of taste and only contained a small amount of fat (0.5g per 100g). The sodium content is not as low as the above SPC salt reduced variety, (226mg per 100g), but are readily available in most major supermarkets at a reasonable price of $0.50 per 100g. Plus, they taste great when paired with reduced fat cheese and sliced tomato on a toasted sandwich.

3. Heinz Fiery Mexican Beanz

Heinz Fiery Mexican BeanzThe Heinz Fiery Mexican variety is packed with flavour and was our favourite. Despite the name, they don’t actually contain much spice, making them suitable for children. They are low in fat (0.3g per 100g), and the tomatoes, red capsicum and hint of chilli make them the perfect, quick replacement for your usual beef or chicken when whipping up a Mexican fiesta! Note that they do have a higher energy content (555kJ per 100g) compared to our other options, and are slightly more costly ($0.59 per 100g). These are a great alternative to regular baked beans and a savvy way to bulk out your Mexican dishes without compromising on flavour or fullness.

4. Coles Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce

ColesThe tomato sauce provides the traditional taste of baked beans and that hearty, comfort feeling we all know and love. From our top five, these contained the second lowest sodium content (230mg per 100g) and are very cheap, only costing $0.39 per 100g … bargain! However, they have more fat (0.6g per 100g) than the rest of our choices. They are an excellent snack straight out of the can (the 220g size is ideal for a mid-afternoon snack).

5. Heinz Five Beanz

Heinz Five BeanzFeeling keen for extra beans?! Compared to traditional baked beans, this option offers added variety and nutrients from a mixture of different beans including haricot, cannellini and red kidney beans. With only 0.3g of total fat per 100g and reduced sodium content (230mg per 100g), this is one of the healthier options. However, the beans were slightly pricier ($0.54 per 100g) and there were mixed opinions among us about the taste, which is why this comes in at number five.

Nutrition information:

Brand and nameServing size (g)Energy (kJ) per serveEnergy (kJ) per 100gTotal fat (g) per 100gSaturated fat (g) per 100gSodium (mg) per 100gCost ($) per 100g
SPC Rich Tomato Sauce, Salt Reduced2207883580.5< 0.12260.31
Heinz Tomato Sauce, Salt Reduced2108003800.50.12400.50
Heinz Beanz Fiery Mexican2101,1705550.30.12450.59
Coles Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce2207903590.60.12300.39
Heinz Five Beanz2108003850.30.12300.54

Tip:

Eat baked beans with a source of vitamin C (e.g. spinach and capsicum) to increase iron absorption.