Breakfast - kickstart your day!

Starting your day right with a nutritious breakfast is one of the best ways to set yourself up for good health.

Why is breakfast so important?

While all meals are important, breakfast literally means ‘breaking the fast’. It’s your chance to refuel your body for the day ahead.

Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast:

  1. ​can help you meet your daily nutrition needs and can help you control your blood sugar
  2. can help with concentration, particularly in children
  3. can help you manage your weight

1. Breakfast, nutrition and health.

Breakfast is a great chance to get a head start on packing in the nutrients your body needs to function well.

As well as helping you to meet your daily nutrition needs, a regular breakfast habit may help you reduce your cholesterol levels and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That is why the American Heart Association recommends including a healthy breakfast as part of your diet, and where possible, eating a greater share of your calorie intake earlier in the day.

Make the most of breakfast by choosing nutrient dense foods like:

  • wholegrain breads

  • wholegrain cereals

  • fruits

  • dairy or fortified dairy free milks

  • nuts and seeds.

Should I choose breakfast cereal?

Breakfast cereal and milk is a great choice. Research shows that Australians who eat breakfast cereal have more nutritious diets than people who eat other breakfasts.

The research compared people who ate breakfast cereals with people who ate other breakfasts or skipped breakfast altogether. It found that the breakfast cereal eaters had the lowest intake of saturated fat and added sugars, with the highest intakes of fibre plus a range of micronutrients like iron, calcium and magnesium. They were also more likely to meet the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommendations for grain foods, fruit and dairy.

Breakfast cereal also makes sense if you’re watching your weight. Adults who ate breakfast cereals had slimmer waists and were more likely to be a healthy weight than people who ate other breakfasts.

Together breakfast cereal and milk, as part of a balanced diet, with regular exercise, represent an important source of vitamin B1 for energy and vitality, protein for muscles, iron to help fight tiredness and calcium for strong bones

2. Breakfast & concentration.

Studies have shown eating breakfast can help improve concentration, behaviour and learning in school children and young people. In fact, a review of 50 years of research on breakfast and cognition in children found that eating breakfast was better for cognitive function than missing breakfast.

Did you know? Breakfast skipping tends to increase as children get older. Eating breakfast as a family while your children are young is more likely to help them to maintain good breakfast eating habits as they become young adults. Another good reason for the whole family to enjoy the benefits of breakfast!

3. Breakfast and weight management.

Did you know that people who routinely eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to be a healthy weight? In fact, a recent study found that front-loading calories to eat proportionately more in the morning might help us to feel less hungry throughout the day compared with eating more later in the day. This may be especially true of brekkies that are high in fibre and protein.

Why? Fibre and protein can help you feel fuller for longer which means you're less likely to snack on high-fat and sugary foods later in the day.

Breakfast tips

Don’t skip, make it quick

“I don’t have enough time for breakfast” is one of the most common reasons people give for skipping breakfast. The solution? Make it quick!

Quick fixes

  • Team a wholegrain cereal like Weet-Bix™ with fresh fruit, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and So Good™ plant-based milk which provides calcium, or dairy, for healthy bones *.

  • Sanitarium™ Peanut butter, which proivides protein, to help maintain muscles*, and sliced banana on wholegrain toast or a grainy crisp bread.

  • Sprinkle natural muesli, berries, nuts and seeds on some low-fat natural yoghurt.

  • A chilled liquid breakfast like UP&GO™ which provides protein to support muscles*.

  • A piece of fruit, a handful of unsalted nuts and a glass of low fat milk or So Good. *as part of a balanced diet with regular exercise

Have a bit more time?

Try these healthy starts:

  • fruit smoothie with frozen fruits (such as banana or berries), nuts (like almonds, cashews or hazelnut), and some dairy or plant-based milk (soy, oat or almond milk)

  • grainy sourdough toast topped with hummus and baked beans

  • poached or boiled eggs with baked sweet potato, mushrooms, tomato, baby spinach leaves and avocado

  • traditional rolled oats made into a porridge, topped with sliced banana, ground linseeds and a little honey.

Not hungry in the mornings?

These tips might help:

  • Make sure your dinners aren’t too big or too late. Try eating 2-3 hours before sleeping and watch your portions - you’ll be surprised how hungry you’ll be by breakfast time.

  • Swap high fat and sugary after dinner snacks for something lighter like herbal teas, fruit, or popcorn instead.

  • Pack up your breakfast, especially if you don’t have the time or desire to have it at home. Try going to work just a little earlier and have it at your work kitchen or at your desk just before starting your work routine.

  • If you’re not a breakfast fan, don’t feel that it needs to be big. Keep it to a 1/4-1/3 cup of muesli or 2 wholegrain cereal biscuits topped with milk, berries and ground linseeds. Or a slice of grainy sourdough toast with avocado or peanut butter and a glass of dairy or fortified plant-based milk.

Looking for recipe inspiration? Head over to our recipe hub to explore our collection of easy, dietitian approved and nutritious meals or subscribe to our Recipe of the Week newsletter.

  1. Nutrition Research Australia, Breakfast and Breakfast Cereal Consumption Among Australians – A secondary analysis of the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, Sydney, February 2016

  2. Rampersaud GC, Pereira MA, Girard BL, et al. Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc 2005;105:5:743-760.

  3. Hamedani A, Akhavan T, Samra RA, Anderson GH. Reduced energy intake at breakfast is not compensated for at lunch if a high-insoluble-fiber cereal replaces a low-fiber cereal. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:5:1343-1349.

  4. Wing RR, Phelan S. Long-term weight loss maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;82(suppl):222S-225S.

  5. Hunty A, Ashwell M. Are people who regularly eat breakfast cereals slimmer than those who don’t? A systematic review of the evidence. Nutr Bull 2007;32:118-128.

  6. Alsharairi NA, Somerset SM. Skipping breakfast in early childhood and its associations with maternal and child BMI: a study of 2-5-year-old Australian children. Eur J Clin Nutr 2016;70:450-455.

  7. Williams PG. The benefits of breakfast cereal consumption: a systematic review of the evidence base. Adv Nutr 2014;5:636S-673S.

  8. Hoyland A, Dye L, Lawton CL. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutrition Research Reviews 2009; 22: 220-243

  9. Pearson N, Biddle SJH, Gorely T. Family correlates of breakfast consumption among children and adolescents. A systematic review. Appetite 2009;52:1-7.

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