What does a balanced breakfast look like?
A balanced breakfast will give you and your family a good start to the day. You should have a mix of carbohydrates, fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. These are found in lots of foods, and you can choose pretty much what you like, as long as you pick from the different breakfast food groups: grains, fruit and dairy – and of course a glass of water.
One serving, of the right size from each of these food groups will set everyone up for the day ahead. Take a look below, to find out why this is, and check out some examples of delicious balanced breakfasts.
Grain, fruit, dairy...
1. Start with grain
Grains like oats, corn, wheat and barley are important to your diet. Especially if they are whole. For a glorious breakfast with grains try a bowl of breakfast cereal made with whole grain or a slice of wholemeal toast.
Find out more about the difference between whole grain and refined grain
2. Fill up on fruit
Breakfast is a great time to kick start your ‘5 a day’. Containing vitamins, minerals and fibre, fruit’s a great addition to any breakfast. Try to eat fruits that are in season (it’s more sustainable, they have a better taste, and it gives your child the chance to learn more about the beauty of the different seasons). With so much to choose from, it isn’t hard to make a fabulous fruity feast. And for the little ones , why not cut up some of their fruity favourites and add them to their yoghurt or cereal bowl? Yummy.
3. Delicious dairy
Rich in calcium for healthy teeth and bones, dairy foods are also a good source of protein and are great at breakfast time. Milk is good with cereal but why not dollop on a spoonful of yoghurt? And cheese isn’t just for sandwiches, it makes a great breakfast – try it on toast!
4. Need a bigger breakfast? Add some extra protein
Try a slice of ham, an egg or a small handful of almonds – your balanced breakfast will be complete!
"And water of course!"
With so much delicious food to think about, let’s not forget about drinking. It is generally recommended to drink around 2 litres of water every day.
Build your breakfast
Just pick one item in each food group
|Breakfast cereal made with whole grain||25-30g||30-45g||30-45g|
|Whole grain muffin with jam (15g)||1 mini||1 piece||1 piece|
|Whole bread with butter (5g) & jam (15g)||40g (1 slice)||80g (2 slices)||80g (2 slices)|
|Crispbread with butter (5g) & jam (15g)||2 pieces||4 pieces||3 pieces|
|Semi skimmed milk||125ml||150-200ml||125ml|
|Yoghurt||125 grams||200 grams||125 grams|
|Cottage cheese||14 grams||28 grams||14 grams|
|Fruits (seasonal fruit is better)||Children||Teenagers||Adults|
|Orange||1 piece||1 piece||1 piece|
|Banana||1 piece||1 piece||1 piece|
|Apple||1 piece||1 piece||1 piece|
|Kiwi||1 piece||1 piece||2 pieces|
|Optional: more proteins||Children||Teenagers||Adults|
|Almonds||5 to 8 nuts||10 nuts||5 to 8 nuts|
|Egg||1 small||1 medium||1 small|
|Ham||1 small||57 grams/2 slices||28 grams/1 slice|
|Cheese||14 grams||14 grams||14 grams|
|Peanut butter||1/2 tablespoon||1 tablespoon||1/2 tablespoon|
A glass of water :)
1. Whole Grain Goodness: http://www.wholegraingoodness.com/wholegrain-health-benefits/wholegrain-nutrients/
2. Learn more about the Health benefits of milk: http://www.milk.co.uk
3. NHS Eat Well Guide: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/the-eatwell-guide.aspx
- ^ Whole Grain Goodness: http://www.wholegraingoodness.com/wholegrain-health-benefits/wholegrain-...
- ^ Learn more about the health benefits of milk: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/newsroom/docs/Milk%20and%20Dairy%20Q&A.pdf
- ^ NHS Eat Well Guide: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/the-eatwell-guide.aspx
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Two things to remember: • Look for food labels where the word 'whole' appears in front of the name of the grain, like “whole wheat” or “wholemeal bread”. • For foods with more than one ingredient, make sure whole grain is listed towards the top of the ingredients list. The further up the list it is, the more whole grain has been used in the recipe. And look out for the percentage of whole grain. You should find this in the ingredients list too.
A ‘whole’ grain has more nutrients than a ‘refined’ grain, because all parts of the grain are retained – kernel, bran, endosperm and germ – along with their fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. But most of the bran and germ are removed when producing refined grains. Whole grains therefore contain more nutrients than refined grains.
The general name for proteins found in cereal grains such as wheat. It holds the food together, like a ‘glue’, and gives dough its elasticity.
Keep it simple: make grains the base of your diet and choose whole grains over refined grains wherever possible. U.S Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 3 servings (48g) a day. So, whenever you look for breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, rice or flour to cook at home, look for the word “whole”, ideally among the first ingredients in the list.
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