What does a balanced breakfast look like?
A balanced breakfast will give you and your family the very best start to the day. You need a good mix of carbohydrates, fiber, 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: grain, 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 for some examples of delicious balanced breakfasts.
Grain, fruit, dairy...
1. Start with grain
Grains like oats, corn, wheat and barley are good for you. Especially if they are whole. For a glorious breakfast that includes the goodness of 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 fruits a day’. High in vitamins, minerals and fiber, fruit is a great addition to any breakfast. Try to eat fruit that is in season (it’s more sustainable, they have a better taste and also, 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 feast out of fruit. And for the little ones, why not cut up some of their fruity favorites and add them to their yogurt or cereal bowl? Yummy.
3. Delicious dairy
Rich in calcium for healthy teeth and bones, food rich in dairy is also a good source of protein and is great at breakfast time. Milk is good with cereal but why not add on a spoonful of yogurt? And cheese isn’t just for sandwiches, it makes a great breakfast – try it on toast!
Need a bigger breakfast? Add some extra protein
If you’re feeling very hungry in the morning or will need a lot of energy, you could add some extra protein to your plate. Try a slice of ham, an egg or a small handful of almonds – your balanced breakfast will be complete and you’ll be ready to kick start your day!
"And water of course!"
With so much delicious food to think about, let’s not forget about the importance of water. It is generally recommended to drink around 2 liters of water every day. Research shows that almost 2/3 of children are not hydrated enough when they get to school. So let’s work together to change this!
Build your breakfast
Just pick one item from 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|
|Hot chocolate (best to avoid having hot chocolate and jam in the same meal for a more balanced sugar intake)||200ml of semi skimmed milk with 1 to 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder||250ml of semi skimmed milk with 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder||200ml of semi skimmed milk with 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder|
|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 :)
- Jonnalagadda SS, Harnack L, Liu RH et al (2011) Putting the whole grain puzzle together: health benefits associated with whole grains--summary of American Society for Nutrition 2010 Satellite Symposium. J Nutr. May;141(5).
- Learn more about the Health benefits of milk http://www.milk.co.uk/page.aspx?intPageID=73
- Bonnet F, Lepicard EM, Cathrin L et al (2012) French children start their school day with a hydration deficit. Ann Nutr Metab. 60(4):257-63. Assael BM, Cipolli M, Meneghelli I et al (2012) Italian Children Go to School with a Hydration Deficit. J Nutr Disorders Ther. 2:3. Barker M, Benefer M, Russell J et al (2012) Hydration Deficit After Breakfast Intake Among British. The FASEB Journal, 26: lb 395. Stookey JD, Brass B, Holliday A et al (2012) What is the cell hydration status of healthy children in the USA? Preliminary data on urine osmolality and water intake. Public Health Nutr. Nov;15(11):2148-56
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For the last 15 years we’ve been working to reduce the sodium (which is the major component of salt) in our breakfast cereals across the world because we want to keep making them more nutritious. Achieving consistency in all products, in all countries, takes time - so some may have more sodium than others. Our aim is for all our cereals – globally – to have the same reduced levels of sodium, with a target of less than 135mg per serving in all our children's products.
As well as being a healthy choice for people who want to reduce the amount of gluten in their diet, or have coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, Gluten Free Corn Flakes are fortified with B-vitamins, folic acid and iron
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. It’s easy to know if a Nestlé breakfast cereal is made with whole grain: just look out for the Green Banner and whole grain tick on top of the box.
It’s too early to say. The science in this area is still emerging. There is evidence that low GI foods take longer to digest and help you feel satisfied for longer, but none that you’ll eat fewer calories at the next meal.