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Importance of Breakfast

hotcakes with banana

It’s the most important meal of the day – but one in four children in Australia skips breakfast.

At school, a hungry child can lose concentration in class, have no energy for playtime and snack on unhealthy foods, such as chips or biscuits.

A calm and healthy breakfast every day is the best defence against this happening. It also helps children to get into good habits that they can carry through life.

Breakfast ideas

Breakfast can include all sorts of options: cereals, bread, fruit, dairy products (such as eggs, milk, yoghurt and cheese) and meats.

A number of factors influence what people like to eat at breakfast, such as their food preferences, cultural background, religious beliefs and the time available before they have to head out the door.

Quick and easy ideas

  • Cereal with milk*, yoghurt and/or fruit
  • Wholegrain toast, raisin bread or muffins with a little polyunsaturated or monounsaturated margarine (not butter), fruit spreads, Vegemite or sliced banana
  • Fresh fruit with yoghurt
  • Fruit smoothies made with fresh or canned fruit
  • Porridge with warm milk and stewed fruit

*Note: The Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) advise whole (full fat/cream) milk for children under 2 years of age. Milk fat is an important source of energy and fat soluble vitamins required for normal growth and development.

After the age of 2, most kids can begin to drink low fat milk as part of a varied diet. Skimmed (no fat) milk can be included as a drink for children aged 5 and older and can also be used in family meals for children older than 2 years.

If you have a little more time

  • Omelette with lean ham and tomatoes
  • Boiled egg with bread fingers (cut slices of bread into dipping sized portions)
  • Pancakes with fresh fruit filling
  • Wholegrain toast or fresh bread with eggs (not fried), baked beans, cooked mushrooms or tomatoes
  • Plain wholegrain muffin with lean bacon and cooked tomatoes

It is also important to have healthy drinks with breakfast. Water or low fat milk (for children over 2 years) is best. Try to limit fruit juice to 1/2 a glass a day as fruit juice contains lots of sugar. Instead give a piece of fruit to your child to get fibre into their diet.

Handy tip: Discourage your child from eating breakfast in front of the television. This can also help speed up your morning routines!