What do you need on your plate in the morning?

three empty red bowls with white dots superposed

What do you need on your plate in the morning?

Okay, you’re up. You’ve thrown off the duvet and you’re ready for the day. After a long night’s sleep, the morning meal needs to get everyone’s motor up to speed again. Wondering exactly what makes a good breakfast? Well read on …

 

a woman drying up her dishes after breakfast

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: 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...

slices of whole grain bread and a bowl of fresh fruits salad and two cups of dairy with raspberries

1. Start with grain

Grains like oat, corn, wheat and barley are good for you. Especially if they are whole1. 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

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 time2. Milk is good with cereal but why not dollop on a spoonful of yogurt? And cheese isn’t just for sandwiches, it makes a great breakfast – try it on toast!

2. Fill up on fruit

Breakfast is a great time to kick start your ‘5 a day’. High in 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 yogurt or cereal bowl? Yummy.

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 more 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!

 

a drawing of a glass of water

"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 day3. Research shows that almost 2/3 of children are not hydrated enough when they get to school4. So let’s reverse the trend!

 

Build your breakfast

 

Just pick one item in each food group

 

GRAINS

CHILDREN

ADULTS

BREAKFAST CEREAL MADE WITH WHOLE GRAIN

25-30g

30-45g

WHOLE GRAIN MUFFIN with jam (15g)

1 mini

1 piece

WHOLE BREAD with butter (5g)
& jam (15g)

40g (1 slice)

80g (2 slices)

CRISPBREAD with butter (5g)
& jam (15g)

2 pieces

3 pieces

whole grain muffin and whole grain crackers with buttera spoon filled with cereal flakes and milk, and a slice of bread with butter

 

cross-breakfast

 

DAIRY

CHILDREN

ADULTS

SEMI SKIMMED MILK

125ml

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

200ml of semi skimmed milk with
2 teaspoons of cocoa powder

YOGHURT

125 grams

125 grams

COTTAGE CHEESE

14 grams

14 grams

a cup of hot chocolatea cup of dairy

 

cross-breakfast

 

FRUITS (SEASONAL FRUIT IS BETTER)

CHILDREN

ADULTS

ORANGE

1 piece

1 piece

BANANA

1 piece

1 piece

APPLE

1 piece

1 piece

KIWI

1 piece

2 pieces

orangesthree bananas

 

cross-breakfast

 

OPTIONAL: MORE PROTEINS

CHILDREN

ADULTS

ALMONDS

5 to 8 nuts

10 to 12 nuts

EGG

1 small

1 small

FISH

1 small

28 grams / 1 slice

CHEESE

14 grams

14 grams

PEANUT BUTTER

1/2 tablespoon

1/2 tablespoon

raw almondscheese

 

cross-breakfast

 

 

A GLASS OF WATER :)

1. 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).
2. Learn more about the Health benefits of milk
3. www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1459
4. 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