You’ve probably heard people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating a nutritious breakfast can help to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and diabetes. It also contributes to a healthier diet overall by adding important vitamins and minerals, such as thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, and iron. However, about 23% of adults and 10% of children skip breakfast, so miss out on this nutritional advantage.
What is a nutritious breakfast?
A nutritious breakfast includes a variety of foods, such as high-fiber whole grain bread and cereals, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and reduced, low or no fat milk and dairy foods.
Eating two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day contributes to good health. Breakfast is a great time to include fruit and vegetables in your diet to help you reach this goal.
Eggs are also an ideal breakfast food. A healthy balanced diet can include a serve of eggs (two eggs) in two to three meals a week. Remember that how you cook them is important. The healthiest cooking methods are scrambled (using reduced, low or no fat milk), poached and boiled.
Dairy foods contain calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth. They also include protein, vitamins A, D, and B2. There is a wide range of dairy foods that you can include in your breakfast, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose healthier reduced, low or no fat varieties.
BREAKFAST IDEAS FOR HOME
Quick fixes for people on the go
- Keep a supply of healthy whole grain cereals and reduced, low or no fat milk in the house.
- Prepare breakfast the night before by setting the table and getting out bowls, plates, cutlery, and cereals.
- Have a back-up plan of fast, inexpensive options. For example, fresh fruit; reduced, low or no fat yogurt; a handful of plain, unsalted nuts and/or seeds; small boxes of sultanas; and cereal bars that have earned the Heart Foundation Tick.
- Pre-cook a batch of savory muffins, for example with carrot, onion, zucchini, and cheese, and eat one for breakfast.
Bread, crisp breads and rice cakes
- Spread margarine onto spicy fruit loaf or fruit muffin and top with sliced banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Toast whole grain bread and grill with melted reduced-fat cheddar or mozzarella cheese.
- Halve a wholemeal pita bread or flatbread and fill with berries (or other seasonal soft fruit) and reduced, low or no fat yogurt. Roll up and serve as a wrap.
- Spread 100% fruit jam on wholemeal toast and top with ricotta cheese.
- Top wholemeal toast with salt-reduced baked beans and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
- Cut whole grain toast in thin slices and serve with a soft boiled egg or scrambled eggs made with reduced, low or no fat milk.
- Add a healthy savory topping, such as avocado or hummus and tomato, to crispbread.
- Top rice crackers with a spread of margarine, sliced tomato, and black pepper.
- Serve layered wholegrain cereal, reduced, low or no fat yogurt and fresh fruit pieces in a bowl or drinking glass.
- Serve wholegrain cereal with slices of fresh seasonal fruit or fruit canned in natural or unsweetened juice.
- Cook porridge with a touch of cinnamon and add stewed fruits, such as apple, quince or rhubarb.
Fish and eggs
- Try canned fish, such as tuna, salmon or sardines, on wholegrain toast with a touch of reduced, low or no fat mayonnaise and ground black pepper. Choose fish canned in spring water or oil, or look for the Heart Foundation Tick on the label.
- Scramble eggs with a little olive oil, red and green capsicums, onions and black pepper. Serve with wholegrain toast.
- Make an omelet with tomato and mushrooms, or add some pieces of smoked salmon and chives.
- Serve fresh fruit salad in a tall glass and top with reduced, low or no fat fruit yogurt and crunchy untoasted muesli.
- Try half a grapefruit with a light sprinkle of sugar.
- Make a smoothie using reduced, low or no fat milk and yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, ground flaxseeds and a touch of raw cocoa powder and cinnamon.
Toasty breakfast treats
- Use a sandwich maker to make toasted sandwiches, using wholegrain or wholemeal bread where possible. For sweet fillings, fruit loaf also works well.
- Experiment with different fillings, such as:
- Banana and sultanas
- Apple, cinnamon, and sultanas
- Pineapple and banana
- Reduced fat cheese and tomato
- Lean ham and tomato
- Salt-reduced baked beans.
BREAKFAST AT WORK
- Keep wholegrain cereal, wholegrain bread and reduced, low or no fat milk at work.
- Try instant oat sachets and cook in the microwave. Add fruit, such as banana, sultanas or grated apple, nuts or seeds for variety.
- Keep tubs or cans of fruit at your desk to eat by themselves or add to cereal.
- Choose varieties in natural or unsweetened juice.
- Create a small snack pack of mixed dried fruit and plain unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Look for cereal bars with the Heart Foundation Tick.
- If you are having trouble bringing in suitable breakfast foods from home, walk to your local supermarket at lunchtime and buy some breakfast foods. Walking and carrying groceries is a good way to get some physical activity in your day.
- Serve a fruit platter of fresh seasonal fruits in bite-sized pieces.
- Put glasses half-filled with plain reduced, low or no fat yogurt next to dishes of fruit salad and muesli so guests can serve themselves.
- Offer guests savory or fruit mini muffins. Ask your caterer to make them using olive or canola oil, or with margarine instead of butter, and 50% wholemeal flour or added bran. Large muffins can be cut into halves or quarters.
- Frittatas can be eaten at breakfast warm or cold. Choose one filled with vegetables.
- Make turkey stacks by putting a cube of lean turkey meat, a cherry tomato and a cube of reduced fat cheese on a toothpick. Serve with a thick slice of rye bread or wholegrain rolls.
- Serve fresh rye bread or wholegrain rolls with a platter of lean roast meats and slices of tomato and reduced fat cheddar cheese.
- Offer guests individual containers of wholegrain cereals and reduced, low or no fat milk.
- Serve pikelets with 100% fruit spread and reduced, low or no fat yogurt or ricotta.
- For busy sit-down meetings, start the morning by serving everyone a fruit smoothie in a tall glass with a straw.
At breakfast meetings, avoid serving:
- Fatty sausages and bacon
- Deli meats, such as salami and devon
- Croissants and pasties
- Sweet biscuits
- Full-fat milk for tea and coffee or cereal, or in egg dishes, such as scrambled eggs or omelets use reduced, low or no fat milk instead
- Butter and salt use margarine, and herbs and spices instead.