Balanced breakfast

How to choose a balanced breakfast

After a good night’s sleep, your body needs a nutritious breakfast to get you up and going.
A good breakfast fuels your body and gets you ready for the day.

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, 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 serve 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.

To enjoy a balanced breakfast each day include grains (preferably whole grain or high fibre), dairy and fruit.




* Adjust the number of serves according to the needs of you and your family.

The above ‘serves’ are define din the Australian Dietary Guidelines “Eat for health’. For more information, go to www.eatforhealth.gov.au

1. Start with grain

Grains such as oats, corn, wheat and barley are good for you. Especially if they are whole (1). 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. (new section)

2. Add some fruit

Breakfast is a great time to kick start your ‘2 fruit a day’. With 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 you and your family 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.

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 (2). 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!

4. 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 (8-10 cups) (3). Research shows that almost 2/3 of children are not hydrated enough when they get to school (4-7). So let’s reverse the trend!

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!

Build your breakfast

Pick one serve from each food group

Grains 1 serve
whole grain flake breakfast cereal 3/4 cup   = 30g
oats ½ cup cooked
Untoasted muesli ¼ cup
Whole grain bread with margarine 1 slice


Dairy 1 serve
Skim or reduced fat milk 1 cup = 250ml
Skim or reduced fat plain or fruit yoghurt 200g = 1 small tub


Fruits (try seasonal) 1 serve
orange 1 medium = 150g
banana 1 medium = 150g
apple 1 medium = 150g
kiwi 2 small

+ Optional extra

Protein ½   serve
egg 1
cheese 20g =   1 slices
almonds 15g = 5 nuts
peanut butter 15g = ½   tablespoon


Examples of Balanced breakfasts

  • Whole grain flake cereal with reduced fat milk and chopped banana or peach slices
  • Traditional hot oats made on reduced fat milk with diced apple and a sprinkle of brown sugar
  • Natural untoasted muesli with reduced fat yoghurt and stewed fruit
  • Quick Porridge (made in microwave on skim milk) add some stewed rhubarb and spice it up with a hit of cinnamon
  • Granola topped with yoghurt and frozen or fresh berries


  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. Dairy Council. Learn more about the Health benefits of milk. http://www.milk.co.uk/
  3. Australian Government NHMRC. Eat For Health. 2013. www.eatforheatlh.gov.au
  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.
  5. Assael BM, Cipolli M, Meneghelli I et al (2012) Italian Children Go to School with a Hydration Deficit. J Nutr Disorders Ther. 2:3.
  6. Barker M, Benefer M, Russell J et al (2012) Hydration Deficit After Breakfast Intake Among British. The FASEB Journal, 26: lb 395.
  7. 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