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What is a healthy breakfast?

1. Make breakfast part of the morning routine

Pop the bread in the toaster, or shake the cereal in the bowl. Keep it simple and set aside 5-10 minutes for breakfast each morning. We know mornings can be rushed and it’s easy to end up having either nothing, or something unhealthy on the go. Decide on how you are going to do, do a bit of prep the night before, like setting the table, if that helps, and stick with it until you are sure you have got into a habit.

2. Sit down with the kids too

Children will most probably do what you do – if you eat breakfast they’re likely to do so too. Sit down with them for a few minutes and have your own breakfast. You’ll benefit too.

3. Include 2-3 different foods. Choose from 2 or 3 of the following:

Breakfast cereals and toast are top options

Cereals and breads are a great choice for breakfast. Choose wholemeal options and check the label for those with the lowest sugar and salt. Keep some wholemeal bread in the freezer, great for when you run out of fresh, and just pop it straight in the toaster.

Top with fruit

Children need 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Start at breakfast by adding chopped fruit (fresh, dried and tinned all count) to cereal or toast. Chop fruit the night before and put it in the fridge to save time. Add a few nuts for more flavour.

Add some dairy

Choose low-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese. Children under two should have full-fat milk. If your children don’t like milk on cereal, try a glass of milk on its own or some yoghurt. Choose natural or low sugar yoghurt.

For a cooked breakfast consider some meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or beans

If you have a bit of time, eggs are a great, filling breakfast and add variety – poach, boil and scramble eggs rather than frying. Keep the cooked breakfast for weekend treats.

4. Include a drink

Try to make sure they have something to drink before they start their day. Water and milk are the best choices. If you choose a smoothie or fruit juice opt for a small glass (150mL) that is unsweetened.

Testing Breakfasts?

Answers to help you crack that dawn.

Poor appetite?

The reality is that some children have very little appetite in the morning, but it is important to try and get them to eat something small. A few spoons of breakfast cereal and a small drink will help them. Offer them a couple of options so that they feel they have some control.

Too tired?

If your child wakes up too tired for breakfast you might need to take one step back and look at their bedtime routine. A regular bedtime routine to help children get the right amount of sleep. Children under 5 need 11+ hours of sleep per night and children over 5 years need 10+ hours.


Let’s face it, a row or two over breakfast is not surprising, when you factor in tiredness and time pressure.  Giving children a choice of breakfast items might help avoid this so they feel they are in control. For example, give the option between wheat biscuits and a flaked breakfast cereal, or between wholemeal bread and a wholemeal bagel.  Sit down with your child for breakfast. They may just want your company for a few minutes.

Not enough time?

Breakfast can be a busy time, but it is important to make it part of your routine. If you are rushing in the morning, try preparing items for breakfast the night before, for example chop some fruit and keep it in the fridge, or have the table set with breakfast cereal ready to pour.  

My child doesn’t like breakfast cereal

If your child doesn’t like breakfast cereal there are plenty of other options for breakfast. Why not try a yoghurt with some chopped fruit, or some toast with a chopped banana?


© The Food Safety Promotion Board