Starting the Day the Right Way with a Healthy Breakfast

November 12, 2016


Cereal is a popular breakfast food in lots of households. But a visit to the supermarket can leave you wondering if the cereal you have chosen is healthy. Many breakfast cereals claim that they contain wholegrains, and say they are high in fibre and calcium. Unfortunately, most cereals are also high in sugar, artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. As a basic rule, if a cereal tastes good, it is full of sugar!

But is sugar really that bad?

In short, the answer is yes. There is no nutritional value in added sugar; our bodies do not need it. In fact, there is a lot of current research out there telling us that excess sugar has a number of health-associated risks including obesity and tooth decay. Excessive sugar consumption is now being linked to cardiovascular disease – the number one cause of death in the world.

In Australia, added sugar and natural sugar are not separated, they will be listed together under ‘sugar’ on the nutritional information panel. Ingredients are listed in order of the quantity that is in a product, and only added sugars, not natural sugars are listed. A good rule to follow is that if sugar is listed in the first three ingredients, then the product will be high in sugar, and is best avoided.

How much sugar is too much?

Children should be consuming less than six teaspoons of added sugar a day.  Let’s have a look at the added sugar content in a fairly standard children’s breakfast:

  • 1/2 cup of Nutri-Grain/Rice Bubbles/Coco Pops without milk = 3 tsp. of added sugar.
  • 1 piece of wholemeal bread with 1 tbsp. of nutella = 3 tsp. of added sugar.
  • ½ cup of strawberry yoghurt = 2.5 tsp. of added sugar.

Total teaspoons of added sugar = 8.5

We are already over our child’s daily limit, and we have not had snacks, lunch, dinner, dessert or any beverages.

Labels are not always clear

Unfortunately, sugar is not always listed as sugar on food labels. This can make it difficult to know if a food has added sugar in it or not. Look out for ingredients that include raw sugar, honey, sucrose, cane sugar, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, lactose, glucose, malt syrup, molasses, agave nectar, barley malt and caramel. These are all alternative names for added sugar!

Lower sugar can mean better outcomes

Kids who eat a healthy, nutritious breakfast may have more energy and concentrate better in school than those who don’t. On the other hand, kids who eat a high-sugar breakfast tend to become restless, irritable and tired. It’s really important to make time for a healthy breakfast. To ensure a balanced start to the day, try to include fruit or vegetables, a dairy product, and a wholegrain bread or cereal.

How to make a quick nutritious breakfast 


Options include:                                                                    Added sugar

-2 Vita Brits with banana or strawberries                                          0

-Rolled oats with nuts and fresh berries                                            0

-Porridge with homemade applesauce                                             0

-Eggs on toast                                                                             1/2 tsp.

-Natural or Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit                                     1/2 tsp.

-Toast with 100% nut spread.                                                       1/2 tsp.

– Fruit                                                                                               0

– Glass of plain milk                                                                         0


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