Healthy Food Swaps: Breakfast

Keeping up with recommended guidelines for healthy nutrition isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Here are some practical ways to boost your nutritional health.

Health Breaks

Trying to follow healthy eating guidelines and deciphering good information from ‘bad’ can sometimes feel so overwhelming. Translating evidence-based nutrition theory into practice and making it work in the real world can also feel out of reach. If you feel like this, you are not alone! But rest assured, achieving optimal nutrition is not as hard as you think.

“Simple food swaps rather than dramatic diets are more effective in the long-term”

Fad diets promising fast and dramatic results can sound enticing and exciting, drawing people in with the thought of an easy fix. Equally, proclaimed superfoods and celebrity-endorsed supplements can also seem like the easy way out. But evidence shows that even supplements cannot fully replicate the activity and intricate interactions that occur at cell level within foods. Nothing beats a healthy diet for achieving optimal nutritional health.

So, let’s start by reviewing the National guidelines for nutrition. Here is a simple summary of the Australian Dietary Guidelines (guidelines 1, 2 & 3):

  1. Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods every day
  2. Eat plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/beans (5 serves daily)
  3. Consume fruit (2 serves daily)
  4. Consume wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley (2-4 serves)
  5. Include Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans (1-2 serve)
  6. Consume milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat (reduced fat milks are not suitable for children under the age of 2 years) And drink plenty of water (2 serves)
  7. Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol (<30g sat fat, <6gsalt, <10g sugar).
So, how to make this work in day to day life?
Let’s start with breakfast. Simple tweaks to your daily favourites go largely unnoticed as you still can enjoy a delicious breakfast, while at the same time reduce your saturated fat, salt and sugar intake. Simultaneously, these swaps boost fibre, vitamins and healthy fats to support heart and brain function. 

Eating a breakfast high in protein, wholegrains, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals also helps prevent weight gain in the long run by reducing the likelihood of overeating later in the morning. Studies have also shown that people who consume breakfast have better concentration and focus throughout the day.

Health Breaks delivers a Healthy Gut Program perfect for weight management, boosting immunity, improving energy, reducing infammation, supporting brain function and promoting long-term health by reducing the risk factors that cause chronic disease.

Health Breaks App features programs that support optimal healthy eating, placing convenient tools and easy to follow resources in the palm of your hand. Find out more about how Health Breaks can support the health of your workplace here:

Next up, we’ll look at healthy food swaps for lunchtime meals.

Author: Kristin McMaster, Masters in Nutrition, Director-Health Breaks


  1. National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, 
  2. Betts JA, Richardson JD, Chowdhury EA, Holman GD, Tsintzas K, Thompson D, 2014, The causal role of breakfast in energy balance and health: a randomized controlled trial in lean adults, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 100, no. 2, pp. 539–547. 
  3. Garrido AAG, Brofman-Epelbaum JJ, Gómez-Velázquez FR, Balart-Sánchez SA, Ramos-Loyo J, 2019, Skipping breakfast affects the early steps of cognitive processing: an event-related brain potentials study, Journal of Psychophysiology, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 109–118 
  4. Sampasa-Kanyinga H, Hamilton HA, 2017, Eating breakfast regularly is related to higher school connectedness and academic performance in Canadian middle- and high-school students, Public Health, vol. 145, pp. 120–123 
  5. Adolphus K, Lawton CL, Champ CL, Dye L, 2016, The effects of breakfast and breakfast composition on cognition in children and adolescents: a systematic review, Advances in Nutrition, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 590S–612S
  6. Zipp A, Eissing G, 2019, Studies on the influence of breakfast on the mental performance of school children and adolescents, Journal of Public Health, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 103–110. 
  7. O’Neil CE, Byrd-Bredbenner C, Hayes D, Jana L, Klinger SE, Stephenson-Martin S, 2014, The role of breakfast in health: definition and criteria for a quality breakfast, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vol. 114, no. 12, pp. S8–S26 

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