Brekkie Benefits (Breakfast)

Adding some sliced banana to your teenager’s milk and cereal could help to improve their mental health, according to Australian researchers

Dietitians from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth have found that eating a variety of foods at breakfast is linked to mental functioning.

Dietitian Therese O’Sullivan from the Telethon Institute and her team found that a high quality breakfast, with foods from at least three different healthy food groups, was linked with better mental health in 14-year-old boys and girls.

They also found that for every extra food group eaten at breakfast, the associated mental health score improved.

“Eating a breakfast of toast with a glass of milk and some fruit seems to be better than just a large serve of toast alone,” Therese says. “This may be because mental functioning is affected by the absorption of a variety of nutrients, including calcium, iron and B group vitamins.”

Research has already shown that students who eat breakfast pay more attention in class, retain more information and are more interested in learning, but this is the first study to show that variety at breakfast is also important.

Telethon Institute dietitians suggest the following ideas for increasing the variety of healthy foods at breakfast:

  • Add a spoonful of sunflower seeds to your cereal
  • Top your toast with a sliced banana
  • Sprinkle diced dried fruit over your cereal or add some canned fruit
  • For a quick breakfast on the go, prepare a wholegrain sandwich with baked beans and cheese the night before and toast it in a sandwich maker the next morning.


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