by Alison McAleese, LiveLighter Victoria Campaign Manager and Dietitian

Breakfast comparison

Breakfast is at risk of becoming more of a quick snack than a meal for some Aussies, as the range of breakfast biscuits, bars, drinks and other on-the-go products expands in supermarkets.

A recent LiveLighter survey found a whopping 65 products, including biscuits, drinks and yoghurt/cereal combos, marketed as ideal for a quick, convenient breakfast in Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.

Australians already get up to 40 per cent of their energy from heavily processed junk food and sugary drinks[i]. We can’t afford to be replacing breakfast with yet another sugary snack.

On-the-go breakfast products – what the survey found

Eight in ten of the products contained more sugar than a typical healthy breakfast of wheat biscuits and milk – some were hiding 9.5 teaspoons of sugar!

 The following had more sugar[ii] than two wheat biscuits and milk[iii]

  • All 19 (or 100%) regular sized breakfast drinks
  • 13 out of 17 (or 76%) chilled breakfast products (eg. yoghurts, chia puddings)
  • 18 out of 25 (or 72%) breakfast biscuits and on-the-go mueslis.

 

A further 4 out of 4 (or 100%) large breakfast drinks had more sugar than 4 wheat biscuits and milk[iv].

Ready to eat breakfast biscuits were particularly concerning, as many offered little more nutritionally than a regular sweet biscuit[v].

They’re highly processed and some contain more than 25 per cent sugar, very little of which is naturally occurring from fruit or milk.

What’s more, they’re less likely to fill you up, so before long you’ll be reaching for another snack.

The majority of the breakfast products were also much more expensive than a typical breakfast, costing up to $4.50 per serve – that’s 18 times the price of two wheat biscuits and milk, which only costs 24 cents[vi].

Why is a nutritious breakfast so important?

Breakfast is a key time in the day to eat many valuable nutrients. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating foods from a wide variety of food groups and a healthy breakfast is a useful time to eat more core foods like grainy breads or cereals, milk, fruit, yoghurt or eggs. 

We also know that people who regularly eat breakfast tend to eat an overall healthier diet for the rest of the day.

So if you wouldn’t think of reaching for the biscuit tin for breakfast, don’t fall into the trap of reaching for a ‘ready to eat’ breakfast biscuit.

The ideal on-the-go breakfast solution

When you lead a busy life, whether it’s work, kids, exercise, study, friends and family, or a combination of all four – time is precious. We get it. Especially in the mornings.

To stay satisfied for longer on busy mornings, choose a piece of fruit, some low-fat yoghurt, a boiled egg or a handful of nuts instead.

The benefits to your health and your wallet will be huge!

The best survey picks

If you do find yourself going for a packaged on-the-go product, we found these to be the healthiest options.

LiveLighter’s top survey picks

Serving size

Sugar per serve

More sugar than wheat biscuits+milk?

Cost per serve

Chobani with steel oats & ancient grains- Peach & mango

 

140g

8.5g

1 tsp

$1.89

Evia Pods: Strawberry with nuts and seeds

170g

8.0g

Equal

$3.00

Macro Chia Pot Raspberry, Blueberry and Acai

 

140g

13.5g

1.5 tsp

$2.90

Rokeby Farms Whole Protein

Breakfast Smoothie Iced Coffee

425mL

27.2g

2.5 tsp

$3.99

Vaalia kids banana and natural grains breakfast yoghurt

115g

13.3g

Equal

$2.50

Product comparison: 2 wheat biscuits + 1/2 cup 1% fat milk

165g

8.3g

N/A

$0.24

[i] Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results - Food and Nutrients, 2011-12

[ii] All sugar figures above refer to total sugar content, which includes naturally occurring sugars found in dairy and fruit.

[iii] Based on 2 Weet-Bix + 1/2 cup 1% fat milk, which contains 8.3g of sugar (or two teaspoons). This includes lactose which is a naturally occurring sugar found in dairy.

[iv] Based on 4 Weet-Bix + 1 cup 1% fat milk, which contains 8.3g of sugar (or two teaspoons). This includes lactose which is a naturally occurring sugar found in dairy.

[v] Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot, Milk Coffee, Shredded Wheatmeal and Teddy Bear biscuits have similar levels of sugar, kilojoules, saturated fat, protein and fibre as many of the products in the breakfast biscuits and single-serve muesli category in this survey.

[vi] Based on Woolworths online prices for Sanitarium Weet-Bix 1.2kg and Woolworths Lite Milk 2L in August 2017.