Liquid breakfasts

The number of on-the-go breakfast drinks is growing, but is convenience trumping nutrition?
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03.Better choices


Breakfast is traditionally the most fibre-dense meal of the day - a good reason to ensure you set aside time for it.

Of the dozens of breakfast cereals we reviewed last year, we found 65 considered to be high or very high in fibre, while a further 71 products had moderate fibre levels - placing them well ahead of the liquid products in the fibre stakes.

A serving of oats with a handful of almonds and a sliced apple will give you about 11g of fibre (both soluble and insoluble), a third of your daily recommended intake. This is double – and in some cases, more than triple – the amount of fibre available in the liquid breakfasts we analysed.

Just a snack

Stanton says that manufacturers encouraging the “snackification” of breakfast by marketing these products as if they were complete meals is of tremendous concern. “More and more we’re moving people away from the idea of planning meals, which is not a good thing. These drinks aren’t the equivalent [of a bowl of cereal] – they’re cashing in on a healthy image to make people buy, when really what manufacturers are selling is snack drinks.” 

The energy content of the drinks we reviewed ranges between 700kJ and 912kJ, despite a regular meal being about 2000kJ. So with the energy content more like a snack than a meal, those who consume liquid breakfasts may be prone to mid-morning snacking.

Stanton also believes there is no excuse for kids who don’t “like” breakfast. “If kids won’t eat their breakfast, they need to learn better eating habits – it’s just something they should be taught to do,” she says. 

Processed convenience

McGrice says while the convenience factor appeals to many people – the average Australian dedicates just eight minutes a day to preparing and eating breakfast – grabbing a tub of yoghurt and an apple instead of one of these products is a convenient and less processed alternative.

Still, for those who do decide to drink their breakfast, the news isn’t all bad. Of the products we reviewed, most offer added vitamins and minerals – particularly vitamins B6 and B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, folate and niacin. Calcium levels are also impressive; most will provide you with 30-40% of your calcium RDI. 


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