Breads and cereals

Breads and cereals give us most of the carbohydrate we need for energy to see us through the day, help us concentrate at school and work, and to power us when we play sport or do exercise. They contain B vitamins which help our body use the energy from food; fibre (especially from ‘brown’ wholegrain varieties); and minerals, such as zinc and magnesium.

Which foods are in this group?

This food group includes breads, rice, pasta, noodles, grains (eg. oats, corn, maize, quinoa, cornmeal/polenta) and breakfast cereals. 

How much do we need to eat?

The amount we need depends on our age.  Adults should aim to eat at least 6 servings of breads and cereals per day, choosing wholegrain varieties, such as brown rice & pasta and wholegrain or wholemeal breads.

Typical serving sizes:

Bread examples Cereal examples
1 bread roll 1 cup Cornflakes
1 muffin 1/2 cup muesli
1 medium slice bread 1/2 cup cooked porridge
  1 cup cooked pasta
  1 cup cooked rice

Tips for eating breads and cereals

  • Wholegrain types provide extra fibre, B vitamins and minerals. Visit our fibre page for more details.
  • Switch from ‘white’ to wholegrain or wholemeal bread, pasta, rice and breakfast cereals.  For reluctant family members, try one slice of wholemeal bread and one slice of white bread in a sandwich. Wholegrain varieties of breakfast cereals include porridge and muesli.  Whatever the variety though, these foods are important, so white is better than none!
  • Use foods from this group as a snack (eg. toast) or as a meal (eg. rice with a stirfry)
  • These foods are filling, not fattening, as many believe.  It’s how much you eat and what you add to them that adds calories.  Add just a scraping of butter or margarine to bread and toast, and use tomato-based sauces with pasta, rather than fat-laden creamy sauces. 

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Page Reviewed April 2013