IT'S widely known as the most important meal of the day, but having a healthy and nutritious breakfast doesn't have to break the bank.
In fact, breakfast can be one of the cheapest meals of the day, as well as the most bene- ficial to your metabolism and overall health.
While a muffin from McDonald's or an expensive barista-made coffee may seem like an easy solution to skipping a home-made breakfast, often fast food options are damaging to your pocket, as well as your energy levels.
"Eggs, toast, cereals, fruit and yoghurt or a smoothie are all cheap, healthy options," Coolangatta dietitian Amanda Clark said.
Skip breakfast or go for something overly sweet or of poor nutritional content and you may find yourself making poor choices all day.
"There's evidence that those who eat breakfast consume less calories overall throughout the day than those who skip breakfast, so it's better for the waistline as well as the wallet to start the day right."
Ms Clark said her preferred start to the day was delicious, nutritious and affordable.
"Muesli with yoghurt and blueberries," she said, when asked to nominate her favourite budget breakfast meal.
"How you start the day often determines how you finish.
"Skip breakfast or go for something overly sweet or of poor nutritional content and you may find yourself making poor choices all day."
While fast food may be an easy option, it could not beat a fresh, healthy breakfast.
Her research showed a muesli, yoghurt and grapes breakfast averaged as little as 85 cents per day, while two boiled eggs on toast cost even less, at 75 cents per day.
Comparatively, most fast- food breakfast options cost at least a few dollars, often significantly higher.
"Fast foods tend to be high in fat or sugar and lower on nutrition than most of the options above," Ms Clark said.
"Breakfast is the most socially acceptable time to consume fibre, so ensuring there is some wholegrain breads or cereals or fruit is a good idea."
Ms Clark said with a little thought, it did not take much effort to whip up a healthy and budget-conscious breakfast the whole family can enjoy
Making a meal of it:
- A smoothie makes a quick and easy budget breakfast idea.
- If you must have a cooked breakfast, make it at home instead of eating out.
- Planning your breakfasts in advance helps with the shopping.
- Thousands of appropriate breakfast recipes can be found online, as well as in recipe books.
- Dress up your cheap eats with some fresh fruit or vegetables.