Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Grains and cereal

2-minute read

Grains give your child the energy they need to grow, develop and learn. They include a variety of vitamins and nutrients as well as protein and fibre.

Healthy options include mostly wholegrain or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, oats, quinoa and barley.

Wholegrains have protein, dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. Some of these nutrients are lost when grains are processed, so wholegrains are preferred. These include rolled oats, brown rice, wholemeal and wholegrain breads, cracked wheat, barley, buckwheat and breakfast cereals like muesli or bran cereal.

Tips for serving grains

Grains come in many different varieties, so kids would normally have some type of grain for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day.

  • Baked beans on toast or peanut butter on a muffin.
  • Small bowl of breakfast cereal with milk.
  • Any variety of fillings in a sandwich or wrap.
  • Including 1/2 cup of rice, pasta or noodles with dinner

How much grains should my child be eating?

From the age of 2, young children should be having 4 serves of grain a day. Energetic kids might have a bit more as it will give them the extra energy they need. From the age of 9, boys will need 5 serves and this will increase as they get older.

A serve is equal to:

  • 1 slice of bread or ½ medium roll or flatbread
  • 1 crumpet or English muffin
  • ½ cup cooked rice, oats, pasta or other grain
  • 3 rye crispbread
  • 2/3 cup (30g) of breakfast cereal flakes or ¼ cup muesli
  • ¼ cup of flour

Five food groups

Read more about the other 4 of the 5 food groups:

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2020

Back To Top

Need more information?

Healthy food groups: preschoolers | Raising Children Network

Preschoolers need foods from all five healthy food groups: vegetables, fruit, grain foods, dairy and protein. Try to limit salty, sugary and fatty foods.

Read more on website

Healthy eating for kids

Encourage healthy eating habits for kids by shopping healthy and planning meals to minimise temper tantrums at the dinner table and keep fussy eaters happy.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Packing healthy lunches for children | Raising Children Network

A healthy lunch gives kids energy to play, concentrate and learn. With our healthy lunch ideas, your child’s lunch box options will be nutritious and tasty!

Read more on website

Healthy breakfast ideas for kids | Raising Children Network

Need healthy breakfast ideas for kids? Options include porridge, muesli, low-sugar wholegrain cereal, eggs, omelettes, wholegrain toast, fruit and yoghurt. Article available in: Arabic, Dari, Karen, Persian, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese.

Read more on website

Grain ( cereal ) foods, mostly wholegrain and / or high cereal fibre varieties | Eat For Health

Most Australians consume less than half the recommended quantity of wholegrain foods, and too much refined grain (cereal) food.

Read more on NHMRC – National Health and Medical Research Council website

Five food groups

Learn about the five food groups and how eating a variety from each every day will help your child develop and grow.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Nuts, health and kids | Nutrition Australia

Learn about the nutritional benefits of nuts for health, and how nuts can be incorporated into children's diets.

Read more on Nutrition Australia website

Vegetables: encouraging kids to eat vegies | Raising Children Network

Vegetables give children energy and can protect them against chronic diseases. Our tips can help you encourage children to eat 2-4½ serves of vegies each day.

Read more on website

Preschoolers nutrition & fitness | Raising Children Network

Want to know about keeping preschoolers active and eating healthy food? Check out our extensive resources on physical activity and healthy eating for kids.

Read more on website

Lean meat, fish, poultry and meat alternatives

Find out what varieties of protein there are and how you can serve them to your kids.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.