Breakfast is the ultimate DIY meal. It’s so easy to customise and express our individual preferences.

Most of us build our brekkie bowl with health or satiety in mind.1 Yet we can end up with very different combinations because, when it comes down to it, the foods we choose have a lot to do with satisfying our senses.

This is about more than individual food preferences or cravings. Satisfying our senses increases the variety of foods we eat, ensuring we get a range of vitamins and minerals from an array of different foods. It’s basically the evolutionary solution to the dietary guideline ‘Eat a wide variety of nutritious foods …”.

So how can our senses impact our food choices? Here are some insights from food sensory expert Dr Cathy Gair.

  • Sight – Our brain connects bold colour with big flavour and gets our mouth watering before we’ve even tasted a spoonful.
  • Hearing – Sound is vital to our perception of texture. Just think about the satisfying sound as you crunch on cereal clusters, chomp an apple or munch on a carrot stick.
  • Touch – It’s all about texture and mouth-feel. It’s the sense that can dictate which side you take on the big cereal debates – crunchy vs soggy, cold vs hot milk. In general, the crispier a food, the more appealing it is.
  • Smell – The aroma of food does more than making our bellies rumble, it works with taste gives the full sensation of flavour. In fact, smell accounts for up to 85 per cent of the flavour of food. Did you know you can’t pick up the flavour of cinnamon if your nose is blocked? 
  • Taste – The more taste buds we have the more acute our sense of taste. This is determined by genetics and people generally fall into one of three camps-
    • Those who live in a “neon world”, where everything tastes big and bold. They tend to avoid very sweet, fatty or bitter foods.
    • Those who live in a “pastel world” where flavours are subdued. They tend to choose sweeter, spicier and saltier foods.
    • The rest are somewhere in between.

So, I’m setting you the challenge to build your brekkie bowl, to satisfy all your senses, as well as being nutritious and filling. A repertoire of several favourites will have you looking forward to breakfast each day and feeling completely satisfied when you reach the bottom of the bowl.

For some inspiration, check out the latest from foodie Instagrams #mybrekkiebowl – We’d also love to see and share your creations so please use the hashtag #mybrekkiebowl

Or for more ideas, tips and sharable content please visit our website

December 2016.

Leigh suit cereal variety IMG_0882 Leigh Reeve is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and Director of the Australian Breakfast Cereal Manufacturers Forum (ABCMF). Leigh has over 30 years experience as a dietitian and is passionate about sharing practical, evidence-based nutrition information and delicious food ideas.


  1. Galaxy Research, My Brekkie Bowl Study, July 2016; survey of n= 1,273 Australians aged 18 years and older and n=109 parents with primary school aged children.
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